Re-orientation day 2022
Contemporary Art + Climate Change
Thursday, September 8, 2022 | 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM
Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema, Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre, and breakout rooms
Introducing the 2022 fall semester, Re-Orientation Day: Contemporary Art + Climate Change is a full day of programming for all SCA students, faculty, and staff. All are invited to come together for talks, presentations, and group discussions on climate change and the place and role of artists in the challenging set of circumstances climate change produces. Guests include T’uy’t’tanat Cease Wyss, Eugene Kung, Stephen Collis, and Geoff Dembicki, plus film screenings by the SCA's Christopher Pavsek and SCA MFA student Jami Reimer, and a performance by the SCA's Miwa Matreyek.
The negative effects of climate change are increasingly apparent and dangerous. On a page dedicated to the Causes and Effects of Climate Change, the United Nations lists these effects as: hotter temperatures; more severe storms; increased drought; a warming, rising ocean; loss of species; not enough food; more health risks; and poverty and displacement. Far reaching and interconnected, these effects not only profoundly threaten the viability of human life on Earth as we know it (as well as the lives of countless non-human beings across the biomes of our planet, which suffer the consequences of our behaviour), but also radically call into question the very ways we live, particularly (but not only) in the richer, consumerist, and extractive nations in the so-called Global North. Marked by dramatic wildfires, heat domes, and floods, so-called British Columbia is no exception to this grim scenario.
The causes of climate change are by now thoroughly well known. As the now common refrain goes, the science on this is conclusive. Also well known is the fact that possible solutions to this complex challenge need to be institutional and far-reaching, challenging our fundamental relationships to both the natural and human-made worlds. Even if our individual actions might be limited in their scope, however, each of us are also implicated here. We have a collective responsibility to fight for change, because climate change ultimately impacts us all.
All day – Screening: Christopher Pavsek's Scenes from Deseret – SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts' Lobby Screens
9:30 AM – Land Acknowledgement and Welcome – Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema
10:00 AM – Artist Talk: T’uy’t’tanat Cease Wyss – Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema
11:00 AM – Discussion: Eugene Kung in coversation with Dave Biddle and Judy Radul – Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema
11:45 AM – Breakout Rooms – GCA
12:30 PM – Catered Lunch
1:30 PM – Live recording for the Below the Radar podcast: Stephen Collis in conversation with Am Johal – Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema
2:45 PM – Short Break
3:00 PM – Screening: Jami Reimer’s short film Biologists Singing (2022) – Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema
3:30 PM – Talk: Geoff Dembicki (live via Zoom) – Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema
4:30 PM – Short Break
5:00 PM – Performance: Miwa Matreyek's Infinitely Yours – Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre | FREE and open to the public. More HERE ~
T’uy’t’tanat Cease Wyss (Skwxwu7mesh, Sto:lo, Hawaiian, Swiss) is an educator, interdisciplinary artist and Indigenous ethnobotanist engaged in community based teaching and sharing. Throughout Wyss’s 30 year practice, Wyss’s work encompasses storytelling and collaborative initiatives through their knowledge and restoration of Indigenous plants and natural spaces. Wyss has been recognized for exchanging traditional knowledge in remediating our relationship to land through digital media, site-specific engagements and weaving. Wyss has participated and exhibited at galleries, museums, festivals and public space such as Vancouver Art Gallery, Morris, Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Contemporary Art Gallery and the PuSh Festival to name a few. Their work can be found in various collections such as the National Library of Canada, Special Collections at the Walter Phillips Gallery, and the Vancouver Public Library. They have lead the transformation of Semi-Public (半公開) during their Fellowship at 221a and they are the 2021 ethnobotanist resident at the Wild Bird Sanctuary. They have assisted in developing an urban Indigenous garden currently showing at the 2021 Momenta Biennale in Montreal.
Jami Reimer is a musician, performing artist, composer, and educator from Treaty One Territory, Winnipeg, Canada. Her work spans genres of musical theatre, choral, and instrumental with an emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration. Jami has been active as a music educator, yoga instructor, and performing artist between Winnipeg, Canada, Lugano, Switzerland, and Cairo, Egypt. She is currently residing on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations as an MFA candidate at the School for Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver.
The SCA's Judy Radul (born: Lillooet, Canada; lives/works: Berlin and Vancouver) is an interdisciplinary artist whose work centres primarily on film, video, sculpture, and multimedia installations that draw attention to and play with habits of perception, the staging of reality, and her stated interest in “entrances and exits as machines for the theatrical”. Radul’s ambitious and elaborate project, World Rehearsal Court (2009) has been exhibited in several museums internationally; it explores and highlights the theatrical elements that make up courtroom dramaturgy and the performance of justice. Radul staged a reenactment of the juridical processes of the Special Court for Sierra Leone and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and recorded the scenes as multi-channel videos. In this way, Radul treated the trials and their transcripts like a director interpreting a work of theatre. She exhibits World Rehearsal Court as an installation that includes a series of surveillance cameras that record people who enter the space to view the videos, and enfold them into the broadcast. This psychologically-charged and layered approach to artmaking is consistent throughout Radul’s work, regardless of media. Radul received an MFA from Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY and a BFA from Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, where she serves as a professor.
Christopher Pavsek is an associate professor in the School. He is film scholar and filmmaker, whose recent work focusses on ongoing changes in landscapes in the west of the United States. "Scenes from Deseret" is part of a larger project about the state of Utah that brings together the aesthetics of large-scale landscape photography and the essay film. During a recent residency in Montana, he completed shooting for a film entitled "A Defence of Planets," a title taken from an essay by G.K. Chesterton. Chesterton asked what a "truly Copernican art" would look like; such an art, he believed, “not to make strange things settled, so much as to make settled things strange; not so much to make wonders facts as to make facts wonders.”
The SCA's Miwa Matreyek is an animator, designer, and performer. Coming from a background in animation, Matreyek creates live, interdisciplinary performances that integrate projected animations at the intersection of cinematic and theatrical, fantastical and physical, and the hand-made and digital. Her work exists in a dreamlike visual space that makes invisible worlds visible, often weaving surreal and poetic narratives of conflict between humanity and nature as embodied performed experiences. She has presented her work internationally, including animation/film festivals, theater/performance festivals, art museums, science museums, tech conferences, and universities. A few past presenters include TED, MOMA, SFMOMA, New Frontier at Sundance Film Festival, PUSH festival, Lincoln Center, Walker Art Center, and many more. Her newest solo piece, Infinitely Yours, was awarded the grand prize for Prix Arts Electronica’s Computer Animation category. She is a 2013 Creative Capital award recipient. She is the co-founder and core collaborator of Cloud Eye Control.
Eugene Kung (he/him/his) is a staff lawyer with West Coast Environmental Law, working on Tar Sands, Pipelines and Tankers, as well as with RELAW. He is committed to human rights, social justice and environmental justice and has been working to stop the Kinder Morgan TransMountain expansion project. Eugene was born and raised in Burnaby BC, holds a BA from UBC (2001) and JD from Dalhousie (2006) and was called to the BC Bar in 2008.
Am Johal is Director of SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement and Co-director of SFU’s Community-Engaged Research Initiative. He is the author of 'Ecological Metapolitics: Badiou and the Anthropocene' (Atropos Press, 2015) and is co-author with Matt Hern (with contributions from Joe Sacco), of "Global Warming and the Sweetness of Life: A Tar Sands Tale" (MIT, 2018). He is the co-founder of UBC's Humanities 101 program and has been a Visiting Professor with SFU's Centre for Dialogue and an associate with SFU's Institute for the Humanities. He previously served as chair of the Impact on Communities Coalition, as a board member with the Vancity Community Foundation, the Or Gallery, 221A Gallery, the Vancouver City Planning Commission, the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House and many other organizations. He has graduate degrees in international economic relations and media philosophy.
Geoff Dembicki is an investigative climate change reporter from Alberta, Canada, home of the largest tar sand deposits in the world. His book Are We Screwed? won the 2018 Green Prize for Sustainable Literature. He is a regular contributor to the Tyee and VICE. He lives in Brooklyn.
Stephen Collis’ many books of poetry include The Commons (Talon Books 2008; 2014), On the Material (Talon Books 2010—awarded the BC Book Prize for Poetry), DECOMP (with Jordan Scott—Coach House 2013), and Once in Blockadia (Talon Books 2016—nominated for the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature). He has also written two books of literary criticism, a book of essays on the Occupy Movement, and a novel. Almost Islands is a forthcoming memoir, and a long poem, Sketch of a Poem I Will Not Have Written, is in progress. He lives near Vancouver, on unceded Coast Salish Territory, and teaches poetry and poetics at Simon Fraser University.
PhD Graduate Student Dave Biddle (being me) is an artist and theorist (being conspiracy theorist) who works sometimes with video, music, installation, and text (being that I’m an intersection of various sense organs), and always with performance (being that those sense organs constitute a “body”). His research (being self-organizing so not really "his") constellates various theoretical frameworks such as evolutionary biology, systems theory and cybernetics, communication studies, non-human anthropology, and philosophy of mind. Dave Biddle (still being me) lives in Vancouver (being the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and Sel̓íl̓witulh Nations) where he continues to consider the lilies (being being).
Resource List (working)
Speakers & Presenters: Links and Publications
Cease Wyss | tuyttanatceasewyss.ca
Are we screwed? : how a new generation is fighting to survive climate change – Geoff Dembicki. 2017, Bloomsbury USA.
The Petroleum Papers: Inside the Far-Right Conspiracy to Cover Up Climate Change – Geoff Dembicki. Greystone Books, forthcoming.
Global Warming and the Sweetness of Life: A Tar Sands Tale – Matt Hern and Am Johal. The MIT Press, 2018
Ecological Metapolitics: Badiou and the Anthropocene – Am Johal. Atropos Press, 2015.
Lectures/Theorists Videos and Podcasts
The Georgia Straight – The complications of the climate breakdown, having babies, and global population growth: Balanced Reporting (watch the interesting part about Methane and Natural Gas…also the link to Am Johal’s book)
Lobby and Activist Organizations
Government Advisories, international organizations
Simon Fraser University Specific
Other Reading Lists