Elke Krasny, Mapping the Everyday: Neigbourhood Claims for the Future. Installation view, Audain Gallery, 2011. Photo: Kevin Schmidt.

Elke Krasny

This process-oriented exhibition is a collaborative project between the Downtown Eastside Women's Centre (DEWC), visiting artist Elke Krasny, the art collective desmedia, the collective red diva projects, the collective Coupe, Out of Bounds: Festival of Site-Specific Interventions, students from the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University, and Audain Gallery.

The DEWC is a self-initiated and self-organized space. Emerging out of what is now known as second wave feminism, women in the neighbourhood founded the centre in 1978. In many ways, it is an example of bottom-up feminist urbanism. In its day-to-day operation, the centre primarily represents Indigenous and elder Chinese women, as well as other women in the Downtown Eastside community. What the women of the centre have claimed—and are still claiming—addresses and embodies all of the larger social, political and economic transformations that have challenged the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. These claims in fact constitute a vivid and vital historical mapping of the neighbourhood. Cecily Nicholson, a coordinator at the DEWC, significantly enabled the involvement of the DEWC in this collaboration.

Elke Krasny is a project-based artist and curator concerned with counter-hegemonic and feminist strategies of intervening in historical narratives, and with creating new constellations in the exchange of different forms of knowledge. The collaboration between the DEWC, Krasny and Audain Gallery centers on research-based mapping that draws from the DEWC’s archives. Presented as a text-based “horizon line” spanning the circumference of the gallery, the exhibition offers a visual map of the demands and aspirations of the DEWC community. These demands, both current and historical, address issues of poverty, violence, insecurity, social exclusion, the deferral of rights and the legacy of colonialism. Although describing specific challenges, these claims are also expressions of conviviality and solidarity. These expressions exist between women, between women and their neighbourhoods, and between the women of the centre and their global context.

Beginning their practice in the early 2000s, desmedia provided access to the tools and training necessary for members of the Downtown Eastside community of Vancouver to self-produce their own media representations. As part of this practice, desmedia collected a large archive of interviews on digital video, as well as other forms of artwork. On the occasion of this exhibition, Krasny and Audain Gallery have invited members ofdesmedia to reassemble their archive and publicly debate its future.

Playwright and performer Marie Clements has a history of collaboration with the DEWC. Based on a series of workshops with the women of the DEWC, Clements and her collaborator Michelle St. John, working as red diva projects, will produce a new performance work for the exhibition that explores the potential of fiction to express critical truth. Like Krasny, red diva projects explores writing as both a collective process and a process of collectivization formed by way of an expressive multitude of subjectivities.

By initiating this collaboration, Sabine Bitter, the Curator of Audain Gallery, is expanding and changing the institutional parameters of the position, function and mode of operation of a contemporary art gallery. This important, necessary form of “self-challenging of the institution” (and perhaps also “institutional self-challenging”) reacts to a setting defined by rapid urbanization, gentrification and the all-inclusive yet reductive scope of neo-liberal economics—a setting in which Audain Gallery is ultimately situated.

During the exhibition, the gallery will function as a platform and meeting ground for the production and exchange of different forms of knowledge. The “horizon line” will be a framing device and backdrop for a series of events, workshops, performances and projects that aim to build neighbourhood constellations that go beyond familiar exchanges. They also provide opportunities for direct community participation and the fostering of critical dialogue, while also challenging the conventional expectation of what constitutes a gallery exhibition. As part of the series, women from the DEWC will teach a series of hands-on workshops.

Working closely with the women of the DEWC, Elke Krasny and our other collaborators, Mapping the Everydayexamines the possibilities for, and consequences of community-based political activity as articulated in relationship with contemporary artistic and institutional practices.

Mapping the Everyday: Neighbourhood Claims for the Future is realized in partnership with the Downtown Eastside Women's Centre; with support from the City of Vancouver's 125th Anniversary Grants Program; the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture; the Vancity Office of Community Engagement as part of Simon Fraser University Woodward's Cultural Unit; and the English Department of Simon Fraser University.

Curated by Sabine Bitter.


Mapping the Everyday: Neighbourhood Claims for the Future

November 17, 2011 - February 25, 2012
Audain Gallery

Opening Reception

November 16, 7pm

Panel Discussion: How can we collaborate?

With Elke Krasny, Cecily Nicholson, and Sabine Bitter
November. 19, 2pm
Audain Gallery

Workshop: Japanese Brush Painting

Lead by Ari Tomita
November. 24, 1pm
Audain Gallery

Panel Discussion: Collective Futures in the Downtown Eastside

With the desmedia collective
November. 26, 2pm
Audain Gallery

Wednesday Night School: Introduction

Reading group with the Coupe collective
November. 27, 5pm

Wednesday Night School: Class Restoration

Reading group with the Coupe collective
December. 18, 7pm

Panel Discussion: Discussing Out of Bounds

Student-lead panel on the Out of Bounds: Festival of Site-Specific Interventions
January. 19, 7pm
Audain Gallery

Wednesday Night School: Marxism & Factography

Reading group with the Coupe collective
January. 22, 7pm

Screening: Jesus indian and The Language of Love (featuring Stephen Lytton)

Short films produced by red diva projects and Frog Girl Films
February. 7, 7pm
Audain Gallery

Performance: Jennifer Kreisberg

Genie award winning singer, producer, composer, and frequent collaborator with red diva projects
February. 10, 7pm
Audain Gallery

Wednesday Night School: How to Trace the Destruction of the Old World on Our Hands

Reading group with the Coupe collective
February. 22, 7pm
Audain Gallery

Performance: red diva projects

Featuring Marie Clements and Michelle St.John of red diva projects and women from the DEWC
February. 25, 7pm
Audain Gallery

Presented with SFU Galleries.

Elke Krasny, Mapping the Everyday: Neigbourhood Claims for the Future. Installation view, Audain Gallery, 2011. Photo: Kevin Schmidt.