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Archival Dialogues: Reading the Black Star Collection focuses on the Black Star Collection as seen through the eyes of internati onally-renowned Canadian contemporary artists Stephen Andrews\, Christina B attle\, Marie-Hélène Cousineau\, Stan Douglas\, Vera Frenkel\, Vid Ingelevi cs\, David Rokeby and Michael Snow.

Each artist has read the arc hive in their own way\, selected images with which to work\, and created a newly commissioned art installation in response. By commissioning new works \, curators Doina Popescu and Peggy Gale enable vibrant examinations\, comp lex re-contextualizations and exciting contemporary re-interpretations of t he historic images.

As viewers of these artists’ works we are of fered the rare opportunity to experience the potential for multiple layers of meaning hidden in the archive. At the same time we are invited to explor e some of the creative processes behind eight significant contemporary art practices.

Stephen Andrews interweaves film sequences fro m news stories central to recent history – images from the 1960s of the Ken nedy assassination and the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald\, the self-immolatio n of Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc outside the Cambodian embassy in Saigon\ , and passages of his own creation in a conceptual “reading” of the Black S tar Collection. Through his alchemy of images and of memory\, Andrews’ work entitled Dramatis Personae questions the assumptions of photojourna lism and cinéma vérité\, seeing cinema as a forensic tool.

Ch ristina Battle’s multi-media project\, entitled Archived Disasters\, examines photographs of disastrous events across several decades of pr ess imagery. Spilling over the confines of the archive and introducing inte rpretations resulting from her careful study of news stories published in r esponse to the disasters\, including those from the ever-popular “yellow pr ess\,” she takes us into the uncanny realm of science fiction.

< b>Marie-Hélène Cousineau constructs an installation\, entitled Perdr e et retrouver le Nord inspired by portraits and snapshots found in the Black Star Collection\, which were taken in Baker Lake during the 1960s. B ringing copies of these images with her to the North\, she met with the Inu it who had been photographed. Responding to her own experience of living in Igloolik\, Nunavut\, she also worked with Susan Avingaq and other friends to evoke Northern history and landscapes. Through recounted stories and pic tures we glimpse fragments of a world of which we know too little.

Stan Douglas himself writes that the Midcentury Studio pro ject “chronicles the career of a photographer who was introduced to his cra ft during the war and tried to make it into a business in the postwar perio d” (1945-1951). Douglas’ photographs in this series are inspired by his met iculous study of the photographers who worked for Life magazine and the Bla ck Star Agency\, as well as the obscure Vancouver figure Raymond Munro. The photographs in Archival Dialogues were chosen for their sophisticated rela tionship to a look that would ultimately be eclipsed in photojournalism\, a nd for their connection to the Black Star Collection in particular.
Vera Frenkel’s video-photo-text installation\, The Blue Train \, centers on a key phase of the journey of escape taken by the artist’ s mother at the outbreak of World War II via a combination of stills\, draw ings and video that trace the journey through the minds of passengers with whom the experience was shared. The narrative of escape is interwoven with the witnessing narrative of photojournalist Werner Wolff on his 1945 return to Germany. The intimate words and thoughts of the passengers will also be accessible for portable devices over the internet. The Blue Train d istills the stress and anxiety of forced migration and the courage of the d ocumentary photographers who captured the experience.

Vid Ing elevicsConditional Report examines the contradictions inherent in the archiving process that the Black Star Collection at Ryerson Univers ity is subject to. Conditional Report focuses on the preservation an d recording of “original” photographic images by digital scanning versus th e destruction of exhibition images produced through that scanning process. Video of these acts is set within a simulation of the temporary storage fac ility of the collection\, complete with the sounds of scanners and air-hand ling units regulating the environment.

David Rokeby’s ins tallation\, Shrouded\, presented on the Salah J. Bachir New Media Wa ll in the gallery’s entrance colonnade\, reconstructs the way the fovea (th e small central part of the eye which can see detail) passes over the image like a searchlight cutting through a murk of blurry forms\, selectively re vealing details in Black Star images\, sometimes along trajectories determi ned by the artist\, and at other times determined by gestures of the viewer . By separating the mechanism of seeing from the habit of seeing\, the arti st reframes the process of grasping the image.

Michael Snow’s new installation TAUT utilizes some of the extraordinary Black Star Collection crowd photographs\, including demonstrations\, rallies\, ri ots and confrontations\, in a video projected on classroom chairs\, desks a nd green board covered in white paper. The setting thus becomes a three-dim ensional white screen for the twodimensional images of three-dimensional ev ents and places.

DTEND:20121216 DTSTAMP:20140419T085450 DTSTART:20120929 GEO:43.6577458;-79.3792455 LOCATION:RYERSON IMAGE CENTRE\,33 GOULD STREET \nTORONTO\, ONTARIO SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY: Archival Dialogues: Reading the Black Star Collection\, Stephen An drews\, Christina Battle\, Marie-Hélène Cousineau\, Stan Douglas\, VERA FRE NKEL\, Vid Ingelevics\, David Rokeby\, Michael Snow UID:236065 END:VEVENT BEGIN:VEVENT DTEND:20120929T070000 DTSTAMP:20140419T085450 DTSTART:20120929T190000 GEO:43.6577458;-79.3792455 LOCATION:RYERSON IMAGE CENTRE\,33 GOULD STREET \nTORONTO\, ONTARIO SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY: Archival Dialogues: Reading the Black Star Collection\, Stephen An drews\, Christina Battle\, Marie-Hélène Cousineau\, Stan Douglas\, VERA FRE NKEL\, Vid Ingelevics\, David Rokeby\, Michael Snow UID:236066 END:VEVENT END:VCALENDAR