Perspectives on an Archive

Perspectives on an Archive is a curatorial mentorship and community outreach project initiated by Western Front Media Arts. From September 2008 to December 2008 three emerging curators from diverse backgrounds were invited to curate programs of significant works of media art selected from the Western Front Media Archive: Kemi Craig, Liz Park and cheyanne turions. This project includes a screening series, a virtual exhibit at and an accompanying catalogue distributed for free at the screening events. Perspectives on an Archive marks an important moment for Canadian media art, for the Western Front as a historic interdisciplinary organization, and for these emerging curators.

The Media Archive is comprised of nearly 1000 historic video art works and groundbreaking performance documents dating from 1975 to present. Most of these are only available through the Western Front, and many haven’t been viewed by the public in over twenty years. These up-and-coming cultural professionals have explored their own views on these essential documents held in the Media Archive.

Please join us for the following screenings. The curators will be in attendance to introduce the works and answer questions from the audience:

November 26, 2008, 7 – 9 PM
Between Here and There, Now and Then
Curated by Liz Park
Chip Lord, YVR: Arrival and Departure, 1979
Mona Hatoum, Bars, Barbs and Borders – The Negotiating Table, 1983
Guillermo Gómez-Peña and Roberto Sifuentes, Dangerous Border Game, 1996
Antonia Hirsch, Empire Line, 1998

Between Here and There, Now and Then presents works that capture the experience of a journey in time and space. The selected works articulate a sense of disconnect as a result of running into physical, psychological or sociological borders on these literal and metaphoric journeys. With strategies ranging from humour to poignant metaphors, the works offer divergent understandings of human movement and border crossings.

December 3, 2008, 7 – 9 PM
Ghost Dialogues
Curated by cheyanne turions
Cioni Carpi, Interview for the Birds, 1977
Tom Sherman, Individual Release, 1978
Dalibor Martinis, Dalibor Martinis Talks to Dalibor Martinis, 1978
Kate Craig, Delicate Issue, 1979

How is the past accessed by what remains? Ghost Dialogues approaches the Western Front Media Archive as a storehouse of traces and reference points from which to construct incomplete and plural histories. Through dialogue and interview, the selected works reinterpret what is considered a ghost, and ask us about our relationship to the past. This presentation considers the resonating presence of multiple histories in media.

December 10, 2008, 7 – 9 PM
Resisting the Gaze
Curated by Kemi Craig
Mona Hatoum, Measures of Distance, 1988
Hu Jie Ming, Who?, 1998
Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Initiation Ritual/Sacred Bath, 1991

Resisting the Gaze presents works that are intimate articulations of love, fragmentation, loss, reclamation and place. The layers used in the selected works elucidate the looking processes by breaking apart, fusing back together and distorting images. These works interrogate the construction of the gaze, and offer ways to reread images by creating multiple narratives.

click here for the Perspectives on an Archive Web Project

Admission to the screenings is FREE.
These programs are available for screening on demand. Please make an appointment by contacting

This project was generously supported by BC150 Years Local Museums Program and the BC Museum Association, and a Canada Council Media Arts Dissemination Project Grant.

Western Front Media Arts gratefully acknowledges the support of Canada Council for the Arts, BC Arts Council, BC Gaming and City of Vancouver.