Everything is in the language we use

Gallery Hours Wed-Sat, 1pm -5pm

Wednesday, July 22, 29, August 5, 12, and 19
Launch of weekly podcast featuring selections from Lis Rhodes’ book of collected writing, Telling Invents Told (2019) read aloud by artists and curators including Christina Battle, Almudena Escobar López, Annie MacDonell, Elizabeth Zvonar, and Crystal Z. Campbell.

You can listen to the readings here:

Wednesday, August 19, 5-6pm 

Reading group on Mercedes Eng’s Prison Industrial Complex Explodes: A Poem. This session will be facilitated by Cecily Nicholson. Excerpts from Mercedes’ book, PDFs of the texts printed for the exhibition, as well as an audio recording of Mercedes and Cecily reading sections of the book can be downloaded at this folder here.
Participants should download and read this material in advance. Register via email at exhibitions@front.bc.ca.

Friday, August 28
An audio description of Lis Rhodes’ film Journal of Disbelief is available online as a streaming video with audio description by Jae Lew, Cori Coutu, Emma Hedditch and Tiffany Muñoz. This audio description is a precondition for inclusion, of low and no vision audience members, and the labour and study amongst the group who came together to produce it. This element will remain online for streaming through Sunday September 6, 2020.

Two other proposals by Hedditch focus on structural and administrative questions within Western Front. In the first, Hedditch conducted inquiry into the various roles at Western Front. Sent as questions to staff, the proposal serves as a kind of accounting for and reassessment of labor: who does what, as well as trying to understand what it is for. The answers to these questions, from some of the staff, along with Hedditch’s own answers are collected together in a PDF. Hedditch’s second proposal, is an instructional work that connects to the artist lodging at Western Front. Considering this lodging as a resource that the organization possesses, Hedditch’s instruction to the staff is to be able to live here. These two proposals are available here:

To the Staff of Western Front


Just as language can be used as a means of control, it can also be wielded as a tool to open up and break down structures of power. This exhibition, which borrows its title from a poem by Layli Long Soldier, brings together artists who negotiate the distance between the seen and the unseen. Using word, image, and action, these artists engage in an insistent gesture of making visible the legal, political, social, and economic systems that govern our lives.

To question power is to centre questions of access. As we follow government guidelines to re-open our gallery, we acknowledge that many may not be in a position to visit because of the ongoing pandemic. In response, this and future exhibitions will exist in a hybrid state, with content presented both in person and online, to make this programming accessible to a wider audience. Though we won’t be marking the exhibition with a traditional opening, we will announce more details of how each element of the exhibition will unfold on July 15.

Our hours will be modified—Wednesday through Saturday from 1pm to 5pm—and to ensure safe physical distancing, a maximum of three viewers can enjoy the gallery at any one time. Our staff will be monitoring numbers and you may be asked to wait should we reach a limit.

Artist Biographies
Mercedes Eng is a prairie-born poet of Chinese and settler descent living in Vancouver on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. She is the author of Mercenary English, a poem about sex work, violence, and resistance in the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood of Vancouver, Prison Industrial Complex Explodes, winner of the 2018 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, and my yt mama, which documents a childhood under white supremacy in Canadian prairies. Her writing has appeared in Hustling Verse: An Anthology of Sex Workers’ Poetry, Jacket 2, Asian American Literary Review, and The Abolitionist.

Emma Hedditch (born 1972, UK) is an artist, living in New York. Their work focuses on daily practice, materiality, and distribution of knowledge as political action. They have been a member of the Cinenova Working Group (1999–present) The Copenhagen Free University (2001–2008), No Total, a site for performance (2012–2017) and Coop Fund (2018- present). Their exhibition projects include +49 30 243459-53, KW Institute for Contemporary Art (2019), Finesse, Wallach Art Gallery, (2017) and Claim a hand in the field that makes this form foam, Outpost, (2016). Their video work has screened at the Oberhausen Film Festival, The Elizabeth Foundation, Goethe Institute, MACBA, Galería Macchina, Artists Space and Haus der Kunst. Hedditch is faculty in Film and Video at The College of Staten Island and The Cooper Union.

Lis Rhodes (born 1942) is a British artist and feminist filmmaker, known for her density, concentration, and articulate sense of poetry in her visual works. She has been active in the UK since the early 1970s. She was cinema curator at the London Film-Makers’ Co-op from 1975–76. In 1979, Rhodes co-founded the feminist film distribution network, Circles. She was a member of the exhibition committee for the 1979 Arts Council Film on Filmevent, and international retrospective of Avante-Garde cinema. Rhodes was Arts Advisor to the Greater London Council from 1982 to 1985, and since 1978 has lectured part-time at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London.

Contributor Biographies
Christina Battle’s artistic practice and research imagine how disaster could be utilized as a tactic for social change and as a tool for reimagining how dominant systems might radically shift. She has exhibited internationally in festivals and galleries most recently at: Latitude 53 (Edmonton), The John & Maggie Mitchell Gallery (Edmonton), Harbourfront Centre with SHATTERED MOON ALLIANCE (Toronto), Capture Photography Festival (Vancouver); Forum Expanded at the Berlinale (Berlin), Blackwood Gallery (Mississagua), and Trinity Square Video (Toronto).

Almudena Escobar López is an independent curator, archivist, and researcher from Galicia, Spain. She currently works at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, where she curates the Media Arts Watch installation program; and is a Ph.D candidate in Visual and Cultural Studies at the University of Rochester. She has curated screenings and exhibitions internationally at galleries, cinemas and festivals, including Cineteca Nacional de México, Anthology Film Archives, UnionDocs, and Alternative Film/Video Festival. Since 2014 she has been member of the collective screening project On Film, and in 2018 she co-curated with Herb Shellenberger the Winter/Spring Flaherty NYC series “Common Visions.”

Cecily Nicholson works with the Surrey Art Gallery and is part of the joint effort prison abolitionist group. She is the author of Triage, and From the Poplars, which won the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. Her third book Wayside Sang won the 2018 Governor General’s Literary Award for English-language poetry.

Elizabeth Zvonar is a Canadian artist living in Vancouver on the west coast of British Columbia. She makes objects and pictures that think through metaphor and the metaphysical, often using humor and referencing art history while noticing the discrepancies between the sexes and regressive hierarchical structures. She was recently inducted into the Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts and was shortlisted for the 2016 Aimia Photography Prize at the AGO in Toronto. In the fall of 2019, Zvonar presented a new commission for The Polygon Gallery entitled, Photography Is Hard and her work is included in the exhibition Afterimages at Musée d’art de Joliette until September 2020. She is represented by Daniel Faria Gallery in Toronto.

Annie MacDonell‘s practice begins from the photographic impulse to frame and reproduce, and is concerned with the politics and circulation of images. Her work includes film, installation, sculpture, performance and writing in addition to photography.

She received a BFA from Ryerson University in 2000, followed by graduate studies at Le Fresnoy, Studio National des Arts Contemporains, in France. Recent performances have been presented at Nuit Blanche Toronto, le Centre Pompidou and the Toronto International Film Festival. Recent solo shows have been held at Gallery 44, Parisian Laundry, the AGO, and the Art Gallery of Mississauga. She has participated in group exhibitions at the University of Toronto Museum, Western Front, la Bibliothèque National in Paris, The Power Plant, MOCA Cleveland. In 2012 she was short-listed for the AGO AMIA prize for photography, and she was long listed for the Sobey Art Award in 2012, 2015 and 2016.

She is a founding member of Emilia Amalia, a feminist research and writing group. She teaches at Ryerson University and lives in Toronto with her family.

Crystal Z Campbell is a multidisciplinary artist, experimental filmmaker, and writer of African-American, Filipino, & Chinese descents. Campbell finds complexity in the public secret, or a fragment of information which is known by many, but perhaps undertold or unspoken. Recent works revisit questions of immortality and medical ethics with Henrietta Lacks’ immortal cell line, ponder the role of a political monument and displacement in a shifting Swedish coastal landscape, and salvage a 35mm film from a demolished Black Civil Rights theater in Brooklyn as a relic of gentrification. Campbell engages with sonic, material, and archival traces of the witness through film/video, live performance, installation, sound, painting and writing. In a forthcoming fellowship appointment at the Harvard Radcliffe Film Study Center, Campbell will continue work on SLICK, an experimental feature film centering the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and its longstanding effects on the city of Tulsa.

Campbell exhibits and screens internationally: The Drawing Center (US), Nest (Netherlands), ICA-Philadelphia (US), Artissima (IT), Studio Museum of Harlem (US), Project Row Houses (US), Visual Studies Workshop (US), and SculptureCenter (US), amongst others. Select honors and awards include: Pollock-Krasner Award, MAP Fund, MacDowell, M-AAA, Skowhegan, Rijksakademie, Whitney ISP, VCCA Alonzo Davis Fellowship, and Flaherty Film Seminar Fellowship. Campbell is a joint Tulsa Artist Fellow and Harvard Radcliffe Film Study Center & David and Roberta Logie Fellow (2020-2021).