Sediment: The Archive as Fragmentary Base

Sediment: The Archive as Fragmentary Base

Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery at Concordia University

February 8, 2023
Sediment: The Archive as Fragmentary Base
February 4–April 1, 2023
“Heirloom” performance by Justine A. Chambers: March 11, 3–4pm
Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery at Concordia University
McConnell Library Building, ground floor
1400, De Maisonneuve Blvd W
Montréal Quebec H3G1M8
Hours: Thursday–Friday 12–6pm,
Saturday 12–5pm
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Sedimentation is a geological process of settlement and solidification. Free-floating fragments come to rest at the bottom of a body of water where over time they lose their liquid content. Then gravitational pressure transforms these fragments into solid rock beds that not only become a firm base, but each layer serves as a record of human and natural activity.

Curator Denise Ryner brings together six artists whose work re-imagines the archive as these material fragments that may narrate presences, proximities and solidarities. Sandra Brewster (Canada), Filipa César (Portugal), Justine A. Chambers (Canada), Louis Henderson (UK), Pamila Matharu (Canada) and Krista Belle Stewart (Syilx Nation) present image, sonic and performance recontextualizations of state and official repositories, as well as familial and personal documents, to engage the archival image as counter-image through collapses of time, embodied memory, witnessing and storytelling.

To think through the fragmented in the production of counter archives Ryner invokes Anthony Bogues’ “dread history” and Denise Ferreira da Silva’s “cosmic time”. Dread is a polysemic term in Rastafari culture from which Bogues proposes an alternative to the dominant forms of historical study, one that employs a specific historical lens derived from the transatlantic slave trade and the Afro-Caribbean experience. In Unpayable Debt, Da Silva’s describes the conditions of the “quantic moment” and cosmic time, wherein separability is impossible and sense perception is undermined, thereby invalidating the certainty of apprehension of elemental phenomena.

The exhibition proposes that by invoking dread history and cosmic time, collective memory and haunting, the fragmentary base of the archive operates, and has operated, as one possible site for radical reorientation toward future worlds.

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Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery at Concordia University
February 8, 2023

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