Through writing, curating, and social and cultural activism, Lucy Lippard has brought awareness to the relationship between the context and conditions of an artwork's production, presentation and circulation. Her writing and exhibitions express how social movements such as feminism and Indigenous sovereignty have shifted how we interpret and value art objects and gestures. In turn, the inauguration of new artistic forms and processes such as performance and text art influence how we relate and respond to political pressures.
Lippard's most recent publication "Undermining: A Wild Ride Through Land Use, Politics, and Art in the Changing West" expands from her experience living and working in New Mexico since the 1990s. The book explores the entangled economies, politics and cultural values of fracking, mining, Indigenous land and water rights, eco-tourism, public art, architecture and sacred sites, among others. The book unfolds from her earlier writing on place-based art, conceptualism and land art, to more deeply explore the broad impacts of development and progress in the twenty-first century.
Vancouver and British Columbia are part of the same changing west that Lippard writes about, and the forces at play in our political and economic landscape bear the same burdens on Indigenous rights, ecological health and cultural values. Her public talk on "Undermining" at SFU continues the relationship she has had with Vancouver for over four decades. She curated the exhibition 955,000 in 1970 at the Vancouver Art Gallery and offsite locations, and she recently contributed to the catalogue for Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun: Unceded Territories at the Museum of Anthropology.
Lippard is an internationally known writer, activist and curator. She has written more than twenty books, has curated more than fifty major exhibitions, and holds nine honorary doctorates of fine arts. Her books include "The Lure of the Local", "Partial Recall", "The Pink Glass Swan", "Mixed Blessings", "On the Beaten Track", "Overlay", and "Undermining", all published by The New Press. Lippard is the recipient of numerous awards, most recently the Carolyn Bancroft History Prize from the Denver Public Library and grants from Creative Capital and the Lannan Foundation. She lives in New Mexico.
Libby Davies has a long and storied history working in East Vancouver politics and community organizing. Her history as a strong community activist for Vancouver began over forty years ago. She and her late partner, Bruce Eriksen, were key figures in the formation of the Downtown Eastside Residents' Association (DERA) in 1973. In 10 years of community organizing, Libby developed her strong grassroots approach to working with people and diverse communities. In 1982, Libby was elected to Vancouver City Council and served 5 consecutive terms. She became involved in every community issue; from protecting community services to developing affordable housing, fighting for parks and working for the elimination of poverty. From 1994 to 1997, Libby worked with the Hospital Employees' Union (HEU) serving in the role of Ombudsperson for Human Rights, Complaints Investigator, and Coordinator of Human Resources. Libby was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Vancouver East in 1997. She was re-elected in November 2000, June 2004, January 2006, October 2008, and most recently in May 2011. Libby was also the Official Opposition Spokesperson for Health and the Vice-Chair of the Standing Committee on Health from May 2011 until January 2015. She was Deputy Leader of the federal NDP from 2007-2015. Libby also served as the NDP House Leader from 2003 to March 2011. After serving 6 terms, and 18 years, as the Member of Parliament for Vancouver East, Libby did not run in the 2015 general federal election. Libby is in conversation with Am Johal, Director of SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement and local writer and editor Jackie Wong, as they talk about her political and community organizing work over forty years in East Vancouver.
"Love at Second Sight" is a 25 minute film that transforms attitudes about appearance and encourages acceptance of self and others. It's about difference and belonging, judgment and inclusion. This event featured the premier screening of the film, followed by a short Q&A period and a reception. Facially different David Roche and his wife, Marlena Blavin, share their stories with a spellbound middle school audience. As they explore themes of self-acceptance and accepting others, the students’ reactions move from discomfort and stunned silence to laughter, delight, and engagement. From their faces and feedback, it is clear that their perceptions have quickly shifted as they are encouraged to take that vital second look. The program also included house music from the Vancouver Adapted Music Society (VAMS) band, poetic invocation by Jeffrey Renn, songs by Ann Mortifee, “Moments of Grace” storytellers, and the premier of the original Love at Second Sight theme song.
Back in 1986, Jim Green published 'Against the Tide: The Story of the Canadian Seamen’s Union.' His handwritten interview notes are now held at the National Archives in Ottawa.
In the preface, he wrote:
“I never thought of myself as a writer, and when I took on the task of writing the history of the Canadian Seamen’s Union I had no idea what I was getting into. In 1972, I was living in the Downtown Eastside, studying at UBC and working as a casual longshoreman.The Seamen’s Union and the Fishermen’s Union halls were down the street. The pubs that were frequented by longshoremen, shipyard workers, seamen and fishermen were all within walking distance. The Patricia Hotel was a favourite - many seamen had been living at the Pat for more than 25 years. The rear entrance was just a few steps across the lane from my back door.”
In 2016, as part of a memorial, SFU and Vancity's Office for Community Engagement commissioned local writer and SFU history grad Charles Demers to adapt the book for a staged reading. directed by Amiel Gladstone. Featuring Andrew Wheeler, Carmen Aguirre, and Kevin MacDonald.
A documentary following the career of Willie Thrasher, an Inuk singer-songwriter from Aklavik, Inuvik. At five, Thrasher was taken from his family and sent to a residential school where he was forbidden to practice his Inuvialuit culture. In the mid-1960s, he drummed for the Cordells, one of the first Inuit rock bands. One evening, a stranger recommended that the group tap into their Aboriginal roots instead of the charts for inspiration. This prompted Thrasher to write songs about his life, people, and the environment (as heard on 1981’s Spirit Child LP, CBC). Thrasher currently performs with his partner Linda Saddleback and is featured on Light in the Attic Records’ internationally acclaimed Native North America (Vol. 1): Aboriginal Folk, Rock, and Country 1966-1985. Willie and Linda are trailblazing troubadours with an Indigenous heartbeat sound.
Award-winning poet and scholar Joshua Clover discusses his new book, Riot. Strike. Riot: The New Era of Uprisings. Clover identifies our time as an 'age of riots,' where the struggle of people versus state and capital has taken to the streets, and theorizes the riot as the form of the coming insurrection.
Following his talk, Clover engages in conversation with Stan Douglas, a Vancouver-based artist whose work has addressed Vancouver's riot history and current social issues. The discussion is moderated by Melanie O'Brian, director of SFU Galleries.
About the Book
Riot. Strike. Riot: The New Era of Uprisings explores this 'age of riots' and offers a new understanding of this present moment and its history. Rioting was the central form of protest in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and was supplanted by the strike in the early nineteenth century. It returned to prominence in the 1970's, profoundly changed along with the coordinates of race and class.
From early wage demands to recent social justice campaigns pursued through occupations and blockades, Clover connects these protests to the upheavals of a sclerotic economy in a state of moral collapse. Historical events such as the global economic crisis of 1973 and the decline of organized labour, viewed from the perspective of vast social transformations, are the proper context for understanding these eruptions of discontent. As social unrest against an unsustainable order continues to grow, this valuable history will help guide future antagonists in their struggles toward a revolutionary horizon.