Guerilla Mag Ottawa, Voicing Refugee Identity

Ottawa’s Guerilla Magazine reviews Voices of Refugees Installation at the Parliament of Canada, June 2009.

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Ottawa’s Guerilla Magazine reviewed the Voices of Refugees Installation at the Parliament of Canada in a piece call Voicing the Refugee Identity by Tony Martins in May 2009.

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Tompalski and Thompson’s Voices of Refugees Installation featured portraits and videos of refugees from Afghanistan, Iran, Guinea, Congo, Darfur, El Salvador and Guatemala. The show was presented at the Parliament of Canada, June 15, 2009 during World Refugee Week. The presentation also featured speeches by the Honourable Jason Kenney, P.C., M.P. Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism and Abraham ABRAHAM, the senior representative of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Canada. The event included a live presentation by Guatemalan singer/song writer Tito Medina. Special thanks goes to Ontario Arts Council, City of Ottawa, Canada Council, Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.

Guerilla Magazine Review Segment

The show was cover by Guerilla Magazine’s g-Gallery on June 22, 2009, and ran as follows …..One of the cool things about Canada: perhaps more than anywhere else, everyone gets a voice. Consider, for example, how the latest incarnation of the Talking Portraits project by husband-and-wife team Sherry Tompalski and Graham Thompson articulates the stories of some new Canadians who need it most: refugees. The newest portraits—each featuring mixed media and video components—took centre stage on Tuesday, June 16 at a Parliament Hill reception in recognition of World Refugee Day (Saturday, June 20). Key speakers at the event were the Honourable Jason Kenny, Minister for Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, and Abraham Abraham, Canada’s representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees..

Minister Kenney Launches Refugee Voices

Voices of Refugees Installation launched by Immigration  and Citizenship’s Minister Jason Kenney, June 2009.

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The Voices of Refugees Multimedia Installation was officially launched by Citizenship and Immigration Canada Minister Jason Kenney on June 16 2009.  SEE www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/photos/2009/

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Minister Kenney Launches “Voices of Refugees”

OTTAWA, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – June 16, 2009) – In recognition of World Refugee Day, “Voices of Refugees,” a new multi-media presentation combining portraits with videos of refugees telling their stories, was unveiled today by Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney and Mr. Abraham ABRAHAM, Representative in Canada of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

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“Voices of Refugees enables refugees to share their stories with all Canadians, to show that there are real people in real danger,” said Minister Kenney. “Refugees are sometimes forgotten as a faceless group stranded in a far away land. We need to heed these voices and listen to their stories.”

This project came from two ordinary Canadians – Graham Thompson and Sherry Tompalski – doing extraordinary things. The partnership between these two Canadians and the refugee artists featured in the multi-media presentation is the kind of initiative that will help bridge communities and build a more inclusive and cohesive Canada for all.

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“These works of art speak for themselves and help us understand that refugees are not faceless statistics, but real people with talents and with real needs like you and me. Ask them and you will know that every refugee has a moving story to tell,” said Mr. Abraham.

Every year Canada’s refugee programs provide protection to more than 30,000 people. We have a fair and generous domestic refugee protection system that is well regarded internationally. Through our resettlement program, we provide protection to 1 in 10 refugees who are resettled globally. In fact, since World War II, Canadians have provided refuge to over 1 million refugees.

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Even so, the Government of Canada is exploring ways to improve the refugee status determination system and our resettlement approach in order to better help refugees. Canada must focus our resources where they can do the most good. Working with its many partners including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Organization for Migration, private sponsors and service providers, Canada is helping refugees begin their lives anew.

Voices of Refugees is a testament to those who have already come to Canada and of the thousands still in need of protection. This presentation highlights the remarkable bravery of these individuals and the important contributions they are making to Canadian society.

CBC All In A Day, Alan Neal Forced Migrations

CBC’s All In A Day covers Tompalski’s Forced Migrations: Portraits of Refugees from Africa, Central America and Central Asia at La Petite Mort Gallery.__01-consuelo-1500x1200

Alan Neal of CBC Ottawa Radio’s All In A Day program interviewed Sherry Tompalski regarding her show Forced Migrations: Portraits of Refugees from Africa, Central America and Central Asia at La Petite Mort Gallery in October 2009.

About the Show

All in a Day is music, news, current affairs, culture, theatre, movies, politics, history, humour and conversation, all wrapped up in an engaging and entertaining package. Airing weekdays from 3 to 6 p.m. in the greater Ottawa, West Quebec and Kingston areas, All in a Day helps you wind down from a hectic day and get ready for the evening.

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Regular features include D Is For Dinner, a mouth-watering recipe prepared live on the radio to tantalize you on the drive home. The Political Panel gives an insider’s take on Parliament Hill, while the Book Panel presents the high and the low brow of the latest in literature. And on Thursdays, Robert Fontaine’s film reviews are always entertaining, even if the movie isn’t. All in a Day’s dynamic, up-to-the-minute pace ensures that if you miss a minute, you’ll miss a lot!

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About the Host – Alan Neal

Alan Neal is host of Ottawa’s favourite drive home show All in a Day, on CBC Radio One, 91.5 FM. Alan is known to CBC Radio One listeners in Ottawa as the former host of Bandwidth and Ontario Today on CBC Radio One. During his stint on the noon show, he traded thoughts and quips with musicians including Blue Rodeo, Barenaked Ladies, The Arcade Fire, Feist, Hawksley Workman, Sarah Harmer, K’Naan, Sarah Slean, Metric, Emm Gryner, Most Serene Republic, Divine Brown and many more. (He actually feels a twinge of guilt making lists because he panics that people will feel left out. Then he remembers nobody reads these things. Which then makes him wonder why he’s typing this. And talking about himself in the third person. But anyway.)

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He’s been at CBC for 10 years now, massive amounts of that being as a casual associate producer and syndicated columnist (his TRENDS column was syndicated across the country), filling in as host of shows including THE ROUNDUP, OTTAWA MORNING and ALL IN A DAY, and launching a national summer show THE OTHER STORY. While his own musical career has not extended beyond singing songs about Canadian Idol and Dallas on the radio, he has had some success as a playwright, something he hopes to get back to once he figures out these shows.

Podgorica Indie Film Festival, Talking Portraits

Talking Portraits video exhibited at Podgorica Independent Film Festival, Montenegro, Nov 5-10, 2008.

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The “Talking Portraits” video by Sherry Tompalski (painter) and Graham Thompson (videographer) was exhibited at the Podgorica Independent Film Festival in Podgorica Montenegro. The Nov 5-10, 2008 program was curated by Nena Toth.

The Talking Portrait Video

The Talking Portrait Video provides an overview of the Talking Portrait series  The film features portraits painted from a live model. The audio portion of the film is edited from the comments, questions and reflections made by the model during the sitting. And  as well, time-lapse photography records the development of the portrait.

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The Talking Portrait Video provides an inside look at the creation of painted portrait – a psychological interplay of colour and personalty of the process. Where Tompalski’s painting style of brightly coloured patches shows  identity formation as a dialectical process of breaking-up and coming-together of personal and communal experiences. Although the faces are tightly cropped to foreground the individual subject, what is left of the background is filled in, in some paintings with words picked up from the video and in others with multiple photographs of the sitter.  Bright patches of paint, repeated photo-images, words and musical scores vie for attention in Tompalski’s portrait paintings.

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Tompalski describes her Talking Portrait series as follows: “To understand ourselves we look at others for clues as to what we are experiencing. The human face conveys a rich complexity of personal history, which I feel in an inexplicable way as an impression or an intuition. Consequently, I value painting from a live model. Most importantly, this allows for a reciprocal mutual influence that is interactive, bi-directional and largely unconscious. Thus the finished painting is a visual coalescence of this process, the process of co-construction.” (Co-construction is the theory that people uniquely contribute and influence the experience that develops between them and others, that is, our experience of ourselves varies greatly depending on the people around us.)

About The Podgorica Independent Film Festival

The film festival took  place in Podgorica, the capital city of Montenegro, at the  Cultural/ Information center “Budo Tomovic”. The festival was organized by Nena Toth,  a graduate from Prague’s renowned FAMU University’s film school, where she earned a Master’s degree in Cinematography. The purpose of the Festival is to entertain film lovers, to raise awareness of filmmaking with artistic value and to promote international collaboration, European coproduction and understanding between cultures.

About Nena Toth the Curator, Teacher & Film Maker

Toth has taught at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts Belgrade (FDU),  the Academy of Film and Television and Art Muses (FAMU) Prague, the University of Southern California (USC) Los Angeles, the University of Toronto, and the Lomonosov Moscow State University. Toth has been the Director of Photography in over one hundred short films and videos, as well as in four feature films. Toth has worked a curator for the XX International Ethnological Festival of Belgrade, the Film Femina of Ottawa, the  Contemporary Canadian Short Film Festival of Podgorica, the International TV Festival Bar  Montenegro, EUROPRESS International Travel Fest of Subotica and Art Link of Belgrade.

Museum of Civilization, Trudeau’s Talking Portrait

Canadian Museum of Civilization exhibits Face to Face: Pierre Trudeau’s Talking Portrait Canada Day in Quebec, 2008.

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The Canadian Museum of Civilization exhibited Sherry Tompalski’s and Graham Thompson’s multimedia installation Face to Face: Pierre Trudeau’s Talking Portrait in  Gatineau Quebec on July 1, 2008.

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The installation was part of a ongoing virtual exhibition entitled Face to Face  which presents outstanding Canadians – men and women whose ideas and contributions have transformed this country.

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Grouped under five key themes, 27 individuals have been selected from thousands of potential candidates. Some are well known, others are not, but they have all helped shape Canada. This virtual exhibition reflects the information presented in the former Canadian Personalities Hall of the Canadian Museum of History.

Historic Canadian Personalities that Tompalski has Painted

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Lotta Hitschmanova was an early icon of Canadian international humanitarianism. She was born in Prague, in what is now the Czech Republic, and came to Canada as a refugee in 1942. Grieving for the death of her parents in wartime Europe, she channelled her hope for the future into relief work. To help the world’s helpless – especially children – she founded the Canadian branch of an aid agency, the Unitarian Service Committee. For 36 years, she worked relentlessly – speaking, writing, travelling and raising funds for the needy. The work of USC Canada continues today. It is when I think of those youngsters that truly I feel I am the mother of 2,000 children. Lotta Hitschmanova, 1949

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Pierre Trudeau appeared suddenly on the political horizon, blowing in with
the exuberant spirit of the 1960s. Not everyone liked this brilliant, enigmatic man,
but no one was indifferent. Winning his first election as Prime Minister in 1968,
he set out to remake Canada. Though generally failing in the economic arena, he had a strong and coherent social vision.

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He fought for a powerful, centralized state, equality of French and English as official languages, multiculturalism and social tolerance. His legacy is crowned by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, enacted in 1982: the same year that Canada repatriated the Constitution under his leadership. The past is to be respected and acknowledged, but not to be worshipped. It is our future in which we will find our greatness. Pierre Elliott Trudeau, 1970.

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Trudeau Timeline – 1919 Born on October 18 to a wealthy, bicultural family in Montreal. 1940–1948 Studies political science, economy and philosophy at the universities of Montreal and London, at Harvard and at the Sorbonne in Paris, and returns to Montreal to practice law. 1965 Is elected to Parliament as the Member for Mount Royal, Montreal. 1967 Is appointed Minister of Justice and reforms the Criminal Code, decriminalizing  homosexuality and abortion. 1968–1979 Serves as Prime Minister in three successive governments. 1970 Invokes the War Measures Act in response to political violence in Quebec. 1971 Marries Margaret Sinclair, with whom he has three sons. Some years after his divorce in 1984, he has a daughter with lawyer Deborah Coyne. 1979–1980 Serves as Leader of the Opposition. 1980–1984 Returns to power as Prime Minister for a fourth term. Implements major constitutional reforms. 2000 Dies on September 28 in Montreal.

KRUG Cacak Serbia, Book – Earth – Maps

North-South-East-West  exhibited at KRUG’s 2008 Biennial Book – Earth – Maps in Cacak Serbia.

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The North-South-East-West DVD was exhibited at the KRUG (Center for visual research) 2008 Biennial of the Visual Arts entitled “Book – Earth – Maps” in  Cacak Serbia.

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KRUG (Center for visual research/Centar za vizuelna istrazivanja) is famous for its Balkan biennial of the visual arts which has featured the works of artists like  Marina Abramovic, Joseph Beuys, Mira Brtka, Radomir Damnjanović Damnjan, Aleksandar Dimitrijevic, Zivko Grozdanić Gera, Grupa Rouge, Sadko Hadzihasanovic, Jamesdin, Branimir Karanovic, Kristo (Christo), Silvija Lorenz, Milovan Marković Destil, Vladimir Miladinovic, Edin Numankadić, Tanja Ostojic, Uros Pavlovic, Vesna Perunović and Božidar Plazinić.

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The KRUG typically exhibits works of artists from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Greece, Croatian, Macedonia, Romania, Slovenia, Serbia and Turkey, Austria, Denmark, France, Italy, India, Iceland, Japan, South Korea, Canada, Mexico, Germany, Peru, the United States, Thailand, Australia and Great Britain.

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About Cacak Serbia

Čačak is a city in west-central Serbia. It is the administrative center of the Moravica District of Serbia. Čačak is the main economic, cultural and sport center of the district.. The population of the city itself is 73,331, while the population of the municipality is 115,337. Čačak is 144 km south of the capital city, Belgrade. This city traversed a long and thorny road from an anonymous settlement to a modern city in the 21st century. The very face of the city, as seen in the facades, monuments, and cultural establishments, is the reflection of the artistic spirit of its inhabitants.

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During the theatrical season there are numerous theatrical ensembles on tour from all of Serbia at the Cultural Centre. The centre is home to a Drama Studio and schools of ballet, fine art and sculpture. Exhibitions and performances, cultural and literary evenings are held at the “Nadežda Petrović” and “Risim” galleries, the National Museum, the Salon of Photography, the Inter-Municipal Archive, the premises of the City Library, the Pupil Centre, etc. Fine art and sculpture colonies are most often held at the Ovčar Banja spa resort. There are numerous cultural, musical, entertainment and tourist manifestations within the city and close surroundings, which attract multitudes of followers of ethno-culture, original folk music, like the Dis spring, Memorial to Nadežda Petrović and the Flute festival in the nearby village of Prislonica, and other accompanying content. In Guča, 10 km south from Čačak every year the Guča trumpet festival is held, one of the most popular in the Balkans, alongside the Exit festival in (Novi Sad).

Guerilla Mag Ottawa, Metis Media Fest 2008

Metis Media Fest 2008 reviewed in Ottawa’s Guerilla Magazine piece “Old Cultures, New Tech”.

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Tony Martins features the 2008 Metis Media Fest in the September Issue #17 of Ottawa’s Guerilla Magazine in a piece entitled “Old Cultures, New Tech”.

The article ran as follows: Besides taking him around the world, Graham Thompson’s inter-cultural video and film projects have directly exposed him to the issues that threaten indigenous peoples in many countries.

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On Valentine’s Day 2005, at the start of a planned inter-cultural exchange sponsored by the Canadian Embassy in Manila, one of several bombs was detonated two blocks from Thompson’s hotel room. The bombings were what rebel group “Abu Sayyaf” called retribution for government assaults in the southern Philippines, a flash point of resistance since Spanish colonial efforts in the 1500s. In the bombings, 11 people were killed and 160 injured.

 

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A member of the Métis Nation of British Columbia (of Cree and Scottish heritage), Thompson sought to share and explore his Aboriginal experiences closer to home when he directed the first Métis Media Fest in August of 2007 at Club SAW. The success of that effort led to an expanded 2008 festival that took place September 6 and 7. Guerilla asked Thompson to write about the development and success of his Métis Media Fest—an intriguing mix of age-old cultures and leading-edge technology.

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Métis Media Fest 2007 featured 50 videos, 25 digital images and 10 audio tracks from Aboriginal artists in Canada, the U.S., Australia, Peru, and the Philippines. The event was an immersive installation of computers and video displays, where excerpts of the works were shown on the main screens and unedited versions archived on the computers within the installation. Audiences gathered at tables in the darkened space, lit only buy the glow of 13 video displays, to view a collage of works that ranged from traditional to experimental.

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This year’s festival followed a similar format, but the Aboriginal artists were all from the local region. The thrust this year was to explore social media and build a strong sense of local artists that belong to our growing Aboriginal urban population. The 50 videos depicted local fiddle players, jiggers, sculptors, painters, elders, lodge keepers, and poets.

Many of the videos were developed as collaborative projects, where I would interview local artists, elders, and writers in their studios, homes, or places of work. Often the artists would perform or otherwise share their work as we filmed. We developed 50 short videos ranging from one to 10 minutes in length, appropriate for viewing in an installation or on web sites such as YouTube, Facebook, and MétisFestival.com—the final destinations for the content after the festival.

Métis Media Fest is largely a social networking experience: people gather around computer nodes to compare choices and experience the work. In keeping with an informal Métis gathering where people of many cultures and traditions come together, the festivals unfold in “Indian time”—in unscripted fashion, without strict adherence to a fixed schedule. The festivals begin and end with the ebb and flow of its participants.

Inspired by the 400-year-old Métis society involving the Cree, Scottish, Ojibway, French and Saulteaux (to name only a few of the participants in the historic fur trade that shaped early Canada), the festival celebrates a unique culture that is a hybrid of European and Aboriginal civilizations.

The festival adheres to the Métis sense of adventure and innovation whereby European technology was adapted to the Canadian wilderness, leading to new forms of transportation, hunting, clothing, music, dance, art, and spirituality. Examples of such adaptation include the York boat, the Red River cart, the Métis buffalo hunt, flower design leather clothing, Métis fiddle music, and Métis dance known as jigging.

In further keeping with Métis tradition, the 2008 festival incorporated the traditional use of the circle (in this case, a ring of video displays) found in Aboriginal ceremonies such as the sweat lodge and the talking circle. The mix of technology included digital DVD players, hypertext interfaces, microcomputers, and video projectors.

Juxtaposition of technology and Aboriginal traditional knowledge is not unusual in today’s indigenous digital culture. In the remote southwestern edge of the Filipino archipelago, for example, the work of Aboriginal video artist Kanakan-Balintagos documents the most sacred rituals of his Palawan tribe in an effort to secure their ancestral domain claim in the Philippines.

In a sense, the Métis Media Fest was designed to incorporate traditional knowledge to help satisfy a growing need for spiritual unity on our shared planet. The experience of art seated in ancient tradition becomes a doorway to the experience the “oneness” of the universe—what Carl Jung described as the couplings of the inner subjective and the outer objective reality evolved through the influence of the archetypes, patterns inherent in the human psyche and shared by all of mankind.

The festival could not have happened without the generous support of Club SAW, SAW Video, the Government of Canada’s Canada Heritage Department, the City of Ottawa, P4 Social Venture Entrepreneurs, and Dakima Marketing and Communications of Ottawa. Métis Media Fest 2008 depended heavily on volunteers for everything from video shoots to installation set-ups to internet marketing and has been blessed by supporters from Francophone, Aboriginal, Pakistani, East Indian, African, and Yemen communities in the local region.

Asifa Akbar, a lawyer from South Africa, captured the feeling: “I think it’s great and so Canadian that we have people from such diverse backgrounds working on helping to preserve and promote one of the cultures unique to Canada, and that in effect spells out what it means to be Canadian.”

Some of the Ottawa-based artists featured in Métis Media Fest 2008

  • Jaime Koebel, from Lac La Biche, Alberta, is a Métis dancer (jigger)      with the dance group “Jig on the Fly.” As an MA candidate at the School of       Canadian Studies at Carleton University, Jaime has a strong focus on      Aboriginal youth issues in the context of indigenous knowledge, arts, and      culture.
  • Raymond Girard, a Francophone composer and performer from      Sturgeon Falls, Ontario, has performed on the Easter Seal Telethon on CBC      and hosted numerous episodes of the line-dancing show “Dancer, Dancer” on       Rogers Television. From his roots-music CD entitled Êtes-vous prêt pour, the “Lumber Jack” song has      become the most-played Franco-Ontarian video on YouTube.
  • Paul Brunneau, an Ojibway sculptor, has sold pieces to collectors in      Denmark, Italy, Mexico, Bahamas, Germany, and the United States. His work       has been featured on CTV’s Regional Contact, at the Muskoka Fine Arts      Summer Show, and at the Stone Carver’s Show in Bancroft Ontario, where he      exhibited a 4,000-pound piece made entirely of marble.
  • Anita Tuharsky, a Métis poet from Regina, Saskatchewan, is      often compared to Lily Tomlin for her use of humour to express the      absurdities of life. For Tuharsky, “Problems are challenges are lessons      are opportunities are gifts.”
  • Willy Bruce, an artist of Anishinabe and Scottish descent, is a      native veteran, a pipe carrier and a carrier of the Aboriginal Veterans’      Eagle Staff. Willy is currently lodge keeper at the Circle of Nations       Learning Centre at Natural Resources Canada. His traditional works are      conceived as vehicles for Aboriginal teachings.

Oxford University England Afghan Voices Video

Voices from Afghanistan video posted on Forced Migration BLOG of University of Oxford, January 2008.

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The Voices from Afghanistan video, part of the Voices of Refugees Installation, was posted in the Forced Migration BLOG of Online Refugee Studies Centre of the University of Oxford England’s Department of International Development (QEH) in January 2008.

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University of Oxford Backgrounder

The University of Oxford (informally Oxford University or simply Oxford) is a collegiate research university located in Oxford, England, United Kingdom. While having no known date of foundation, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world’s second-oldest university in continuous operation.

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It grew rapidly from 1167 when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris. After disputes between students and Oxford townsfolk in 1209, some academics fled northeast to Cambridge where they established what became the University of Cambridge. The two “ancient universities” are frequently jointly referred to as “Oxbridge”.

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Voices from Afghanistan Video

Notable Graduates from Oxford University
Theresa May
(1956- ) St Hugh’s Jul 2016 Conservative
David Cameron
(1966- ) Brasenose May 2010-Jul 2016 Conservative
Tony Blair
(1953-  )St John’s May 1997-Jun 2007 Labour
Margaret Thatcher
(1925-2013) Somerville May 1979-Nov 1990 Conservative
Harold Wilson
(1916-1995) Jesus Oct 1964-Jun 1970 Labour Mar 1974-Apr 1976
Edward Heath
(1916-2005) Balliol Jun 1970-Mar 1974 Conservative
Sir Alec Douglas-Home
(1903-1995) Christ Church Oct 1963-Oct 1964 Unionist/Conservative
Harold Macmillan
(1894-1986) Balliol Jan 1957-Oct 1963 Conservative

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The Refugee Studies Centre Overview

The Refugee Studies Centre (RSC) was founded in 1982 as part of the Oxford Department of International Development (Queen Elizabeth House) at the University of Oxford. Their mission is to build knowledge and understanding of the causes and effects of forced migration in order to help improve the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable people. They aim to lead the world in research and education in the area of refugee and forced migration studies and to share our work on a national and global scale. They seek to realise this vision by taking forward new and transformative approaches to research, teaching and engagement with society, informed by Oxford’s long traditions of independent scholarship and academic freedom. A world-class centre for the study of forced migration and refugees has been created at the University of Oxford. With its pioneering research and innovative education and training programmes, the Refugee Studies Centre has had a major constructive influence throughout the developed and developing world and has stimulated effective international networks. In the early 1980s Dr Barbara Harrell-Bond undertook research regarding one such challenge: how to improve the performance of humanitarian agencies in the field. During fieldwork in Algeria she realised the paucity of academic literature available on the subject, and on her return to Oxford she founded the Refugee Studies Centre (then known as the Refugee Studies Programme).

Centre international d’art contemporain de Montréal

Centre international d’art contemporain de Montréal, Retrospective of net.art features North-South-East-West, 2008.

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The Centre international d’art contemporain de Montréal’s Electronic Magazine,  issue No 32 a Retrospective of net.art, features North-South-East-West Web Site in December 2008.

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The North-South-East-West web site was reviewed as follows:

COSMOGONY ALGONKINE CACHÉE/MONTRÉE?

About the well-known work of Graham Thomson, North-South-East-West, we will recall his operating mode first of all, like its organization.     With the opening of the URL an interface of reception informs us of the format of the work, carried out under Flash.

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If the hyperlector chooses not to have any action, it will discover a sequence of four distinct sequences:

  • a very fast succession of images lets to us guess a plan of country, or city. It is necessary to make use of several captures of screens, then to increase them, to realize that the plan in question is that of the Contracting State of Minnesota (or of the state), the USA. Area bordering, should it be pointed out, of the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Ontario, ancestral grounds of Algonkins;
  • an anthropomorphic figure, that one will be able to associate a totemic representation, becomes animated on a bottom of horizontal screens. A cube drawn in three D also rolls on the space representation which this screen constitutes;
  • in tone bluish, dark, a heavenly object occupies the bottom of a scene which seems left an space-opera. A hinged jib (Canadian technology?) approaches a unit which could be a space base;
  • finally, of the parabolas, fixed on pylons, roofs, seem to receive waves coming from the sky.   Once the hyperlector will have shelled dissolve-connected these four sequences, it will have to click on one or the other of the bonds hypertexts to discover a new interface – which will give him access to the contents of work itself.

In a very simple way, and as many works born on the Web could show it to us, the interface of work is appeared as a space metaphor. In top north, bellow the south, on the left the west and is on the right.

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Under each of the four cardinal points, a list from five to eight names proposes to us, thanks to the hypertext link, to discover an animated sequence. Before returning on their contents, we stop a few moments on another element of the interface, which will be always present at the screen, méta-bars it navigation. The choices suggested by this méta-bar are as follows, rather similar to those which one can find on considerable sites: exit, home, contact, information.

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The subparagraph “information” will teach us that work is inspired by the symbolic system of the cardinal points traditional of the people algonkin. One will not be thus surprised to have discovered only the plan which ravelled at any speed in introduction was that of a state in the past (and also in a contemporary way) populated algonkins.

All work then, can be included/understood starting from this aspect of the introduction. The history of the American settlement being supposed known of all, one could only be sensitive to the fact that the people algonkin, like all the indigenous people of two Americas, have a report/ratio with the eminently problematic territory, conflict, even painful.

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This territory, that the Amerindian people had by force to divide with Europeans, it is represented here in extreme cases of the visible one. So much so that one is forced to fix the image by capture of screen, to discover that it was about a plan of Minnesota.

The territory, literally, is hidden, virtual. It is in addition the territory of the other, since the place names are for the majority resulting from the Anglo-Saxon space representation: Cambridge, Turkey Not, Normandale, etc… It is a case emblematic of the use of information technologies and communication – where the appearance and disappearance as well as the tape speed of the images make direction.

This territory hidden, evoked perhaps by this totemic dance of the introduction, then moved in the space, and finally reinvested on ground through the waves received by parabolas, the body of work then proposes to us to discover it.

It while clicking on different the items is contained under the headings North South – East – West that we will be able to open the sequences having for name:    winter, snow, elder, courage, ice, endurance (North), summer, spirit, quest, secrecies, bloom, vision, adolesence, youth (South), birth, dawn, spring, flower, sun (East), automn, adult, thunder, sunset, renewal, (West).

With the choice, one will stop on the sequence “Vision”, in the North heading, to hear the message whereby “Vision C not reveal”; or one will hear, in “Dawn” this thought animist “All that belongs to the earth belongs to me”. But there is not the essence of our reading: the quality of animations, of the spoken or sung sequences, all that is left with the appreciation of each visitor, according to his sensitivity. It will be noticed only that none the many rewards received by this work is usurped.

What must hold our attention, it is connect it simplicity of the device, behind which semiotics questions differently more complex hide.

The list of the items reproduced above informs us indeed that certain sequences are called in reference to the season (winter…) and in connection with such or such cardinal point; other sequences indicate natural phenomena (snow, ice, flower, sun, thunder); others milked in the human condition (elder, adolesence, youth, birth, adult); others still refer to human or animal qualities (courage, endurance…); and others finally with phenomena of calendarity (dawn, sunset, renewal).

What it is necessary to point of the finger, it is the extreme diversity of the items and the extremely different registers which they indicate: natural seasons (long calendarity), phenomena, age group, human and/or animal quality, short calendarity.

Consequently, the action to click on one or the other of these items, and the surprise to each time discover a different sequence by its setting in image, the absence or the presence of a said text, etc… puts the hyperlector in a situation of imbalance with the project openly announced by the work – which is, let us recall it, inspired of the symbolic system of the cardinal points of the nation algonkine. How indeed to build a knowledge of this cosmogony if no methodology is proposed by the author – and whereas we are in a new mode of expression?

Moreover, one will notice the readily enigmatic character of certain sequences – which seem to function according to a logic well more oneiric rational.

In short, none known in the past cognitive maps seems respected here: we find the linearity of the written text and its paratextuelle organization, neither the syntax of the cinematographic writing (fictional or documentary), nor the methodology of the museographic modes of exposure, etc…

It however remains that the work of Graham Thomson transmits a message well to us, and more still that a message the feeling to have shared a significant experiment.

The logic which seems to prevail is well more that of the dream – a dream directly connected to psyché of Amerindian people – a logic which one will be able to say transverse, for want of anything better for the moment.

It is perhaps the greatest quality of this work, which all at the same time enchants us in the most naive way, and reserves questions differently more difficult to us, having milked with semiotics, and the development of a specific critical language.

Xavier Malbreil

The Centre international d’art contemporain de Montréal Overview

The Centre international d’art contemporain de Montréal (CIAC) is a non-profit organisation administered by a board of directors and managed by personnel with an expertise in artistic production, communications and arts administration. The mandate of the CIAC is to disseminate contemporary art from Québec, Canada and abroad. Initially identified with the visual arts, the CIAC also showcases the creative practices of artists working in design, graphic art, art film and video, architecture and urbanism, and landscape architecture.

The CIAC’s aim is to make its activities accessible to the greatest possible number of visitors. It employs various strategies to achieve this, including exhibitions, conferences, discussions between artists and the public and educational activities for a variety of target groups. The CIAC has no permanent space for its activities. It temporarily occupies various locations suited to each event, whether a museum, an unused warehouse, a park or other public space, a gallery or exhibition venue, etc. First identified with the visual arts, the CIAC also disseminates the work of professionals in object design and graphic design, video and art film, architecture and town planning, architecture landscape.

From 1985 to 1996, the CWC was mainly noted for organizing the hundred days of Contemporary Art of Montreal.  In 1998, he set up the Montreal Biennale (BNL MTL), an international biennial included in the biennial network of major cities in the world. In addition to the organization of artistic events, the CIAC also carries out cultural work, aimed at an in-depth understanding of the stakes of contemporary art, which took the form of various programs of activities, in particular the annual competition Of Young Critics in Visual Arts (1997 to 2007).

Finally, the CIAC online edits the CIAC’s Electronic Magazine. This bilingual magazine (English and French) offers critical works and general information on active artists in the middle of the web art (or line art ) and the institutions that disseminate it.

Open Space Victoria, Welcome Back Ye Annunaki

Noxious Sector Collective exhibits Wet Nurses at Welcome Back Ye Annunaki show at Open Space Victoria, 2012

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The Noxious Sector Collective features Sherry Tompalski’s “Wet Nurses” at the  Welcome Back Ye Annunaki show at Open Space Gallery in Victoria, British Columbia in November 2012

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The Noxious Sector Collective – Welcome Back Ye Annunaki Show – Curated by Ted Hiebert & Doug Jarvis

Welcome Back Ye Annunaki merges inquiry about home and hospitality with speculation on the ancient alien theories of Zacharia Sitchin and others, who claim that humanity is a product of alien intervention, genetically engineered by a race called the Annunaki.

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According to Sitchin the story of the Annunaki is engraved on the clay tablets of the ancient Sumerian people, along with details of the planet they come from, called Nibiru or Planet X. According to the myth, Nibiru is on a long elliptical orbit that brings it into proximity with our solar system only once every 3,600 years.

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If the story proves true, the winter solstice of 2012 may mark the return of the Annunaki, as Nibiru re-enters proximity to the Earth. Welcome Back Ye Annunaki invites gestures of hospitality–host families willing to open their homes, hearts and imaginations, to guests from another world. In the spirit of cultural exchange, this exhibition seeks to bring together communities–real and imaginary–in a celebration of home and Earthly hospitality.

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Welcome Back Ye Annunaki at Open Space Gallery Victoria from Nov. 16, 2012 – Dec. 21, 2012 – Participating artists

Sherry TompalskiCindy Baker & Megan Morman
Katie Bethune-Leamen
Marlaina Buch & Ross Macaulay
Roy Green
Robert Gallup & Josh Kopel
Karen Hibbard Kruno Jost
Serena Kataoka
Robin Kirkpatrick
Kegan McFadden
Mary-Anne McTrowe
Ella Morton
Ryan Park
IO Sound
Shawn Shepherd
Rhonda Usipiuk
Christine Walde

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Curatorial Statement

How would you host an imaginary friend, a special guest from an alien world returning to Earth after a 3600 year journey? What would you make them to eat? Where would you set them up in your house to sleep? What kind of gift would you give them to welcome them to your home?

There is a curious version of the human story that comes from the pseudo-archeologist, Zecharia Sitchin, who claims that humanity is a product of alien intervention, genetically engineered by a race called the Annunaki. Sitchin claims that the story of the Annunaki is engraved on the clay tablets of the ancient Sumerian people, along with details of the planet they come from, called Nibiru or Planet X. According to Sumerian myth, Nibiru is on a long elliptical orbit that brings it into proximity with our solar system only once every 3,600 years. If the Sumerian myths prove correct, the winter solstice of 2012 may mark the return of the Annunaki, as Nibiru re-enters proximity to the Earth. The science and the story may be contested–but we might nonetheless wonder what it might mean if these gods of ancient times returned to a world they helped to create–even if such a story exists only in our imaginations.

Welcome Back Ye Annunaki invites gestures of hospitality–host families willing to open their homes, hearts and imaginations, to guests from another world. One might think of an ancient alien as an imaginary friend waiting to be made, an ethereal companion to whom one might extend a spirit of Earthly generosity and community. The idea of hosting ancient aliens is–in this way–a questioning of our own personal space, speculating on what it means to make it accessible to others, and in so doing expose us to a larger imaginary community. This act of hospitality is meant as a way to reveal to us, and our own community, the biases and assumptions that we hold close to our heads and hearts, as our ways of being in the world. In the spirit of cultural exchange, this exhibition seeks to bring together communities–real and imaginary–in a celebration of home and Earthly hospitality.

Welcome Back Ye Annunaki is a project built on the idea of welcoming back our alien ancestors, inviting gestures of hospitality from members of the community who might like to welcome an Annunaki into their home. 18 artists from around the world have responded to the call for hospitality by creating projects that engage the Annunaki myth in their own creative ways. Cindy Baker & Megan Morman created a brothel designed to service the needs of alien visitors; Ella Morton created a set of intergalactic calling cards where visitors can leave a message for the Annunaki; Mary-Anne McTrowe hosted a potluck; Serena Kataoka built a sensory deprivation chamber in her bedroom with a live-stream feed to web. Others responded in their own ways too–each artist evoking the spirit of hospitality as it relates to the question of hosting an unknown visitor.

Welcome Back Ye Annuanki. This exhibition is our way of welcoming you back–by extending the gesture of hospitality to include others who might also like to welcome a visitation–whether by aliens, the imaginary, or otherwise unknown aspects of life as we know (and don’t know) it.

Doug Jarvis, MFA and Ted Hiebert, PhD

Welcome Back Ye Annunaki! – Open Space Gallery – Victoria BC – Nov 16-Dec 21, 2012

According to Zecharia Sitchin (1920-2010), an Azerbaijani-American amateur archaeologist, a race of aliens is about to arrive back here on Earth this year after an extended absence. Sitchin’s reading of ancient Sumerian scripts and mythology reveal the existence of the Annunaki, inhabitants of Nibiru, an undiscovered planet on a 3,600 year-long orbit. The Annunaki first visited Earth 450,000 years ago in search of minerals, but when their miners rebelled, the Annunaki were forced to genetically engineer a slave race. Humans.

Doug Jarvis, MFA and Ted Hiebert, PhD are the founding members of Noxious Sector, a collaborative art project known for performance hauntings (including an FB campaign to haunt Stephen Harper) and for organizing the World Telekinesis Competition. They are curating an exhibit that asks and suggests an answer to the question: how would we play host to our own alien creators, the Annunaki? With food, shelter and gifts, of course.

Seventeen artists from Canada, the U.S. and the Czech Republic are participating in the show, each with a creative and unique approach to the idea of welcoming strangers to our planet. As part of Open Space’s HomeStay project, a series of Circle Ceremonies will be led by Gerry Adams, a Kwakwaka’wakw elder. Welcome Back Ye Annunaki! is part of a larger ongoing celebration and investigation into issues related to cultural exchange and symbiosis.

www.openspace.ca

Christine Clark