Category Archives: Montreal

World of Matter: Exposing Resource Ecologies

Exhibition at Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Concordia University. February 20 – April 18, 2015.

The world of matter has been forcefully sculpted in the last several centuries by the twin projects of colonialism and capitalism. The very movement of human activity under modernity has rested on the formation of a standing reserve of nature, a category whose flexibility has variously expanded and contracted to include both humans and non-human others as targets for exploitation and extractive energy. Carbon industries, forestry, mining, agribusiness, construction, mega-farming and fishing participate in worlding the world as mere matter, asserting deep and unforgiving property rights in dispersed territories around the globe. Nevertheless, at each point in this cartography of extraction one finds committed points of resistance and un-ceded terrains, both material and symbolic. This symposium and exhibition asks how the fields of contemporary art and media studies, indigenous studies and resistance movements, critical environmental studies, new ethnography and science and technology studies might bring into focus the globalizing dynamics of extractive ecologies. It seeks to build substantive discursive grounds for resisting incursions into sovereign land, denials of the rights of nature, and the persistent dispossession of indigenous and First Nation peoples. It asks, What un-ceded terrains precede and interrupt the depths of imperial ecologies? What interventions ensure the defense of land, labour, survival and species diversity in the globalized present?

World of Matter is an international art and media project investigating primary materials (fossil, mineral, agrarian, maritime) and the complex ecologies of which they are a part. Participants: Mabe Bethonico, Ursula Biemann, Emily Eliza Scott, Uwe H. Martin & Frauke Huber, Paulo Tavares, Elaine Gan, Peter Mörtenböck & Helge Mooshammer, Lonnie van Brummelen & Siebren de Haan. Visit our multimedia web platform here.  

February 20 – April 18, 2015  Organized by Krista Lynes and Michèle Thériault.

Review by Brian Holmes here

-Rob Shields (University of Alberta)

Ecole Polytechnique Massacre of Women – 25 years on

Tate Britain Mural
Tate Britain Mural: This arresting mural in Tate Britain reminds us, on the 25th anniversary of the Ecole Polytechnique shootings of female students in which 14 women died, of womens’ contributions to invention, innovation and creative progress.

The Massacre of Women at the Ecole Polytechnique Engineering Faculty in Montreal remains an iconic moment in time and a location that has become synonymous with violent anti-feminisms and the persecution of women.  It has eluded the grasp of Canadian politics and public spaces of concern: it prompted a national registration of firearms which was later repealed by the Conservative Party, leaving unresolved questions.  Ecole Polytechnique remains a touch-point and a memory site toward which numerous memorials point, from across Canada and abroad, invoking the problem of violence against women.  The school is a site where this unresolved national trauma become starkly present; it witnesses to the sexual colonization of womens’ bodies and points to the scars of violent anti-feminisms that split Canada’s immigrant cultures and fractures the collective psyche.

-Rob Shields, University of Alberta