In 2018, Vtape officially launched The Researcher Is Present, a new residency program that welcomes writers, curators, artists and all hybrids of these to inhabit our space on a regular basis, usually once a week for a few months. We are offer this open-ended space for contemplation in order to see what happens. Sometimes a screening will emerge, or an exhibition; sometimes some writing will surface. We ask for a brief *idea*of what might be investigated, thought about, channelled during this residency. The outcome of this residency is usually determined after a few weeks have passed.
As a fall/winter 2018-19 research resident, curator Adam Barbu explores how the specific material qualities of video can alter the narrative conventions of queer historical thought. The aim of this project is not simply to unearth stories of marginalization and objection. Rather, it seeks to highlight the essential surplus that lies at the heart of the term “queer history.”
Through this lens, the project focuses on works thatcannot be assimilated into grand narratives about shared queer progress. The resulting programs will explore scenes of repetition and non-transcendence – namely, scenes of unspectacular everyday resilience. At stake here is the imaging of that inassimilable excess as the trace empty history. This is an unrestricted territory where queerness itself begins to fade into a state of meaninglessness.
This research follows theorist William Haver’s claim that “the only historical question is the question of the historical.” In this retreat from canonical thought, common assumptions about identity are challenged while alternative modes of curatorial ethics are proposed. What does it mean to pursue the unworking of queer history as a queer curatorial endeavor?
Working title: Empty History Scheduled for fall 2019.
Darryn Doull has been coming in weekly throughout the fall 2018, to make use of the Research Commons and view work from the Vtape distribution collection. While digging through periodicals, he became intrigued by issues of Parallelogram (the ANNPAC periodical published from 1976 – the 1990s) and the particular focus on collective organization in the centres and the regions. This began to open a window into the genealogies of the artist-run movement in Toronto and beyond, capturing groundbreaking organizations and their founding members at a crucial moment.
Research is now focused on the underlying social and political conditions that precipitated key organizations and collectives through archival research, interviews with the original founders/writers/thinkers, and looking at the collection of posters, cards and ephemera that were produced from the late 1960s into the 1980s. Hopes for the final project include a segmented written component highlighting select organizations alongside interviews with founding members and an exhibition featuring films from the Vtape collection and archival materials.
Working title: Objects in mirror are closer than they appear? Scheduled for early 2020.
Image credit: Parallelogram, Vol 3, No. 1 1977-78