The Curatorial Incubator, v.17: On the Other Side – It’s Heaven, Program #3 – Embodied Intimacies: Gesturing Towards Understanding

The Curatorial Incubator, v.17: On the Other Side – It’s Heaven, Program #3 – Embodied Intimacies: Gesturing Towards Understanding

Curated by Ashley Raghubir
LIVE ON-LINE THURSDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2021 @7pm ET streamed on this page 

This fall, Vtape is presenting four programs developed by the 2021 Curatorial Incubator Incubatees after an extensive research phase where each of them viewed scores of potential titles to exhibit within their curatorial premise. Each program begins with a live introduction by the emerging curator or collective, followed by all the titles in their program, and ending with a live conversation between the emerging curator/collective and the artists in their program.

Please join us for these dynamic LIVE ON-LINE events. Each program is presented on a Thursday at 7PM ET and will continue to be available on the vtape.org


On Thursday October 21, 2021, @7pm ET, Ashley Raghubir will do a short introduction, followed by all 4 titles in her program, ending in a LIVE conversation with the artists in her program, Rachel Echenberg, Jorge Lozano, Donna James and Erika DeFreitas.

Ashley Raghubir has written about her program:
“A mother and daughter are seated closely in interior space, their gestures in concert, the production of an intergenerational echo. For me, this is heaven. Or more precisely, it is an earthly paradise. I think of what is made possible when we are together: friends in shared laughter, family gathered at home, and the feeling of being understood. Heaven on earth exists in the entangled and full moments of our lives. With this in mind, the quiet intimacy of mother and daughter portraits open and close this program from Vtape’s holdings. Framed within are documentary, experimental, and performance-based works that depict relations to place and also between family and friends. All foreground the embodied intimacy within and communicated through gesture in its many forms: movement, speech, and Sign language. Gestures are used across diverse abilities, vary from subtle intimation to clear expression, and inform what cinema and media theorist Vivian Sobchack describes as our material mattering and meaning making. For Sobchack, understanding is produced within and between our lived bodies to bridge corporeality and consciousness. The selections in this program reveal how the slightest gesture can hold immense meaning and materialize our inner being and becoming.”

Embodied Intimacies: Gesturing Towards Understanding
Curated by Ashley Raghubir

1. Rachel Echenberg
How to explain performance art to my teenage daughter, 2018, 05:58
Montreal-based artist Rachel Echenberg’s silent video How to explain performance art to my teenage daughter features the artist and her daughter Clara as they cover each other’s heads in honey and then gold leaf. Initially performed in 2015, the video references artist Joseph Beuys’ 1965 performance How to explain pictures to a dead hare. Echenberg’s video centres the pedagogical and communicative aspects of gesture and understanding between mother and daughter collaborators.

2. Jorge Lozano
spatial rhythms, 2010, 06:46
Toronto-based Columbian film and video artist Jorge Lozano’s spatial rhythms documents a group of attendees at the Afro-Columbian Petronio Alvarez Pacific Music Festival in Cali, Columbia as they sign and gesture to each other from afar. An Afro-Columbian marimba soundtrack accompanies intimate scenes of friends shifting between Sign language, gesture, and dance. A study of language, spatial rhythms holds layers of understanding read through the body.

3. Donna James
Maigre Dog, 1990, 07:50
Jamaican-born multidisciplinary artist Donna James’s Maigre Dog is an experimental video incorporating family photographs, Jamaican Patois, and Calypso music. The work features an audio recording of James in conversation with two Aunties – Mrs. Delores Donaldsen and Mrs. Phillis James – as image and text respond to the women’s exchange of speech, laughter, and oral gesture. Maigre Dog is a portrait and an oral history of two elder Jamaican women that celebrates the intimacy of familial language and knowledge.

4. Karina Griffith
UNKRAUT, 2014, 02:24
Berlin-based filmmaker, curator, and scholar Karina Griffith’s UNKRAUT – the title translating to weed – examines diaspora through the metaphor of the undesirable plant. The video alternates between Super-8 and contemporary film treatment of documentary footage indexing multiple temporalities and ongoing histories. Contrasting scenes of cultivated private gardens and wild roadside growth reference the restricted mobility and labour of African refugees in Berlin.

5. Erika DeFreitas
real cadences and a quiet colour, 2017, 05:13
Scarborough-based artist Erika DeFreitas’ real cadences and a quiet colour is a performative documentary video featuring the artist and her mother – and frequent collaborator – Cita DeFreitas as they sit beside one another on a couch. DeFreitas’ video is a mother-daughter portrait, a study of mirrored gesture, and entirely focused on their feet. With gesture as subject matter and method, DeFreitas and her mother curl and stretch toes and caress foot with foot to elucidate the intimacy and understanding shared between them.

Read Ashley Raghubir’s essay in The Curatorial Incubator, v.17: On the Other Side – It’s Heaven: PUBLICATION


Image credit: UNKRAUT, Karina Griffith, 2014