Announcing the 2023 Curatorial Incubator participants

Image credit: Good Luck Counting Sheep, by Khanhthuan Tran (2007)

We are pleased to announce two incoming incubatees for this year’s Curatorial Incubator, v.19: Islands in the Stream. Earlier this year, we posted a call for submissions for emerging curators to propose projects that explore collections, how they are accessed online as never-ending digital repositories, and how can we interrupt the stream to create new moments for refuge. Selected participants have an opportunity to hone their curatorial skills in the media arts in a number of essential ways: attending specialized workshops conducted by arts professionals; conducting independent research using the rich resources available through Vtape; writing a curatorial essay for their program of selected titles, with invaluable editorial assistance provided by an arts professional; and, finally, presenting their curated program to the public.

This year’s selection was undertaken by independent curator and writer Safia Siad, curator, writer, and artist Sanaa Humayun, and Vtape’s Manager of Outreach and Public Programs, Kiera Boult. We received many impressive submission packages and the selection was challenging, but our jurors managed to narrow it down to two curators, Muriel N. Kahwagi (Windsor, ON) and Kai Trotz-Motayne (Toronto, ON). The specialized workshop was facilitated by Artist/Curator Jordan King who shared her experiences of curating archives, and the research process for her upcoming exhibition at The ArQuives. We also would like to thank everyone who submitted applications and would encourage you to apply again next year. Please check back soon for more information regarding these projects, as they will be curating for our 2024 winter programming schedule.

Curators’ biographies and project descriptions

Kai Trotz-Motayne (left) & Muriel N. Kahwagi (right)

Muriel N. Kahwagi is a writer and cultural worker from Beirut, currently operating out of the U.S.-Canadian border. Her research is centred on the politics of collecting and archiving the performative, and the act of listening as a form of preservation in and of itself. She is currently the TD Curatorial Fellow at Art Windsor-Essex and a programmer at the Toronto Arab Film Festival.

Muriel N. Kahwagi’s proposal considers moving-image works’ ability to leave a material trace of places, becoming accidental archives that document disappearing landscapes. Looking at the cities of Beirut, Cairo, and Windsor-Detroit, she’s interested in the ways in which video works may (or may not) function as archives for the future – and in the role of artists as (unwitting) keepers of history.

Kai Trotz-Motayne is a Guyanese-Canadian researcher and writer from Tkaronto/Toronto, Canada. Driven by histories of movement and migration within her own family, her research focuses on the making and meaning of diaspora and how histories are transferred through generations. She holds a Joint Honors degree from McGill University in History and African Studies. Kai’s practice is grounded in the archive – both traditional and non-traditional. 

Kai Trotz-Motayne’s program explores the changing landscape of Caribbean communities in Toronto and how rituals are passed on and reconstructed through generations. In historian Robin Cohen’s 1998 essay Cultural Diaspora: The Caribbean Case, Cohen describes how diaspora involves “a literal or symbolic interest in return.” Reflecting on her own community of second-generation Canadians who have spent little to no time in the Caribbean, Kai asks, “How do we continue to engage our history?”