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THE NEXT 7 DAYS:     EVENTS (16)     +     OPENINGS (9)     +     DEADLINES (7)     +     CLOSINGS (10)
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Winter Exhibitions at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery
601 3 Ave S, Lethbridge, AB T1J 0H4

December 9, 2017 to February 4, 2018
Opening Reception: Saturday, December 9 at 8 PM


Richard Ibghy & Marilou Lemmens | The Golden USB

The allegation that it is easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of capitalism echoes within the speculative structure of The Golden USB (2014 - ongoing). If it is accurate to assert that our global imagination is enchained in an all-encompassing framework of capitalism, Richard Ibghy & Marilou Lemmens' project executes the next logical step of capitalistic expansion. Contained within the "Golden USB" is the Trade Catalog of Everything; a digital file listing all existing and potential commodities our earth has to offer, making available the necessary conditions for interstellar commercial trade. Beyond our solar system, our imagination becomes inhabited by similar motivations, implying that we are not the only beings longing for the comforts of economic reason.

Designed to be propelled into the farthest reaches of outer space, The Golden USB runs tangential to the specifically cultural purposes of the Pioneer Plaque (1972-1973) and the Golden Record (1977). Rather than highlighting the story of Earth through a diversity of natural sounds, images, music, and inspirational messages, The Golden USB is strictly commerce oriented. No longer offering a confrontation with capitalism as an economic system, the digitized catalogue pre-packages all of the appropriated and inventoried earthly objects for any extraterrestrial "investment opportunities," ultimately resulting in the fetishization of the earth itself.

Ibghy & Lemmens arrived at the Gushul Studio Residency in June to continue work on The Golden USB project. Through the identification and documentation of local commodities, the residency afforded the artists time to develop the Trade Catalog by further diversifying its collections. In this way, elements of our regional terrain have been inventoried, classified, and ordered, to be included not only in the space-bound memory stick but also shown within the exhibition. Amongst other commodifiable interests, the artists have examined how the region developed its cultural tourism by valorising the darker moments of its past, including mountain slides, mine explosions, murders, and suicides.

Through techniques of selection, organization, and systematization, the pair act as ceremonialists of capital realism, converting cultural practices, aesthetic objects, and earthly elements into the purchasable artifacts and services. Each new performance can be read as a rite of passage, stripping objects of any intrinsic worth and converting them into objects of exchange. This is the dilemma; if it is true we have forgotten how to imagine anything beyond the horizon of capitalism, then the logic of late capitalism has successfully aestheticized and commoditized history in its own right. A testament to Schrödinger's famous paradox, the most pertinent question may be whether the vessel is meant to 'find' life forms with similar capitalistic modes of exchange, or if it is contagious in consequence, serving the purpose of cultural conversion.

Richard Ibghy & Marilou Lemmens live and work in Durham-Sud, Quebec. Together they have developed a collaborative practice that spans across multiple media, including video, performance, and installation.

Image: Richard Ibghy & Marilou Lemmens The Golden USB 2014-ongoing
Installation: multiple channel video, sound, sculpture, text, dimensions variable
Digital image, Image courtesy of the artist


Tyler Los-Jones | a slow light

The community of Crowsnest Pass is located in a valley surrounded by ancient seabeds which have been folded to produce a dramatic mountain environment. Each band of strata in the rock signifies vast amounts of energy and 'deep time'—a geological concept in which the existence of humans amounts to the tiniest fraction of earth's history. Within this strata are seams of coal; dense black bands of compressed and concentrated extinct life-forms. Through processes such as photosynthesis, these ancient organisms spend their lives collecting solar energy, only to be released 100 - 145 million years later as this 'fossilized sunlight' is burned. Crowsnest Pass is not a location where the myth of a static, objective, or disconnected landscape has much credence; the area is notable for the relationship its inhabitants have to an overtly dynamic environment. One only has to look to Turtle Mountain, named "the mountain that moves" by local indigenous peoples, and the devastation of Frank Slide below, to understand how landscapes are continually in flux. Scattered throughout the Pass are various markers signifying how people navigate and relate to this environment; these directional aids inform the objects and images included in Tyler Los-Jones' exhibition, a slow light.

Los-Jones first began observing and identifying these navigational markers during a 2015 residency at the Gushul Studio in Blairmore, and has continued his research over the past three years. Examples of these orientation markers range from the Turtle Mountain monitoring station; the windswept Burmis Tree (the most photographed tree in western Canada despite its death in the late 1970s); and a chain hanging from the slanted wall of a mine, used as a tool during mine tours to signify the vertical axis for visitors who often became disoriented. In an area which has historically found economic sustenance through resource extraction, and is now the site of increased tourism, the wayfinding devices take on a double meaning; reflecting the history of the community in relation to a shifting environment, as well as the desires which are projected onto the place by those from outside the region. Through this collection of photographs, and sculptures, a slow light aims to generate experiences for wayfinding, disorienting and reorienting our sense of time and space in a complicated present.

Tyler Los-Jones makes objects and images from his home in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta. The work he has produced over the past decade aims to complicate inherited assumptions of environments by bringing the unnatural aspects of the western conception of nature to the forefront. Los-Jones is fascinated by the role photography plays in the production and the fulfillment of our expectations for environments.

Los-Jones has recently exhibited work at Art Gallery of Alberta (Edmonton), Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Division Gallery (Toronto), and Ditch Projects (Springfield).

a slow light is organized by the Southern Alberta Art Gallery in collaboration with Confederation Centre of the Arts, Charlottetown, PEI. Like at the Gushul Studio, Los-Jones participated in a residency this past summer and will exhibit work responding to the specificities of that place and to the nature of residencies more generally.

Image: Tyler Los-Jones compression no. 7, 2017 Archival inkjet print, 12" x 16" Image courtesy of the artist

Funding assistance for both exhibitions from the Canada Council for the Arts, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and the City of Lethbridge.

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