Burning Glass, Reading Stone 3: Radical Hope

A large lightbox on the wall of a concrete outdoor walkway features an image with green text on a white background reads: “If a man tells me something I believe to be an untruth, am I forbidden to do more than congratulate him on the brilliance of his lying?” It is early evening and the lightbox is illuminated from within, casting a slight glow on its surroundings.

Erdem Taşdelen, Demagogues: 5, 2020.

Burning Glass, Reading Stone 3: Radical Hope
Yto Barrada, Scott Benesiinaabandan, Black Quantum Futurism, Erdem Taşdelen

November 16–December 13, 2020

Between images by four artists, Radical Hope examines structures of knowledge, recording, perception, memory, and time itself. How might we re-envision the moments we move through, the relationships (both intimate and political) we hold, the truths we tell, and the acts of resistance we perform—in solidarity and in solitude—as practices of courage, vulnerability, and radical hope? Each work in this image set represents a strategy, a proposal, an intervention into the dominant systems that govern the way we communicate, inscribe, commemorate, and act.

Yto Barrada’s The Telephone Books (The Recipe Books) fig. 2 documents a coded language invented by the artist’s grandmother, Z.A.B., to record family members’ telephone numbers—an intimate notational system outside of existing language regimes. In Scott Benesiinaabandan’s work little resistances, ancestry and familial connections are set alongside historical photos of well-known Indigenous resistances. In the lightbox, Benesiinaabandan presents an image of his Kookum paired with a scene from the Burnt Church/Esgenoôpetitj Resistance, investigating and celebrating the small and critical histories that serve as pathways for reassertion and reclamation of Indigenous sovereignties. An image of Black Quantum Futurism’s Black Womxn Temporal Portal—a project spanning multiple mediums, IRL and online—serves as a site to consider historical and present-day forms of temporal inequality. Designed as a sanctuary for the unique, intersectional temporal experiences of Black women, femmes, and girls—and their active erasure from linear futures—the portal also prompts consideration of how its users and viewers are working towards ensuring Black Quantum Womanist Futures. Alongside these interventions into time and memory, Erdem Taşdelen’s Demagogues: 5 offers a provocation to question the authenticity of the visible in the public realm. In a digitally-manipulated image of the lightbox site, Taşdelen reproduces a quote from theatre critic Kenneth Tynan that reads as a plea to imagine responses to the rise of illiberal regimes across the globe.

Visit the Blackwood Gallery website for documentation, materials and resources. Interpretative video tours with Educator-in-Residence Laura Tibi for each image set, responses by Readers-in-Residence, and more will be released throughout the series.


Reader-in-Residence Program

Across the eight-part lightbox series Burning Glass, Reading Stone, the Blackwood Gallery activates a Reader-in-Residence program that brings readers into dialogue with each image set. This month, the Blackwood is pleased to welcome writer and researcher Dina Georgis into dialogue with Radical Hope.

Adapting the familiar artist’s residency format to one that focuses on practices of reading—reading an exhibition, reading a text, reading as interpretation—each Reader-in-Residence will respond to a series of works presented in the Blackwood’s lightboxes. For each four-week image set, a Reader produces a question-driven conversation with an artist (released in the form of a podcast), and then responds to the series in the form of a reading, set of images, performance-for-the-camera, score, or other experimental interpretative form (distributed via the Blackwood’s website). Bridging local and international respondents, including artists, poets, humanities scholars, and scientists, the Reader-in-Residence program creates a network of sustained engagement with Burning Glass, Reading Stone, and encourages the development of new dialogic and interpretive possibilities in a time of quarantine.

Visit the Blackwood Gallery website for podcast episodes and responses from Readers-in-Residence throughout Burning Glass, Reading Stone.


About Burning Glass, Reading Stone

Part of an eight-part lightbox series
Collectively curated by current and recent Blackwood Gallery staff
September 8, 2020–June 27, 2021

A circular image appears in the middle of a black background. In it, an out-of-focus desert scene appears upside-down. The handmade quality of the lens producing this image is readily visible, with many streaks and imperfections on its surface.

Oscar Santillán, process image of lens from Solaris, 2017.

Activating four outdoor lightboxes in public space on the University of Toronto Mississauga campus throughout the 2020-2021 academic year, Burning Glass, Reading Stone explores the conditions, technologies, and spaces of spectatorship that mediate our engagements with the world—physical and virtual. The lightbox program features eight sets of images: each provides a distinct testimony borne of a particular mode of observation or narration.

Distributed across a University campus still navigating social distancing protections necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the lightbox series responds to COVID-19 as a rupture that brings both public space and digital media under examination. What habits of looking has social distancing concretized? What wakefulness to the already existing inequities and gaps produced in our mediated environment is required? What responsibilities do images ask of us? What responsibilities do they occlude? How can various regimes of looking (scientific, testimonial, documentary, intimate, science-fictional) refocus collective attention?


The Blackwood Gallery gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the University of Toronto Mississauga.

Logos: Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, University of Toronto Mississauga, and Blackwood Gallery

Blackwood Gallery
University of Toronto Mississauga
3359 Mississauga Rd.
Mississauga, ON L5L 1C6

www.blackwoodgallery.ca
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Please note: The Blackwood’s gallery spaces are currently closed to the public. Burning Glass, Reading Stone is FREE and open to the public, and accessible 24 hours a day in four outdoor lightboxes across the University of Toronto Mississauga Campus. Some movement throughout the campus is required—ramps and curb cuts are in place across the University premises.

Please respect social distancing protocols while on campus.

Image descriptions: 1) A large lightbox on the wall of a concrete outdoor walkway features an image with green text on a white background reads: “If a man tells me something I believe to be an untruth, am I forbidden to do more than congratulate him on the brilliance of his lying?” It is early evening and the lightbox is illuminated from within, casting a slight glow on its surroundings. 2) A circular image appears in the middle of a black background. In it, an out-of-focus desert scene appears upside-down. The handmade quality of the lens producing this image is readily visible, with many streaks and imperfections on its surface.