Ward 81 Voices Film Screening + Book Launch

Celebrating Mary Ellen Mark’s remarkable creative process.

Portrait of Mary Ellen Mark taken by Verla in Ward 81, Oregon State Hospital, Salem, Oregon, USA, 1976. Courtesy of The Mary Ellen Mark Foundation/Howard Greenberg Gallery

Film Screening | Ward 81 Voices

Sunday, March 5, 1:30 pm
Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema

The Image Centre (IMC) and Hot Docs are proud to present Ward 81 Voices, a gripping new documentary about Mary Ellen Mark and Karen Folger Jacob’s time in the Oregon State Hospital. Directed by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Martin Bell, Mark’s husband and longtime collaborator, the film uses audio recordings from 1976, archival materials and Mark’s extraordinary photographs to offer a remarkable snapshot of her creative process in action. Join Bell and IMC Director Paul Roth for a post-screening conversation exploring the new film and exhibition.

Presented in conjunction with the exhibition, Mary Ellen Mark: Ward 81, on view through April 1 at the IMC.

Tickets: $15 | Free for Hot Docs members
Under 25? Get your free Hot Docs Bronze membership
Friends of the IMC get 10% off tickets with the code HDTIC10


Mary Ellen Mark and Karen Folger Jacobs, Ward 81: Voices, Steidl, 2023. Edited by Martin Bell, Julia Bezgin and Meredith Lue. Courtesy of Steidl Publishers

Book Launch | Ward 81: Voices

Tuesday, March 7, 6–8 pm
The Image Centre

Celebrate the launch of Ward 81: Voices, an expanded edition of the original 1979 book, which features previously unpublished photographs, excerpts from interviews with patients and recorded conversations between Mary Ellen Mark and her collaborator Karen Folger Jacobs, as well as new essays examining the influence of their project, including texts by IMC Director Paul Roth and IMC Exhibitions Curator Gaëlle Morel.

Free, registration required.


Exhibitions on view at the IMC:

Mary Ellen Mark: Ward 81
January 25–April 1, 2023
Main Gallery
Curators: Gaëlle Morel and Kaitlin Booher

In 1976, American photographer Mary Ellen Mark spent thirty-six days living in the Oregon State Hospital with licensed therapist and writer Karen Folger Jacobs, Ph.D., to photograph the patients of Ward 81—a high security, locked psychiatric facility for women. Mark’s unique access led to a nuanced and compelling portrayal of female mental health patients. This exhibition brings together the resulting photographs, audio recordings and archival materials to offer an in-depth view of the artist’s experimental and groundbreaking approach to documentary-style photography.

Organized in collaboration with Falkland Road Inc./The Mary Ellen Mark Foundation, New York.

Mind’s Eye: The Psychic Photographs of Ted Serios
January 25–April 1, 2023
University Gallery
Guest Curator: Emily Hauver, Curator of Exhibitions, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Between 1964 and 1967, American psychiatrist Dr. Jule Eisenbud conducted experiments with Ted Serios, a man from Chicago with the purported ability to psychically transfer his thoughts onto Polaroid film in a process he named “thoughtography.” Questioning the limits of the human psyche, the supposed objectivity of photography, and notions of scientific neutrality, Mind’s Eye presents a selection of Serios’ mysterious photographs, along with ephemera and experimental data from the Jule Eisenbud Collection on Ted Serios and Thoughtographic Photography, a highlight of the Special Collections at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Organized in collaboration with the Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), United States.

Xie Rong: Cut Piece
January 25–April 1, 2023
Salah J. Bachir New Media Wall
Guest Curator: Simone Estrin

In 1964, Japanese-American artist Yoko Ono first performed and filmed Cut Piece at Yamaichi Concert Hall in Kyoto, Japan. To mark the opening of Ono’s 2019 exhibition Peace is Power at the Museum of Fine Arts in Leipzig, Germany, Chinese-born artist Xie Rong performed Ono’s Cut Piece. Now regarded as a pioneering work of performance art and conceptual art, Cut Piece has also become an iconic feminist artwork. Unlike the single-channel perspective of Ono’s original film, Xie’s two-channel video offers both an overview of the performance as well as close-ups of Xie. In her performance, Xie, like Ono, makes herself vulnerable as she puts the onus on the audience to dictate how the experience will unfold, ultimately revealing how easily people become complicit in perpetrating acts of violence. This is performance as protest.

Xin He: Better City, Better Life — CLOSING SOON!
January 25–February 25, 2023
Student Gallery

Xin He’s exhibition Better City, Better Life presents the transformation, from 2005 to 2009, of land along the Huangpu River in Shanghai to accommodate the 2010 World Expo. This 523-hectare site remains the largest in the Expo’s history. His images of the changes in land use reflect the past and present of Chinese development and offer insights into a future in which China’s power is increasingly tied to the fluxes and pressures of the international economy.

Public Programs

Film Screening: Ward 81 Voices
Sunday, March 5, 2023
1:30 pm
Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema | Get Tickets

Book Launch: Ward 81: Voices
Tuesday, March 7, 2023
6–8 pm
Free | Registration Required | Eventbrite Registration

Reception for Durga Rajah. I am not the Artist, I am the Photographer
Wednesday, March 8, 2023
6–8 pm
Free | Registration Required | Eventbrite Registration

Curators in Conversation: Mary Ellen Mark: Ward 81
Kaitlin Booher and Gaëlle Morel
Wednesday, March 22, 2023
7 pm
Free | Registration Required
Online via Zoom | Zoom Registration

All events take place at The Image Centre (33 Gould St., Toronto) unless otherwise noted.

The Image Centre
33 Gould Street
Toronto, Ontario M5B 1W1

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Tuesday: Tours by appointment
Wednesday–Saturday: 12–6 pm
Sunday–Monday: Closed

Admission is always free

The Image Centre is an accessible space. Please contact us if we can make any accommodations to ensure your inclusion in our exhibitions and events.

Media Contact
Kristen Dobbin, The Image Centre, kristendobbin@torontomu.ca

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