Orientalism and Ephemera

October 23, 2008

By Stacey Ho
Krista Buecking

Julie Sando photograph "Oriental Rose." photo: Krista Buecking

Jamelie Hassan has been in conversation with Edward Said for quite sometime. Said’s pivotal 1979 publication, Orientalism, examined and challenged inscribed Western notions of the exotic Far East. Thirty years later, though the standard is to claim an acceptance of all cultures, this East/West binary remains. One particularly relevant example in North America is how the Middle East still figures as a foreboding singular body, full of religious fanatics, terrorists.

“A lot of the stereotypes are operating in the present tense,” says Hassan. “They allow us to invade their countries and destroy every aspect of their culture. If we look at the history of Afghanistan, one needs to revisit [Orientalism], actually read the book and become familiar with the text from different vantage points and different bodies of knowledge. This has filtered in so many ways into our social context.”

However, despite Orientalism‘s wide social scope, Hassan’s relationship to the text is personal, having read the book early on. The exhibition Orientalism and Ephemera is an idiosyncratic acknowledgment of Said’s influence on Hassan’s thinking, one that expands and contracts according to the exhibition space and the developing dialog between artists, viewers and Hassan herself.

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COM POSE

October 23, 2008

By Mike Landry
A participant using Ellen Moffat's "vBox."

A close up view of Ellen Moffat's "vBox."

During the last five years of his life, Saskatoon-based artist Ellen Moffat‘s dad suffered from dementia. His language deteriorated beyond the point of common understanding. However, Moffat found she was able to communicate on a different level. It struck a chord, and she realized how restricted we are using words to communicate.

Moffat’s idea of what she assumed to be language changed. She began to notice how the amount of media we’re inundated with daily removes meaning from the information. The cacophony blurs notions of left and right, and point of views become more like data than language.

Her coming exhibition, COM POSE, takes this shift in language as its subject. In one piece language is broken down to its vocal sound components (called phonemes), and in another text becomes a toy.

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