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ISSUE 40.3

ISSUE 40.3

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Editorial Note:
by Katie Lawson & Yasmin Nurming-Por, guest editors

A publication is always a collective effort, relying on the contributions of writers, editors, publishers and readers. This issue of BlackFlash represents an exchange between two writer/curators who remain curious about the making and unmaking of archives. For us, this means a practice of holding space for multiple truths and perspectives in material and immaterial manifestations of knowledge. Rather than a singular, verifiable truth, we understand the production of knowledge as occurring through a series of encounters. For this issue, we extended an open invitation to seven contributors to respond to the themes of art, archives and the environment. 

Despite the specificity of each contributor’s research and/or practice, each essay, conversation, or artist project represents an encounter between human subjects amid an ever-shifting web of more-than-human beings and environments. Each contribution offers a situated and personal relationship to its subject matter. In “Animal Archives at the End of the World,” Ellie Botoman considers interventions in repositories of ecological knowledge that document extinct species or those now facing extinction. Botoman’s work asks: can expanded archival practices serve a new role in the face of ongoing and widespread loss? In a similar vein, Imogen Clendinning reflects on her Archive on Ice, a solar-powered digital micro-archive created for the “Ice Folliesfestival as unpredictable seasonal conditions threaten the future of this significant community event that depends on the frozen surface of Lake Nippissing. The lake itself carries stories of the region’s transformation across various scales of time, a reminder that the natural world has always borne witness to radical change. Thinking through how artists respond to chemically-produced change, Warren Harper weaves together nuclear stories in the global expansion of the British Empire by way of artworks by Yhonnie Scarce, Tsēmā Igharas and Erin Siddall in “Sand and Breath Turned to Glass.”

Together, Botoman, Clendinning and Harper introduce a breadth of conceptual and practical strategies adopted by artists in working with existing archives, whether that be through speculative imagining, material witnessing, or the manipulation of data. Approaching the remixing of archives within a material practice, Timothy Yanick Hunter and Theresa Wang discuss his 2023 exhibition “Collapse and Incompletion” through a series of questions focused on music, personal archives and the undoing of institutional authority. In “[Re]Storing our Stories,” Adrienne Huard highlights the reparative work happening through emerging and responsive archives that centre the lived experiences of Indigenous Two-Spirit, trans and queer folks. 

Interspersed among this issue’s insightful and generative texts are two commissioned artist projects that engage memory-based relationships with archives. KC Adam’s Relational Making presents a visual narrative of dreaming and transgenerational knowledge through digital collage and beadwork, while Scott Rogers’ camera-roll series of paintings accompany a letter to Ed the Duck, bringing together a nostalgia for populist activism with a wish for human-animal exchange. 

We extend our deepest gratitude to the constellation of people that made this issue possible, and to you, the reader, for spending time with all that is held within these pages. Special thanks to LOB cabin for providing us space to weave together the ideas of our contributors.


Editorial Note – above

Artist Project:
Relational Maker
KC Adams

Animal Archives At The End of the World
Eleonor Botoman

Archive On Ice
Imogen Clendinning

Artist Project:
Ed the Duck
Scott Rogers

Collapse and Incompletion
Theresa Wang & Timothy Yanick Hunter

[Re]storing Our Stories:
Two-Spirit Presence in the Archives
Adrienne Huard

Sand and Breath Turned to Glass:
Tracing Nuclear Stories
Warren Harper

Cover: Archive on Ice. 2023. Imogen Clendinning. Courtesy: the artist and Ice Follies. Photo Credit: Liz Lott.

BlackFlash is grateful to Canada Council for the Arts and SK Arts for the production and dissemination of this issue.


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