Speaker 0 00:00:09 <inaudible>
Speaker 1 00:00:14 Welcome to, to be continued, a stone Croft symposium podcast in today's episode curators on a Shaw Hawk, and Carra Tierney discuss the creation of the exhibition to be continued troubling the queer archive, as well as the development of this podcast series.
Speaker 1 00:00:39 Hi everyone. My name is Ana SHA Hawk, and I'm going to be in conversation with my friend and Cole curator Carra. And today we're gonna do a little bit of like BTS or behind the scenes for, to be continued troubling the queer archive a little bit about who we are, how this project came together, but influenced it and give it an opportunity to extend the project. What also, we would imagine others sort of futures for this project to grow into. So my name's Ana SHA Hawk. I'm going to say the full thing again. Um, I came to Canada as a political refugee in my early teens. So I've lived on both Algonquin lands is also on a West coast sailor's territory. For me as someone who is in the Academy, I'm a doctoral candidate in feminist and gender studies along with a person of color who, um, you know, is navigating being in a space and a geography.
Speaker 1 00:01:36 That's certainly not of my own something that I constantly think about and am determined to sort of situate my work through in terms of my heritage. My family comes from Persian and South Asian heritage. So my father's family's from my som my mom's family's from Iran as well as Pakistan. And I grew up in what's now known as Bangladesh before coming to Canada. So yeah, that's a little bit about me. I'm gonna turn the mic over to my partner Carra and have them introduce themselves. Yeah, thanks Ana. My name is Carra Tierney. I use they them pronouns. I am a white trans nonbinary settler of mixed Irish, Scottish and Italian heritage. I currently live and work on unceded Algonquin territory in the Ottawa area though. I was raised in <inaudible>, so called Montreal. My parents settled in Montreal after meeting in Nova Scotia on traditional land of the magma. Um, my Irish Scottish father having immigrated from England and my mother, my mother is the child of first generation Italian immigrants and Scottish settlers who arrived in the late 18th century. Um, so I come to this work as a queer artist, but I'm also a teacher
Speaker 2 00:03:00 And a PhD student. And my research is, um, well, I'm particularly interested really in the way that art creates space for expansive conversations and experiences of identity that move us beyond normative, mainstream frameworks and discourses. Um, so, uh, while, you know, I exist within and am a product of colonial spaces and ideologies and institutions. I work hard to challenge the way that my experience as a white settler affords me unearned privileges, privileges, which, you know, compel me to do this work of critically questioning history and always, um, always with an eye or an aspiration to redistributing power and ultimately resources
Speaker 1 00:03:53 And our relationship to Carlton university, which is the host institution for the show. That's where I'm currently studying. Actually what brought me to this area was originally to do a master's in Canadian art history, which I really credit as sort of the point where I started cracking open the knowledge that I was being handed down ahead until that point not been prompted to really question it critically and deeply. And so, you know, this show being given the opportunity to curate as an extension of that process for me. Yeah, funnily enough. So my undergrad was in communication studies in Canadian studies with a minor in sexuality studies and then my man communications, all of those sort of like we're the platform that launched my own sort of interrogation into play space and then my body in relationship to those things. So Carlton's definitely in terms of the gallery hosting the show, but how the seeds of where we turned inwards to look at our world sort of happened.
Speaker 1 00:04:50 Now I'm at UFO, but the show has definitely become another way to keep on relationships with the institution, but in a way that is definitely more mindful. And also it has a lot of decision making power as folks who are involved in putting the show together, right? I'm so excited about this podcast series. You know, we know what it feels like to go inside a gallery or a museum and be presented with a narrative, but not necessarily know how that narrative sort of comes together. And so this podcast series, I mean, there's a couple of different functions with it. The sort of predominant theme in the show is like troubling the archive, traveling the queer archive and what kind of stories get known about it? What kind of stories are often easily understood about queerness and archival sort of histories and stories. This podcast then adds onto that.
Speaker 1 00:05:42 So it changes the relationship of a show, being a snapshot inside a particular physical space and provides an opportunity to keep the stories going in a way that there's both like we're building on legacies that people have done and continue to do. And in our own way to like leave some sort of thread ongoing past the show. Yeah, that makes me feel really excited because it's also an opportunity for us as curators who are not objective beings, you know, sort of hovering outside and able to produce something without our own sets of histories and biases and archives that shaped this project. And so I really love this introduction into the podcast, but also just in general, for us to tell folks about who we are and what impressions we've left on the show as a result of the collaborative nature of the artists meet curator, curator, meet artist process, which I think is quite different from like other more commonly held practices between galleries and the folks that they host.
Speaker 2 00:06:43 Yeah. You've just opened up so many like massive topics for conversation. The first one, I guess I want to go back to is the idea of history and the stories that we tell and, you know, within queer spaces, because we are largely sort of born and raised in like straight families and contexts, we don't have as easy access to those stories, right? They aren't being told to us as children. They aren't being handed down from one generation to the next, quite in the same way a dominant history is being relayed. So in many ways, I think when queer folks turn to think through history, often what you receive is the immediate stories that you can grasp onto, and then what is present in the dominant archive. And so this was sort of a way for us to question that, to maybe dig our heels in a little bit deeper in terms of the way you go looking for those stories in your immediate community.
Speaker 2 00:07:39 But then also we very much had the starting point of being already dissatisfied with the dominant archive, because at this point in both of our sort of thinking, we know that it's not reflective of the kind of histories that we really wanted to, to bring forward. And then another point that he made that I thought was really interesting is just the reason why we're even recording this today, which, you know, wasn't an original part of our plan. When we set out to show, in fact, it became a very sort of last minute decision. So the function of this episode, yes, on the one hand, it's going to help contextualize the rest of the podcast series that we're putting forward in conjunction with the show. But it also allowed us to make room for, as I said, the behind the scenes, which often is erased when you walk into a gallery space.
Speaker 2 00:08:30 So you do walk into a gallery space and you're presented with works of art or stories, and you have no sense of necessarily the labor or the trajectory and path through which they traveled in order to then show up in this sort of, I don't want to say like clinical or like cleanse form, but I mean, even as we were writing wall panels for artists or even our introductory panel, like we wanted tell the story of how the show took shape. And there wasn't really room for that in the style of writing that is available to us. And so we thought, well, are we going to change the style of writing in the intro panel and the text panels? And we did, it became like this really sprawling writing process because we started with the baseline where you write with the disembodied voice of like, here, here are its themes.
Speaker 2 00:09:22 You know, it kind of didn't sit well with us. So we started interjecting ourselves in it. But then we came into the question like this show isn't about us as curators. It is, we do want to give the platform to the artists. We are showcasing these individuals who are creative and doing important work in our local spaces. But in terms of thinking through the way of an institution navigates the cultural landscape, we also had to bring those relationships into question as well as we came up with or fell into, I guess, the methodology that we ended up using to curate the show. I do want to give some credit to Sandra Dick here. Who's the director of the Carlton university art gallery, who I met in the early two thousands, but our paths didn't cross again until about 2015 when I was invited to curate a show at the gallery. And at that point, Sandra was saying things like, no, I think that the key is to hire individuals and then get out of their way, you know, or just like hire people who are experts at what they do and like who they work with and provide them with the necessary resources to do what they do best. And so that was how Sandra came to us as, you know, queer local researchers with the invitation to come and create a show about local queer history. That was sort of the framing of the invitation that we received.
Speaker 1 00:10:43 I mean, at first it was so daunting the idea of like queer local history as like big, big words and almost like completely impossible to execute. So I remember like feeling so daunted at the thought of like, what are the responsible ways of doing this? Yeah. I think one really, really great way to think through the project was like your insistence and thinking through what pride is political back in 2017 did. And what was that particular event seeing about local queer histories and local queer archives? Do you want to tell folks a little bit about as we've, we've been calling shortening it to PIP 2017?
Speaker 2 00:11:21 Yeah. So as Ana said, you know, the calls to curate a show about queer history in the local was incredibly daunting to us just in that. Um, there was no way we would ever succeed at it, to be honest, I think like we were forever destined to fail from the headset, which is a good thing. Right. I mean, it allows for the messiness of reality that we can never sidestep. Yeah. So yeah, we both knew that the ideas, the values, the, the mode of critical questioning and interjection that we wanted to espouse was very much for me anyways, inspired by the pride is political. And that's what we called it. Although, um, it's not necessarily an official title, a protest that took place in 2017, which was an interruption of the Capitol pride parade, a protest that was organized by largely youth queer trans black indigenous people of color who were dissatisfied and sort of at the end of the rope, in terms of the way pride celebrations were being hosted, global pride events are sort of mega corporatized.
Speaker 2 00:12:33 And, you know, homonormative, so they've taken on these sort of very safe forms that have been folded within a dominant narrative that erases in many ways, a lot of the violence that continues to happen. And this is largely done through whiteness and through the rights that have been secured by cisgender white gays, who certainly fought hard and long through their own forms of oppression for rights. And now there is a level of rights that have been secured, but those rights don't extend to everyone, right? They there's a limit to how far they travel. And so this, the pride is political protest was really about challenging that, and really refusing to have a pride celebration that embraces state security, the police, right. And there was a pretty, um, I mean, it all seemed very contrived to be honest, the media spin that happened at the time about the way a uniform police officers were going to be allowed to March in the parade.
Speaker 2 00:13:36 And there was sort of a demand that does not take place because those are the forces that continue to oppress our most marginalized communities. And there is a responsibility to, um, upholding their safety and prioritizing and centering the wellbeing of those who are most affected by state violence and structural oppression. Um, so that was our diving board. We thought, okay, at the heart of the show is this protest. And we want to try and feature those voices or amplify them again. And as somebody who's engaged in a bit of activist work, one thing I've always recognized is that, you know, a lot of activism happens in reaction to, and there is a lot of energy that goes into creating these actions that ask that we stop and sort of take account and question and think, but then once the moment is past rarely, is there time given to reflection in terms of organizing protest and activism. We wanted this show to maybe produce that space. We wanted to in collaboration with the institution, reach out to a lot of those individuals and invite them into conversation to think through that moment three years ago. And you know, what has transpired since then. And so that was our launch point. That was something that we always came back to was, you know what, at the very least let's put that in our sight lines and never lose focus on how that particular action created a set of questions that we wanted to move around.
Speaker 1 00:15:14 Yeah. I mean, it's hard to believe it was already like three years ago, but one of the things that really both focusing and thinking about the conversations that we've had with like artists and activists and local context specific to part is political, but also just thinking about time, like worrying up what time looks like. So the linearity of it, you know, past to present to future, but what this particular protest sort of unflushed in terms of the existing issues for communities and with policing services and policing sort of mechanisms are that it wasn't a dissimilar situation than what it was in the nineties or the eighties or the seventies. So a lot of the conversations we've had with folks who have like built practices over the last several decades, and also going forward, like thinking about community organizing and activist work, and then now, and also what it needs to look like for the coming years is that there isn't a, you know, a hard line of a separation between the issues that are sort of following through.
Speaker 1 00:16:14 And I think that was something that like contributed to how we had to rethink about the relationship between presenting stories and time and linearity, because it couldn't be that, I mean, there's two things that are happening with like the local context in particular, for me, for instance, as a queer racialized person coming into the local context, trying to figure out where my queer archives are. And the thing specifically with Ottawa is that there is this abrupt sort of migration out of people leaving to go to other cities and other geographies, whether it's Montreal, Toronto, or Vancouver or elsewhere. So that means that like you often feel as if you have to reinvent the wheel, both for yourself and for your community members. And the reality is that the work is there. It's simply not tethered together in a way that's cohesive in ways that the dominant archives are.
Speaker 1 00:17:04 And so that means a patchwork sort of project that you have to produce for yourself, unless, and until you're on the ground. And, you know, a few people who can then connect you to maybe folks who might have migrated away, but are still able to share resources. And I think that was something that came into the project in terms of resource access, what this podcast could also serve as was simply knowing that as you're going through certain buildings or certain neighborhoods or certain moments in the Ottawa history to have other folks share their stories, to then re like, sort of like lay over what are the already known stories and actually expand what we know about the place in the space, which I think is so amazing and interesting. And I'm so thankful for all of the folks who in the podcast who shared their stories. But along with that, the artists who joined the show and how they themselves, both using their body and their location to space are really troubling up what time and space and history and archives look like, which is really exciting.
Speaker 2 00:18:06 It's also worth mentioning that the reason this podcast even came about in the first place, which was in order to sort of enter into the research that we wanted to do in order to develop this show, um, we, we knew that the archives weren't going to produce the histories that we were looking for. We did look in the archives. So I should mention that we know as a matter of due diligence, we did some archival research and we were like, yes, this is not what we were necessarily looking for, but we complimented that with a, um, and I use this loosely, a community consultation process. It was a well-intentioned process. Again, we were always sort of troubled by the reality that we would never be able to do this full sort of consultation process. And what that, what that, what does that even mean? And what does that even look like?
Speaker 2 00:18:55 But we started by reaching out to the individuals who organize that, protest them alongside with some of the older artists that we know in town who have creative practices to talk to them about, you know, creativity and being gay or lesbian or queer, and what their sense of history was, what their experience of history was. So we, you know, started having these incredible conversations with people as a way to sort of point us in a number of directions to think through what might occupy the space of the gallery, if not, you know, the materials that one traditionally finds in archives. And so those conversations, you know, we sort of would leave those conversations saying like, Oh, I wish we'd recorded that because there was so much that was just generously shared with us that we, there's no way we can even bring all of that into the space of the gallery, because you always have to make decisions about what is shown and what isn't. Yeah. This podcast was really about trying to make those conversations available in a wider sense, in a way that maybe a traditional art exhibit doesn't afford the opportunity to do. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:20:04 Yeah. And I think like going back to like, you know, the big ask for local queer history and then possibility, and the built in fail mechanism of that, but to also then tell us that there is so many stories that have happened are happening, are being continued to be built on that, that work needs to continue forward. There is no reinvention of the wheel here where we're simply tethering ourselves to many other lifelines that are there and working to like produce a space for a tiny bit of that story to go through, I guess, maybe even building away from how traditionally, um, galleries and museums specifically in this context of galleries and institutions like universities, what they can do
Speaker 2 00:20:48 On the ground to facilitate the telling of stories that exist outside of the dominant narrative. Yeah. I mean that, um, also sort of rolls into some of the strategies that we were very intentionally trying to fold into our, into our process. And that was really about thinking through institutional responsibility and the history of institutions and how they come by their, their systems and their methods for cultural production and troubling. Those, I don't know about troubling. Those are just sort of operating within them strategically. So knowing that, you know, a gallery like the Carlton university art gallery has this particular platform has access to resources beyond what the community that we are hoping to showcase, um, has access to traditionally, like how do we use that strategically and sort of maximize what we can bring into our community, just in terms of like, you know, money to be quite honest, like, um, beyond the artist fee that an artist gets paid in an exhibit, like what, what more can we use this platform to produce? Um, so, you know, when the stories aren't there and we start telling them to ourselves and to each other, is this an opportunity for new art to emerge for new expressions of creativity, to be a part of this process, um, and, and be a part that we, you know, ask the institution to fund and support.
Speaker 2 00:22:27 I wouldn't say galleries, haven't done that before because you know, galleries certainly do fund the production of new work, but this was maybe on a larger scale because with each artists that we approached to be a part of this show, it was never about the fact that they had made an artwork that we wanted to exhibit so much that it was, no, this is an individual who we want to be in relationship with. And so whenever we would have these, these meetings with artists, you know, it wasn't about, well, show us this work or show us that work. It was like, what are you making right now? What are you, what inspires you? What would you like to make? Can this, can this be an opportunity that we can help funnel some resources, your way to create something new or something different, you know, take a chance.
Speaker 2 00:23:17 Yeah. A lot of the artists that we met with don't necessarily have established practices, you know, most, most artists in, in queer spaces in Ottawa, um, have, you know, multiple jobs to support their practice. So what given the resources would you do if you had them? Um, so a lot of it was about like, what's, what is the thing that you thought you would never be able to make until you, you know, um, secured a grant or had a certain chunk of money and time off to produce these things? Um, so in, and you know, one of the scary things and it wasn't really scary, but it certainly kept us on the edge of our seats was knowing that we'd built a show of work. We'd never seen.
Speaker 1 00:24:02 That was fun. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:24:03 The show opens in like a week, there's still a work we haven't seen yet. So it also was about like, again, us building relationships of trust and support and communication, you know, like this is a show that was pretty big in terms of the amount of communication that we had to engage
Speaker 1 00:24:24 You throw in COVID it was another level of managing, making sure we were available and making sure that like, we were staying in contact with the folks we're creating works. There's so many different pauses that have to happen because we didn't know what the I'm calling it, the new world order because of COVID. But like, what did that reality, what would that reality look like? And, um, you know, folks have drempt with us as the show has changed, evolved and grown. Right. So knowing that even as we were working with a loose timeline of writing up text panels for like artworks that like, you know, uh, particular artists might have given us general sort of descriptions around, but it's also like straining at our limits of our imagination of like what this piece is going to be seeing and doing, and then waiting for the moment when we would actually know what that end product
Speaker 2 00:25:17 This was going to look like. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:25:20 Very challenging, but also exciting and invigorating process, but certainly on the challenging side, because it means that you're conceiving and dreaming up descriptions for projects that are also a dream at materializing for folks who are working on them. So yeah, it's, it's been, you know, you're right a week away. Um, we've gone another text panel. We will not know what that's gonna look like until we're presented with the art piece, that they are going to be comfortable sharing with the gallery with us, with the future audience.
Speaker 2 00:25:54 Yeah. Yeah. Ultimately I feel like what a privilege we've experienced to sort of be on the sidelines of these multiple artists practices as these work are being consumed, like from conception through production, to now exhibition checking in at all the various points to encourage support, make sure they have the resources and then, you know, finally do it justice in the context of the show. It really has been an incredible and very rewarding experience in many ways. It's amazing. It's so amazing. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:26:30 Yeah. I mean, I think if, you know, given an opportunity, it like you don't have, if the question is how would we do things differently in another scenario? I think for me personally, it would be so much of the behind the scenes conversations and actions as the production for each of the pieces came together. I mean, that would be something that would have been beautiful to have as part of the archive, because I mean, along with the health constraints and the realities of living in the era of UPenn DEMEC right now and what that's meant in terms of our conversations with artists and their conversations with us and how the projects have shifted and then our own practice has shifted. Those are moments and stories I wish could have been part of another set of conversations to access, you know? Yeah,
Speaker 2 00:27:17 Yeah, no, I think you're absolutely right. I think because we kind of discovered our approach as we were approaching. Didn't give us the hindsight that we now have, which is, you know, like yes, if we were to do this again, record those initial conversations with individuals and try and sort of document the process and make that process more visible within the space of the show. Yeah. But again, it was because I remember even, you know, a year and a half ago, two years ago, when we were talking about this, when we were moving through this, there was a sense of like pressure and trying to determine what it was we were actually doing that we weren't necessarily conscious of the path we were taking to figure that out. Yeah. I would just slow down. I wouldn't slow down the process in terms of like pacing.
Speaker 2 00:28:07 I would just maybe slow down the thinking and the reflecting throughout that process, because, you know, we were sort of yeah. Moving forward without maybe the signpost that we would have. Um, so yeah, I think that trying to expand our reach in terms of who we consulted, um, and who we had conversations with, and maybe being more, um, intentional in the way we create those conversations and, and try and be more far reaching in terms of how, how deep we were able to, to go into the various pockets and communities that we attempted to establish relationships with. Yeah. And that's the gift of our title, which we also kind of stumbled into. You know, we kept putting, whenever we'd write about the show, we'd put things like, uh, TBD to be determined when we were like writing the title of the show and then to be continued, just kind of hit at one point and were like, actually I kinda liked the ring of that.
Speaker 2 00:29:09 Um, and in many ways it allows us to think into the future, as well as, you know, this particular leg of this project is coming to a close. It does afford us the opportunity to harness those things that we think were really valuable to carry forward with us, such as this podcast series. There's no reason why there couldn't be a forever existing to be continued podcast series, which features the voices of local queer trans black indigenous people of color from the area that we're operating within. But yes, to be continued. Yeah. You know, we're a month away from the show and we're encountering stories that we're like, ah, can we weave this in at the very last minute? And again, we kind of have to put the brakes on things cause we only have a month left to set up and say, okay, no, but you know what to be continued. This is one of those, those threads that needs to be picked up.
Speaker 1 00:30:08 Yeah. It just, it just tells us that there's, you know, continuously more work to be done. And there's all of these new learning curves for each of us. And it's been so good to work with the gallery with Sandra who's without blinking has rolled and supported all of the things that we brought to her along the way she's just gone with it. It's been really, really a beautiful relationship and process to be involved in has been a privilege.
Speaker 2 00:30:32 Yeah, I agree. And you're a delight to work with, to Ana. I must say that this has been such a beautiful experience to share with you specifically and I'm so, so thankful for this process and what it has done for our relationship. Absolutely.
Speaker 1 00:30:51 Like who knew a few years ago when we crossed paths on another project, but this would be a thing, but I am in awe of what you bring to the table, how it's been an incredible learning process for me every step of the way. And knowing that like we both have our strengths and weaknesses and the way that's like played really well together has been so satisfying as a working process. And in terms of our relationship, for sure, like, um, it's added so many different dimensions to it. I'm very thankful for you and I'm thankful for how this project has come together. And I'm excited for folks to come and see. I'm excited for folks to, you know, tune into the podcast to attend via zoom and hopefully in person, at some point some of the public programming that's going to get rolled out every single month. And overall it's been a very special project. Yeah,
Speaker 2 00:31:44 Yeah. It has an, you know, I can't, you know, I think we also need to thank the artists who have joined us in on this. And I know that we set out saying, you know, we'll, we will recruit the support of the institution in terms of funding projects. And we've been able to sort of extend the generosity of the gallery, I think far beyond what maybe they had anticipated when they invited us to produce this. But in terms of what the artists have given us, I, I always feel like we fall short and I think that's something that I think it's just, for me, it's like, it's a guiding sentiment is like thing. I mean, I always want to give everything in more to creatives and people who are doing work with us alongside us. And I hope that what we've been able to produce as a show and share as memories is enough. I hope it's enough. Yeah, yeah,
Speaker 1 00:32:40 Yeah. You know, it's unrealistic to think that it's enough, but I hope that we've done justice to be as respectful as possible. Right. The liminality of the show is that it is rather impossible to try to fit everything in, in the most full and expansive of ways as much as we want to because we're left with the brevity of the physical space itself with making sure that there's enough room to pause and think. Yeah. And to know that, like, to be able to pause and think with each of the artists in all of their own senses is so important and necessary. And that hopefully that we've been able to, as we've worked with them, been able to do that. Yeah, yeah.
Speaker 1 00:33:26 To be continued. A stone crop symposium podcast is produced by thin sun <inaudible> music provided by Ben sound.com. The podcast is part of Carleton university art galleries, virtual stone symposium symposium is organized in conjunction with the exhibition to be continued troubling. The queer archive, curated by <inaudible> in Paris here and presented at the gallery in the fall 2020, the exhibition and podcast expand conversations around local queer histories and futures. They're grateful for the support of Carlton university, the Canada council for the arts, the Ontario arts council and Stonecraft foundation for the arts, the Stonecraft foundation promotes education in the visual arts and fosters the public's appreciation of the visual arts. Find out more about the stone prof symposium by visiting quack.ca that's C U a G dot.