From our Winter 2020 Preview section, which features conversations with artists and curators on upcoming projects.
Althea Thauberger: This exhibition is titled “The State of the Situation.” The five works included—and this is characteristic of my practice overall—are quite situational, in that they are concerned with the relationship between me, other figures and collaborators in the projects and a broader phenomenological, social and political context, particularly the construction of identity and the nation state. Althea, Lorraine, for example, draws from the archives of the National Film Board of Canada’s Still Photography Division, led by executive producer Lorraine Monk from 1960 to 1980. At that time, the division was essentially a PR agency or propaganda wing of the federal government. So the work looks at social documentary photography in that context and how it was associated with a “family of man” universalism focused on representation as a nation-building project and an official, multicultural image of Canada that, at its core, reinforced a white, middle-class centre. Monk did very important work, and I want to draw attention to that. But in doing so, it’s also an opportunity to look critically at various roles, including my own, within the current state apparatus. —As told to Bryne McLaughlin
Althea Thauberger’s “The State of The Situation” continues to April 5, 2020, at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.