As You Live Here – thirstDays No.06

As You Live Here – thirstDays No.06

love, intimacy and (com)passion, in a geopolitical context
A monthly series of video, film, performance and ceremony events
Project curator/artist-in-residence Jayce Salloum

Curated by Urban Subjects  (Sabine Bitter + Jeff Derksen + Helmut Weber)

Works from/selected by
Lisa Arrastia, Ricardo Basbaum, Raymond Boisjoly, Alice Dittmar, Phinder Dulai, Henry Hills, Souhei Imamura + students of Chiba Institute of Technology, Pia Lanzinger, Suzana Milevska + Sašo Stanojkoviќ, Cecily Nicholson, Anahita Jamali Rad, Fiona Whitty + Jude Anogwih, Cansu Yapici + Mücella Yapici

For thirstDays 06, Urban Subjects approach our relationship to the city, neighbourhood and housing, a relationship that is deeply shared and intricately spatial and a relationship that is one of the most intimate we have. To accumulate a broad lexicon for living today, we asked friends, artists and poets from around the globe to represent the everyday life, streets, and spaces of their cities, past and present, in film, music, and poetry. Join us for these moments of the poetic love of cities, and examples of what the novelist Jane Rule called “exuberant living.”
Our program, which is a global dialogue of the possibilities of cities and neighbourhoods, ranges from Vancouver, New York’s Lower Eastside and Harlem, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, Skopje, Vienna, and Lagos and others sites. Through this visual and poetic dialogue, part of our desire and (com)passion is to take the concept and image of living and housing, of cities and neighbourhoods out of the circuits of surplus value  to use value and back into use, life, and non-binary ways of  living. Housing, instead of being a site where we can work out ways of living and new modes of social reproduction, has become an increasingly central and precarious aspect of everyday life. The last half of the 20th century and into the 21st century has our cultural understanding of shifted away housing from its associations with a quality of life and a right (as it is recognized by a UN charter) to an aggressive form of financial speculation that can soar and crash abruptly and without the dignity of a material explanation. Even yesterday (July 10th), a new tent village in Vancouver and an occupation to stop evictions in Burnaby have illustrated the terrain of housing struggles! Housing has moved from a positive cultural and social value to another accumulation strategy for the ownership class: housing is a market rather than a right or even a dream. Instead, and counter to that, we’re focusing on the poetic love of the possibilities of cities and streets and spaces!

~ Urban Subjects

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Video documentation
Photo documentation

URBAN SUBJECTS (Sabine Bitter, Jeff Derksen, and Helmut Weber) have worked together since 2004 on visual, curatorial, and book projects focusing on the transformation and possibilities of cities, urbanism, and housing. Based in the widely differing cities of Vancouver (Musqueam territory) and Vienna they have researched alternatives to top-down urban planning in cities such as Caracas, New Belgrade, Milan, Vienna and Vancouver. Their recent projects have speculated on the past and present representation of political moments and movements through the idea of the militant image. Their books include The Militant Image Reader (Camera Austria Editions), Front, Field, Line, Plane: Researching the Militant Image (adocs publishing), Momentarily: Learning from Mega-events (Western Front) and Autogestion, or Henri Lefebvre in New Belgrade (Fillip/Sternberg Press). They have been artists in residence at EXPO 2015 in Milan, Italy, the Leuphana Arts Program at Leuphana University Lüneburg, and VIVO.


thirstDays is a project conceived as the rain falls and covers us in a slick substance transduced from the skies, moist. How can this, how can we, contribute to the establishing of a momentum that may have once been here in waves or pieces but over time was squandered, and defeated, with the imposition of capital triumphantly declaring its colonial (un)consciousness in our enclave by the water. Surrounded by a possible serene beauty, grief and sadness, love and hate, what encounters do we inscribe into our psyches and into our beings, what can art do to fulfil a mandate of hope and agency. What can we contribute.

The project takes inspiration from the patterns of existence to look at the mechanisms which we are part of, and relate them to all we end up being, sharing, denying, repressing and preserving. We seek that which compels us: love, intimacy and (com)passion, explorations of the commons/(un)commons; empathy and subjectivities; nourishing sites and situations; modes of agency; and subjectivities of place.
We insist on diversity and threads of collaboration, strands of ‘collectivity’/affinity, emphasizing works that have a specificity of location with resonances/meanings for others within reach and beyond. There is a socio-psycho imperative here at this site – Vancouver – grounded in what is missing and manoeuvering the gaps while referencing the historic in the present(ness) – and of the moment – with the critical reimagining of the repressed and the projection of empathy and action. – Jayce Salloum

JAYCE SALLOUM, a grandson of Syrian immigrants from the Bekaa Valley (Lebanon) was born and raised on Sylix (Okanagan) territory in Kelowna, BC. His work has been exhibited in a wide array of venues, from the smallest unnamed storefronts in his dtes (downtown eastside) Vancouver neighbourhood to institutions such as the Musée du Louvre, Museum of Modern Art, Centre Georges Pompidou, National Gallery of Canada, Bienal De La Havana, Sharjah Biennial, Biennale of Sydney and the Rotterdam International Film Festival. Salloum is a recipient of the 2014 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts.