Beyond the Archive

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Friday, April 28, 2023
Friday, April 28, 2023

Join us for “Beyond the Archive,” a presentation of video and audio works that share stories of community, labour, culture, and living social memory rooted in Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh land and water. These works use documentary forms in ways that transcend the physical and discursive truth-claims of today’s metropolis, challenging conventional approaches to archiving, history, and meaning formation. Open discussion to follow. Stay tuned for introductions to the evening’s speakers.

“Beyond the Archive” is presented in the context of Crossing Fonds (2023-2024), a project that explores digital tools for community archival research across institutions. Fonds within the project’s case studies include intersections of labour histories, social and gender activism, extensive media, photographic and image archives, and Indigenous and Black art and social histories. The research team includes media arts archivists, leaders and staff of institutional, municipal, and not-for-profit archives, as well as Indigenous, Black, racialized, and gender diverse researchers, curators, and artists.


Indigenous Longshoremen and the IWW, podcast produced by BC Labour Heritage Centre, 2023, 22m
An audio work documenting the contributions of Indigenous longshoremen and lumber workers to the formation of the city port and waterfront before the incorporation of Vancouver.

Future Ancestors, Cease Wyss, 2010, 2:59m
A video work honouring the persistence of tradition, as youth are “returning to the old ways and finding a deeper respect for the natural world through canoe journeys, community gardens and learning their traditional languages and protocols.”

Everything Has Meaning, Ruthie Speck, Tuskonne Blais, Amanda Sioui, and Zainab Aazehda Raja, 2022, 6:09m
A documentary short reflecting on the practice of Musqueam canoe pulling.

Message Sent, Terry Haines, 2012, 4:49m
Shot at Iona Beach, an homage to the wind, water, and wings of existence.

Hogan’s Alley, Andrea Fatona and Cornelia Wyngaarden, 1994, 32m
Documenting the previously unrecorded history of Vancouver’s Black community, specifically Hogan’s Alley, between 1930 and the late 1960s, through stories of the lives of three Black women: Thelma Gibson, Pearl Brown, and Leah Curtis.

Accessibility Information:
Transcriptions of the audio documentary will be available courtesy of the BC Labour Heritage Centre.
Hogan's Alley and Everything Has Meaning have captions (located at the bottom of the image)

Photo credit: Video still from Future Ancestors (2010) by Cease Wyss.

About the 

The BC Labour Heritage Centre Society preserves, documents and presents the rich history of working people in British Columbia. The Society engages in partnerships and projects that help define and express the role that work and workers have played in the evolution of social policy and its impact on the present and future shaping of the province.


T’uy’t’tanat Cease Wyss (Skwxwu7mesh/Sto:Lo//Hawaiian/Swiss). My work spans over two and a half decades, working with artists and communities on projects that utilize technology and community engagement as a means of sharing stories. Web-based works like Picto-Prophecy (2012) – with En’owkin Centre’s Ullus Collective – and public art such as Talking Poles (2009) – Surrey Cultural Capital Art Award – & the Stanley Park Environmental Art Project (2009) all take site specific inspirations and the stories of our past that inform us in the present, while looking towards the future and what part we play in the timeline of our ancestry. Culture and spirituality feed my soul and fuel my creativity. Throughout my life I have been training my spirit to reconnect to my ancestors and bring the stories back to my family and community that we lost through colonization and the Residential Schools. Whether I bring communities together through interactivity like geocaching games or building food security programs the art I engage in plays a significant role. Current projects include a collaboration with Hans Winkler about the near death of a small, desecrated island in Hawaii (Kahoolawe Island) and research on dissemination of ethnobotany from the Pacific Northwest Coast, Hawaii, and Switzerland.


Terry Haines was a multi-disciplinary artist of Secwepemc/Welsh- Tsilhqot’n/French ancestry. His practice, rooted in storytelling, addresses social and cultural issues impacting First Nations as well as our treatment of the environment. His short videos and installations have been exhibited and screened across Canada, the USA, Scotland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Germany and Mexico. Haines was a featured artist in Entzaubert Film Festival (Berlin 2010), Dreamspeakers International Aboriginal Film and Television Festival (Edmonton 2008), MIX Film Festival (New York 2007) and ART STAR 3 – Video Art Biennial (Ottawa 2007).


Andrea Fatona is an assistant professor in the Criticism and Curatorial program at OCAD University in Toronto. She was the former curator of contemporary art at the Ottawa Art Gallery, and has worked as the programme director at Video In, Vancouver, Co-Director of Artspeak Gallery, Vancouver, and Artistic Director of Artspace Gallery, Peterborough. Fatona is equally concerned with the pedagogical possibilities of art works produced by ‘other’ Canadians in articulating broader perspectives of Canadian identities. At its core, her curatorial practice is concerned with creating spaces of engagement – inside and outside of the gallery walls. Some examples of her curatorial projects are: Queer Collaborations (1993), Across Borders (1995/6), Cadboro Bay: Index to an Incomplete History (1999), The Attack of the Sandwich Men (2001), a national touring exhibition entitled, Reading the Image: Poetics of the Black Diaspora (2006-2008), Fibred Optics (2009-10), Will Work for Food (2011), and Land Marks (2013-14).


A well known cultural dissident and important voice of Canadian feminism, Cornelia Wyngaarden has been a pioneering force in the development and institutionalization of new media in Vancouver. Along with producing theoretically complex and formally compelling works of video and sculpture, Wyngaarden rallied, fought and forged for years at both Video In and Western Front to lay the ground rock on which much of the Vancouver’s media community flourished.

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