Lena Gudd & Antonin Pons Braley « An Archive of Norths » (paper)
With An Archive of Norths, we are dedicated to an aesthetic and scientific study of the North as mental and geographical place. In between narration and documentation, investigating how we inhabit the Norths and how the Norths inhabit us. We have been working together since 2012, putting into perspective our works based on long-term field research in polar and circumpolar regions. Driven by a holistic approach, we compose a multifaceted body of work at the confluences of images and writing, sculpture and sound. While archives usually are institutional matters, An Archive of Norths considers itself as a subjective laboratory, acting to the same time as philosophy and medium of our research-creation. Although an "archive of relations" is to be understood as a utopian idea, it contributes at its own level and in a poetic and rigorous manner to the common knowledge relentlessly gathered around the North.
In this vain, we would propose to take part in the round table discussion "Cultural research and research-creation projects in the circumpolar North project" with Daniel Chartier by contributing with insights of "An Archive of Norths" as well as its main longterm project "Banlieue Nord". Literally the suburb of the North, the latter refers to the French cities' northern outskirts, historically often 'at the edge' of town. Here, it is the incarnation of an imaginary place rooted in the Canadian mining town Fermont, were we have been engaging with the mental and geographical center-periphery relations in the North since 2012. Furthermore, it is constructed of several Norths, from Nunavut to Finnmark, from the Icelandic shore to the Faeroe Islands. From Svalbard to Siberia. In the future, from Adelie, Antarctic to Ellesmere in the Arctic. This assembled space allows us, at the crossroads of narration and documentation, to maneuver inbetween the visible and the invisible, the inner and outer landscapes of North in order to study the relation of humans to their habitat.
Drawing on long term field studies in Boreal and Austral regions, artist and researcher Antonin Pons Braley is composing an Archive of disappearance — an aesthetic and academic repertoire of “inner and outer Norths”. With an understanding of the Norths as representing a continuous interplay of mental and geographical constructs, Pons Braley’s Archive explores “the milieu as matrix, the conversion of man to what surrounds him”, mapping in particular polar and circumpolar flora as both topographical languages as well as intimate landscapes. The resulting artistic and scientific “resource” notably takes shape in herbariums, reliquaries and tympanum series, photo-collections, sound and image-based compositions, as well as literary and academic essays. Exhibited in major institutions including Paris Decorative Arts and the Tokyo National Museum, Pons Braley’s work is represented in public and private collections internationally. With a university background in Social Sciences and Cultural Studies, Pons Braley's research-creation focussed on insularity as well as far-North/ far- South territories. Having spent six years learning the ancient technique of heliogravure with Fanny Boucher, Atelier Hélio’g, Paris, Pons Braley has been nominated Élève-Maître d’Art by the French Ministry of Culture in 2015, and his Heliovolume sculptures series was awarded by by the Banque Populaire Fondation, Jury Artisanat d’Art, repeatedly in 2014-2015 and 2016-2017. Pons Braley is also currently a PhD Candidate in Studies and Practices of Arts, Université du Québec à Montréal.
Inbetween narration and documentation, Lena Gudd is exploring the interplay of inner and outer landscapes, femininity and wilderness within the multilayered Norths. Understanding photography as a process, approach and philosophy, she uses the medium as a compass to maneuver between visible and invisible spheres. As a self-taught artist with a background in European Studies, Gudd combines aesthetic and anthropo-geographical research in the northernmost regions of the world. Further enriching her body of work with collages, found objects and installations, Gudd engages in particular with female instinctual nature, following the tracks of “an inner wild woman”. “Her standpoint is one that is not typical of her generation. Lena Gudd’s camera of choice is a heavy, traditional 6x6 that allows for no more than twelve shots per roll. Her photography is made up of the unforeseen, of sparseness and tension. Gudd likes the cold, the rain, and the fog of the northernmost regions, […] the sites of her sensitive and unique anthropology. It is in the last of the West’s remaining wild territories that she explores this imperceptible freedom, this unutterable presence: the invisible trace of people” writes curator Michaël Houlette (2015). Her work has been exhibited internationally, she is currently based in Tromsø, Norway.
Members of the Association for Canada Studies in German-speaking Countries, Pons Braley & Gudd are both associate researchers at "Imaginary North", the International laboratory of compared multidisciplinary studies of the representations of North, Montréal, Canada.
Charlotte Coutu, « Making Nothingness Visible: Representations of Marginality in Negative Micro-Narratives from Finland and French Canada (Québec) » (paper)
There is an important tradition in Finland’s and French Canada (Québec)’s art production to represent the common, the « little » people, in what constitutes their daily life, the ordinary. As they are trying to live simple and happy lives, these characters are often confronted with difficulties associated with their inferior position in society but also by their often peripheral position. Engaged in depicting reality, this artistic production has contributed to the representation of the profound and defining struggles that take place inside these somewhat banal stories and has also unveiled the marginal position those subjects occupy in the social and physical space. In line with this tradition influenced by realism, I want to undergo a study of the contemporary representations of this particular form of marginality in literary and cinematographic work from Québec and Finland to understand the narrative construction of those micro-stories and the larger social problematics they unveil. The comparative study of those two art forms will, I believe, allow a more complete and rich analysis of this phenomenon. My selected body of work includes: La pêche blanche (1994) and La danse juive (1999), two novels by Québec writer Lise Tremblay; Curling (2010), a movie by Québec filmmaker Denis Côté; selected short stories from Unohdettu vartti (1986) and Tyhjän tien Paratiisit (1990), by Finnish multidisciplinary artist and writer Rosa Liksom; the novel Valon reunalla (2005) by Finnish writer Maria Peura and, finally, Ariel, the second movie of prominent Finnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki’s Proletariat Trilogy. At this point in my research, I suggest that the studied body of work concerns what can be defined as “negative micro-narratives”. I understand this negative as what is created from nothingness, the product of a negative representation of reality. Elements of this negativity include the study of silence, remoteness, isolation, deviancy, violence, all understood within a Nordic context.
Charlotte Coutu is a PhD student in literary studies at the Université du Québec à Montréal and at the University of Tampere. She works under the supervision of Daniel Chartier (UQAM), Saija Isomaa (UTA) and Riikka Rossi (UTA). She wrote her Master’s thesis on the study of irony and silence in three of Rosa Liksom’s short-story collections. She is affiliated with the International Laboratory for the Comparative Multidisciplinary Study of Representations of the North and a member of the Centre de recherche interuniversitaire sur la littérature et la culture québécoises (CRILCQ).
Aubyn O’Grady, « Swimming Lessons: Developing a Water Pedagogy to Examine the Entangled, Material, and Intra-Active Enmeshments Between Water, Bodies, and Knowledges » (visual)
Faced with the reality of an impending global water crisis, the Swimming Lessons project was developed as a research-creation event to encourage different ways of thinking and learning in and about water, from a posthuman, new materialist theoretical orientation. Taking the playful position that in order to think about water we should be wet, an Aquatic Lecture Series was organized and performed in various bodies of water across Canada. The result of these performances has been a water pedagogy; a way of figuring a research-creation event that encourages a new way of thinking, teaching, and learning water across disciplines, and underwater.
Aubyn is an artist-researcher whose performative work spans from creating a feminist pro-wrestling league to assembling an amateur synchronized team that performs in lakes to examine human relationships to bodies of water. Aubyn is also a PhD student in the Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning program at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.
Henning Wærp, « The Polar Bear in Nordic Literature for Children and Young Adults » (paper)
The starting point for this research is Timothy Clark’s (2011, 37) assertion that all ‘human societies define themselves in some basic respects through how they live a human – animal distinction.’ Against this premise, the study discusses and problematises the rhetorical device of anthropomorphism in Arctic children's books. It questions if anthropomorphism – the humanizing of the polar bear – is a genuine source of understanding, a pragmatic shortcut for understanding animal life, or a blind alley, representing the animal in ways that cannot do justice to the animals’ own perceptions and interests. The question governing this research is whether we learn anything about polar bears from these books, or if we only reinforce our own cultural standards.
Henning Howlid Wærp is Professor of Scandinavian Literature at UiT – The Arctic University of Norway. He has published books on Norwegian novels, nature poetry and the prose poem. In recent years his research has mainly concerned the Arctic, and his latest book is Arktisk litteratur (2017), on Nordic Arctic literature.
Lana Pavlovic Aleksic, « Santa Claus Marketing Myth: Universal Identities vs. Individual “consumption” of Myth » (paper)
In the paper identities and their individual and global manifestations are juxtaposed to cultural production, consumerism and mythological being of Santa Claus. In the search for the essence, principles and locus classicus which make the Santa Claus marketing myth sustainable from any of these positions, the anthropological, sociological, psychologal, and certain medical and biological research will be used as the sources for arguments and answers. Additionaly the research in the sphere of history, art history, political and economic sciences serves to expose external, conscious, visible, practical and materialized patterns and the individual expressions of the living myth. In his own domain, Santa Claus (representations) responds to such questions overshadowing the power and complexity of the heterogeneous structure of history and tradition. The image of this mythic character and supreme illusion of the winter period, exercises its influence on the globalized social environments, various markets and cultures.
Lana Pavlovic Aleksic has PhD in Ethnology and Anthropology of the Faculty of Philosophy at Belgrade University (Serbia). Master of Arts at the UNESCO`s Chair in Cultural Policy and Cultural Management at the Belgrade University of Arts. Graduated History of Art at the Faculty of Philosophy of the Belgrade University. Political Sciences at Faculty of Political Sciences in Belgrade – studied for four semesters (two academic years). Childhood, primary, secondary and high school in Dubrovnik (Yugoslavia). In the Mayor’s Office of the City of Belgrade Lana was Coordinator for the international relations in the field of culture and before that Coordinator of the Mayor’s Deputy Office of the City of Belgrade. For two and a half years she was an Expert Coordinator for Cultural and Educational Programs at the Department of Culture of the City of Belgrade. Previously Lana had been engaged in the Belgrade Cultural Centre, first as expert project assistant and later as coordinator on international art projects and conferences. In addition, Lana curated one exhibition, was member of juries for fine arts awards, produced television reports on current visual arts exhibitions in the form of weekly broadcast, and edited a documentary serial Video Glossary on Art and Theory of the 20th century on ART Television (Belgrade, Serbia). Lana is author of one book „The Santa Claus Marketing Myth“ and a number of scientific papers.