TAG TEAM: Gay Premises
Artists and Art Workers respond to Gay Premises: Radical Voices in the Archives, 1973-1983
Curated by Erin Silver
Artists: Anthea Black, Sharlene Bamboat and Dina Georgis, Eugenio Salas, and Robert Waters
Closing event August 28, 2013 at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives
Taken in tandem with the recent surge in interest, among younger and increasingly diverse generations of queer academic, activist, and artistic communities, in mining queer archives, Gay Premises: Radical Voices in the Archives, 1973-1983
, timely in its confluence with the CLGA’s 40th anniversary, operates at the threshold between Canada’s gay liberation past as a complex and contested foundation for the queer present and its potential futures.
Part of the process of broadening and complicating the record of gay liberation histories across Canada involves reinterpretation and rearticulation via artistic interventions at the CLGA. Promoting intergenerational dialogue and calling on an emerging generation of queer artists, activists, curators, and historians to engage in processes of “activating” the archive towards its continued preservation, the idea of archives “passing the torch” here is transformed into a playful, experimental, and collaborative endeavour, conceived along the lines of tag: “tag, you’re it,” tag teams, as well as “tag” and “tagging” as references to digital processes for organizing and archiving information. TAG TEAM: Gay Premises provides an artistic vantage point for thinking about Canada’s gay liberation history and the 40-year history of the CLGA.
As a collaborative, intergenerational, and interdisciplinary project, artists are tagged in for short residencies throughout the exhibition, working with the material, ideological, and textual traces left by previous artist participants and producing interventions, performances, and objects that contribute to a critical exploration of Canada’s gay liberation history, the CLGA, and the way that GLBTQ+ histories are promoted and preserved. TAG TEAM: Gay Premises emphasizes process and performative relationships to the archive, as well as a perception of contemporary queer artist communities working across networks, in collaboration, and through dialogue. The curatorial premise of TAG TEAM: Gay Premises as a whole might be read as an artistic intervention into a reading of the archive as static and relegated to the past, the structure of the project expanding and changing as new artists are tagged in. The projects are located at the CLGA, as well as at other sites in Toronto that are relevant to the history of The Body Politic, Canada’s gay liberation history, and the CLGA.
A four-artist tag team will undertake curatorial and artistic interventions throughout the course of Gay Premises: Radical Voices in the Archives, 1973-1983. Sharlene Bamboat & Dina Georgis, Anthea Black, Eugenio Salas, and Robert Waters have been tagged in because their practices address issues that are of critical importance to the enduring promotion, preservation, and legitimacy of GLBTQ+ archives, including racial and gender exclusion in GLBTQ+ histories, the oft-silenced experiences of queer refugees, the historical possibilities afforded by intergenerational relationships, and the reappropriation of gay liberation imagery and iconography towards queer ends. The simple act of calling on each artist to tag in their successor poses a challenge to any pre-determined historical narrative of the CLGA and promotes the development of a “living archive” that can effectively adapt to the needs, desires, and political urgencies of each new generation wishing to see itself reflected in the archive’s holdings.
Curatorial text by Erin Silver