Curatorial Statement

 

Companion Piece: ok to rest

 

Slow in both concept and form, Images Festival has untethered the typical seven-to-ten-day festival schedule. The 2022 Slow Edition presents a program of exhibitions and screenings dispersed across four months.

 

Pared down and stretched out, the Images Festival program consists of guest-curated screenings and a suite of connected exhibitions and filmic explorations curated by Images Programming Director Jaclyn Quaresma.

 

Titled ok to rest, the suite considers the festival’s theme of slowness, tenderness, and transgression through multiple, singular bodies of work. Across eight programs, the publics are given the opportunity to delve deeper into the practices of artists and filmmakers who are able to show multiple works over the duration of the drawn-out festival and its platforms.

 

ok to rest opens with an exhibition titled “Do You Know Why the Waves Break?” featuring the work of Myriam Rey, Laïla Mestari, and Alyssa Alikpala. The filmmaker and two artists set the tone for the suite, foregrounding the importance of making space for the many embodied forms of knowing and contemplation. Following that, Sharlene Bamboat’s feature film If From Every Tongue it Drips sensually considers the diasporic tongue as one that is in a constant state of translation, and that translation itself is an act of poetry. With Rekhti poetry at is centre, the film considers the queer body as one that simultaneously resists the colonial narrative and is historically erased from it. Consisting of digital age bric-à-brac, video recordings taken on the mobile devices of the two main characters are interspersed throughout the film.

 

Similarly, “I Can Hear My Echo” presents the work of Heehyun Choi, Sara Cwynar, and Laïla Mestari, who consider the everyday image, the media used to capture it, and one’s own way of organizing and then sharing their personal collection or archive of images. This online screening borrows its title from Nancy Holt and Richard Serra’s 1974 video Boomerang, which Serra describes as “... a tape which analyzes its own discourse and processes as it is being formulated. Language and image are being formed and revealed as they are organized.” In “I Can Hear My Echo”, images are treated as joyful echoes, reverberations of both the image’s author, and the person who captured it.

 

With compassion at its core, “a soft landing” celebrates the slow process of coming together while still adjusting one’s comfort levels in the current phase of the pandemic. The in-person exhibition will be held at Gallery TPW and is host to the artwork of by Alyssa Alikpala, Alize Zorlutuna, Erika DeFreitas, Rihab Essayh, and Eve Tagny.

 

“Leaky Gardens” includes the festival’s second feature-length film: Of Roses [how to embody the layers of time] Fragments of a bibliography, which is visual artist Eve Tagny’s first documentary- style film. Accompanied by short films by Vanessa Dion Fletcher (Writing Landscape) and Yza Nouiga (Jardins Paradise), “Leaky Gardens” complicates the notion of the garden as a gentle refuge and reveals its colonial roots. This in-cinema screening is accompanied by an intaglio print by Vanessa Dion Fletcher located on page 40 of this digital catalogue.

 

“Rebellious Flesh” came to be as a result of a collaboration between Jaclyn Quaresma and Breath and Death Guide Marifel Catalig. Films by Xiaolu Wang, Joie Estrella Horwitz, Min-Wei Ting, and Erika DeFreitas contemplate the relationship one has with death, mourning, fear, and grief, as well as the mystical possibilities of the thresholds between breath and body, youth and their elders, the living and those who have passed. Throughout the screening, Marifel will host collective meditation on breath with the in-cinema audience.

 

“Blue I & II” consists of the suite’s largest screening of short films and an accompanying feature, all of which complete a slow, detailed mediation on the colour blue. Heehyun Choi, Emily Pelstring, Serena Lee, Syd Farrington, Márcio Cruz, Chelsea Phillips-Carr, Anna Hawkins and Derek Jarman each contemplate one’s historical tethers, whether sexual, personal, biological, or aesthetic, alongside the colour blue. This screening is accompanied by a text that is grounded by a mineral exploration of the various pigments of that colour.

 

El Lado Quieto, directed by Miko Revereza & Carolina Fusilier, is the suite’s final feature-length film, which closes ok to rest with a look at a world after. Looking from the point of view of the Siyokoy, a Filipinx mythical creature, audiences watch as they wander among the architectural remains of Capaluco, a now-unpopulated Mexican island that was once a bustling resort. ok to rest, as a whole, is a reflection on the question: If the show must go on, how might it be more kind, more generous, more available, and more loving towards its myriad composers, publics, participants, and their positionalities? The exhibitions and the in-cinema and online screenings that are offered through ok to rest intervene, alter, and subtly disrupt the atmosphere of the traditional festival model, creating space for slowness, for tender transgressions, for rest.

Images Festival

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Supporters

  • Canada Council for the Arts
  • Government of Canada
  • Ontario Arts Council
  • Telefilm Canada
  • Toronto Arts Council
  • Vtape
  • York University School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design
  • 0_TD
  • Digital Arts Ressource Centre
  • The Japan Foundation
  • The Fabulous Festival of Fringe Film
  • CalArts
  • Art Museum

Images Festival would like to acknowledge

The land on which we gather and organize is the territory of the Anishinaabe, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, the Huron-Wendat, and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. Today, the meeting place of Toronto is home to many Indigenous peoples.

A territorial acknowledgement can demonstrate a coming to awareness, and provoke thought and reflection, all of which are essential in beginning to establish reciprocal relations. This acknowledgement should not function as closure, resignation, or acceptance of the structural conditions of settler colonialism that remain in effect today. The Images Festival will continue to ask what it means for us to keep open a spirit of sustained inquiry into the complexities of our context.