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Trans-Pacific Transmissions: Video Art Across the Pacific

Art Gallery of Greater Victoria hosts an exhibit exploring the visual culture of exchange between Asia and the Americas.

June 4, 2016 10:00am to September 5, 2016 5:30pm

June 4 – September 5, 2016 | Curated by Haema Sivanesan | Centennial and Ker Galleries

Trans-Pacific Transmissions: Video Art Across the Pacific brings together the work of artists from around the Pacific Rim to examine a broad history of trans-Pacific exchange as it has captured the imaginations of artists working in video. Anticipating the implementation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, a free-trade agreement designed to promote “regional economic integration”, this exhibition examines how artists have researched and engaged with a long history of trans-Pacific and trans-American trade and exchange.

Artists in the exhibition variously examine colonial legacies, histories and mythologies of the land and the sea, and how issues of indenture, migration, and labour have shaped ideas of diversity and belonging. This exhibition examines the human and social dimensions and implications of trans-Pacific trade as amplifying the conditions of globalization, and in the process re-organizing society inasmuch as it re-organizes wealth and economic power.

Since the 1970s, trade across the Pacific has surpassed trade across the Atlantic. Trade is not just a mechanism for the exchange of goods, but is also a key means for the transmission of ideas, and for the broadening of cultural paradigms. The development of video as a medium of art corresponds with the trans-Pacific growth in trade, specifically between Asia and America. One could argue that video is inherently a trans-Pacific medium, with the first consumer videocamera being released onto the US market in 1967 by the Japanese multi-national corporation, Sony.

Early works in the exhibition explore the juxtaposition, interpellation and transposition of North American and Asian, as well as Latin American imagery as a recurring theme in early video art. Video provided a means by which to collapse geographic space and time, and to suggest the possibility of instantaneous communication and collectivity across diverse nations. Recent video work around the Pacific has developed in contrasting ways, being less experimental but no less conceptual; often being influenced by film culture or approaches to broadcast media, or as a means to document and convey social actions.

By engaging the immediacy and possibility of video, this exhibition attempts to (re)-orient us to the Pacific, to consider social, economic and geo-political roles and responsibilities, across a vast ocean, and criss-crossing the continents.