A Museum for Future Fossils + Broad Topics

Join us Friday, June 7, 2019 at the John Labatt Visual Arts Centre for:
An artist talk by Abedar Kamgari from 3-4pm
A Museum for Future Fossils’ Open House from 4-6pm
And a series of screenings presented by LOMAA

A Museum for Future Fossils (MFFF) is a series of events and projects, including exhibitions, a workshop, and a graduate summer school, bringing together a key group of people working on museums, contemporary art, the Anthropocene, and climate change. Since June 1, graduate students participating in the MFFF project have been using the Artlab as a laboratory and meeting place. This exhibition is a living archive of the discussions and learning taking place as they consider the transnational implications of ecological crises – and art worlds – that cross borders and Indigenous lands and waters.



Vanessa Dion Fletcher, Writing Landscape, One-Channel Video, 4:15 minutes, 2010

This work began in my mouth with my voice and moved down to my feet, and the earth. Writing landscape is a series of images that were created between my body and the land. The finished product consists of three parts. A series of copper plates that were marked up when I wore them on my feet walking over the land, a series of prints that were produced from the copper plates, and this video of my performance of walking. Together, these images constitute an exploration of the relationship between my identity as an indigenous woman and Turtle Island. My project took place in three locations: Toronto, Ontario; Thamesville, Ontario; and Pangnirtung, Nunavut. I chose these locations specifically for their historical and contemporary significance.

Abedar Kamgari, Finding words for the feeling (The Walk Home), Two-Channel Video, 30 minutes, 2016

In winter 2016, I created “An object with a history” which became the basis of an ongoing body of work titled “Finding words for the feeling.” The series began with a site-specific performance-for-video (“The Walk Home”) and later, staged performance images (“Embrace/Expel”) near my home in Hamilton. “Finding words for the feeling” became a methodology for navigating my presence on familiar and unfamiliar land as a settler/immigrant, through organic site-specific and site-responsive actions. The object, when taken from one place to another, leaves a temporary trace behind. At the same time, the land leaves its trace on her– as the seemingly hard exterior slowly wears down through constant movement, until eventually she is drastically altered or expended beyond recognition.

Aislinn Thomas, MOUNTAINS USED TO BE UGLY, Video, 36 minutes 40 seconds, 2018

Before I left for Alberta in the summer of 2018, a friend recommended a book to me: Mountain Gloom and Mountain Glory, by Marjorie Hope Nicolson. In it, Nicholson describes how for most of western cultural and intellectual history, mountains were considered to be an imperfection on the landscape. The book explores the various factors that influenced this view and the shift in thinking that took place from 1850-1900. Of course, it’s now common to experience mountains as majestic and awe-inspiring, and unquestionably so. I certainly did.

This inspired a piece for the ongoing project A people’s history of the sublime, titled MOUNTAINS USED TO BE UGLY. It’s a video, around 36 minutes in length, of people in front of various mountain vistas in Banff. I asked each person two questions: What do you think of the mountains; how do they make you feel? and Did you know the mountains used to be ugly? (usually followed by a version of the explanation above.) Like TOTALITY the responses were varied. Many people rejected the idea that mountains could be ugly or our view of them socially constructed. It seemed that people who grew up near or had a close relationship with mountains were often unsurprised by the social history of mountains and could see their potential threat. Some people were eager to leave and seek out a bar, or the next vista, or their wedding party.

Participant Bios

Vanessa Dion Fletcher graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2016 with an MFA in performance, she has exhibited across Canada and the US, at Art Mur in Montreal, Eastern Edge Gallery Newfoundland, The Queer Arts Festival Vancouver, Satellite Art show Miami. Her work is in the Indigenous Art Centre in Gatineau, Quebec, Joan Flasch Artist Book collection, Vtape and Seneca College. In 2019 Vanessa is supported by the City of Toronto Indigenous Arts & Culture Partnerships Fund to be an Artist in Residence at OCAD University.

Abedar Kamgari is an artist, independent curator, and arts administrator based in Hamilton and Toronto. Her research is rooted in exploring displacement in relation to the ongoing legacy of colonialism in the West. She often works site-responsively with video and performance, using embodied and relational methodologies to unpack the complexities of immigrant experience.

Aislinn Thomas is an interdisciplinary artist whose practice includes video, performance, installation and text-based work. She culls material from everyday experiences and relationships, exploring themes of vulnerability, possibility and failure. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and has received several grants and awards including a Social Science and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Masters Scholarship, and grants from the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. Aislinn lives and works near the Grand River, on the traditional territory of the Attawandaron, Anishnaabeg, and Haudenosaunee.


Broad Topics: A Matrilineage of Media is an intersectional series of artist talks with additional screenings, performances, and workshops featuring regional, provincial, and national Canadian femme-spectrum media artists.

LOMAA would like to thank Canada Council for the Arts and Ontario Arts Council for their support of this program, as well as the London Arts Council for its continued backing.

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