Speaker Series



Complementing the exhibition BOMBHEAD, this program of events explores the ways that art helps to inform our understandings of nuclear technologies and the present atomic age.

SAT 3pm
in the Gallery
Room 4East
Ashon Crawley

ATOMIC Study: Speaker Series

Polyphonic Intention, a lecture with Ashon Crawley, presented in collaboration with The Social Justice Institute/Critical Racial and Anti-Colonial Studies Network at UBC.

Werner Heisenberg begins his book Physics and Philosophy with the following: "When one speaks today of modern physics, the first thought is of atomic weapons. Everybody realizes the enormous influence of these weapons on the political structure of our present world and is willing to admit that the influence of physics on the general situation is greater than it ever has been before." Is this the case, however? Is there a way to think about modern physics, called quantum mechanics, that does not privilege death and destruction as the first thought? This lecture considers the blackness of the performance of the Hammond organ from within Blackpentecostal spaces to consider the possibility of an intention that is not first but fundamentally plural, irreducibly impure, the polyphonic. The polyphonic names otherwise possibility as the very possibility of voice, of sound. Listening to the performance, feeling those performances of Hammond B-3 musicians, gets us to a critique of the first thought of Heisenberg, a first thought that is a result of Europeanization. There are otherwise possibilities for thinking quantum mechanics, a polyphonic intention that has been renounced to produce European thought.

Ashon Crawley, an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and African American and African Studies at the University of Virginia, is the author of Blackpentecostal Breath: The Aesthetics of Possibility (Fordham University Press, 2016), an investigation of aesthetics and performance as modes of collective, social imaginings otherwise.

Free for Members or with Gallery Admission.


MAR 10
SAT 3pm
Pollyanna 圖書館 Library, 221 Georgia Street East
Vancouver BC
Directions »
Study Group:
Kyoko Matsunaga

ATOMIC Study: Speaker Series

Join us for an afternoon convening where we will review atomic bomb literature, documentary film, and songs of protest selected by Kyoko Matsunaga, whose research has focused on the ways in which colonial processes continue to intersect with communities in proximity to nuclear sites of past and present. This Study Group is presented in collaboration with 221a’s Pollyanna Library.

Kyoko Matsunaga is an associate professor at Kobe City University of Foreign Studies in Japan and a former Fulbright fellow at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She specializes in American Indigenous literature, nuclear/atomic literature and environmental literature. Her essays have appeared in such books and journals as Ecocriticism in Japan (Lexington Books, 2017), Sovereignty, Separatism, and Survivance: Ideological Encounters in the Literature of Native North America (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009), and Southwestern American Literature. Currently, as a Visiting Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia, she is completing a manuscript for a book project entitled Beyond Nuclear Apocalypse and Native Survivance: Nuclear Representations in American Indigenous Literature (nyuukuria apokaripusu e no chousen: hokubei senjuumin sakka to kaku no naratibu).

Free and open to the public.


APR 28
SAT 3pm
in the Gallery
Room 4East
Panel Conversation:
Atomic Stories and
Nuclear Futures

ATOMIC Study: Speaker Series

A panel conversation with filmmaker Gregory Coyes, author Lindsey A. Freeman and physicist M.V. Ramana. Moderated by art historian Claudette Lauzon.

Atomic Stories and Nuclear Futures bring together a group of individuals who maintain close relations to atomic inquiry and unfolding nuclear futures through their diverse practices. This panel conversation will demonstrate differing strategies for making the enormity of the nuclear meaningful in our day-to-day lives.

Gregory Coyes is a lecturer in documentary film production at Capilano University, and he is currently completing his Masters in Film at the University of British Columbia. He received his BSc in Geology from Yale University. Coyes has worked extensively in the Indigenous broadcast community over the last thirty years as an award-winning film-maker and writer. He has also worked as a producer/director with the National Film Board, and consulted and written for the Smithsonian at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC. His Master’s thesis, SLOW MEDIA—Decolonized Media: the Camera as Witness, explores the potential of our relationship with media, free of the commercial imperative. He is currently conducting tests of SLOW MEDIA, measuring wellness and productivity in the BAR Lab (brain, attention, reality) in the Psychology Department at UBC. Coyes is Metis/Cree from St. Albert, Alberta.

Lindsey A. Freeman is the author of Longing for the Bomb: Oak Ridge and Atomic Nostalgia (University of North Carolina Press) and This Atom Bomb in Me (forthcoming, Stanford University Press, 2018). She is Assistant Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Simon Fraser University.

Claudette Lauzon is an assistant professor of contemporary art history and theory at Simon Fraser University. She is the author of The Unmaking of Home in Contemporary Art (University of Toronto Press, 2017), and co-editor of two forthcoming books: Through Post-Atomic Eyes (with John O’Brian) and Sustainable Tools for Precarious Times: Performance Actions in the Americas (with Karen Zaointz and Natalie Alvarez). Her current book project, Eyes in the Sky, examines cultures of surveillance and militarization through the lens of critical posthumanism.

M. V. Ramana is the Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, University of British Columbia and the author of The Power of Promise: Examining Nuclear Energy in India (Penguin Books, 2012) and co-editor of Prisoners of the Nuclear Dream (Orient Longman, 2003). He is a member of the International Panel on Fissile Materials and the Global Council of Abolition 2000. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Leo Szilard Award from the American Physical Society.

Free for Members or with Gallery Admission.

MAY 15
TUE 7pm
The Cinémathèque
1131 Howe Street
Vancouver BC
Directions »
Nuclear Sublime
ATOMIC Study: Speaker Series

ATOMIC Study: Nuclear Sublime is the final event in the programming series related to the exhibition BOMBHEAD. This film and video programme contains works by Bonnie Devine and Rebecca Garrett, Pierre Huyghe, Bruce Conner (on 35mm!), a premiere documentary by Jesse Andrewartha and new work by Erin Siddall.

Film critic William C. Wees describes the nuclear sublime as “the astonishment amounting almost to terror, the horror and [the] sacred awe felt by those witnessing a nuclear explosion—from a safe distance, of course.” ATOMIC Study: Nuclear Sublime presents visual reproductions of the bomb and its impact, exploring myriad ways that nuclear energies have affected and will continue to affect the material and immaterial aspects of human experience throughout time.

This program of experimental film and video works is presented in partnership with Cineworks Independent Filmmakers Society and will also present a selection of Jesse Andrewartha’s autoradiograms in the cinema lobby.

Doors at 6:30 PM / Program at 7 PM
Duration: 90 minutes
Free and open to the public.

Jesse Andrewartha Photography & Radiation (2018), 35mm film

Bruce Conner LOOKING FOR MUSHROOMS (long version: 1959–67/1996), 35mm film
Music by Terry Riley "Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band"                   

Bonnie Devine and Rebecca Garrett Rooster Rock—The Story of Serpent River (2002), Betacam

Pierre Huyghe Untitled (Human Mask) (2014), film
courtesy of Hauser & Wirth New York

Erin Siddall The Pen (2015–2018), HD Video

Artist Biographies

Filmmaker and photographer Jesse Andrewartha examines the collision of humankind with the physical world, using the photographic image to reveal domains that extend beyond our senses. A Render Efficiency Supervisor with Sony Pictures Imageworks, Andrewartha is a veteran of the visual effects industry and is active in the Vancouver analog film community and has screened works at film festivals such as BLUE and SDUFEX.

Setting himself and his work in critical opposition to mainstream American society, versatile and restlessly inventive artist Bruce Conner (1933-2008) was a key part of the San Francisco Beat scene in the late 1950s. He first became known for his assemblages, which were crafted from an assortment of cast-off materials. He gained international admiration for his surrealistic sculptures and innovative avant-garde films, which he made under the influence of his friend and fellow experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage. Like his assemblages, his films were collages, which he produced by splicing together found and new footage. Referring to his wide-ranging and experimental output, he claimed: “A lot of things I’ve been involved in I’ve done because nobody else was doing them.”

Bonnie Devine was born in Toronto, Ontario. She is a member of the Serpent River Ojibway First Nation in Northern Ontario, but lives and works in Toronto. Drawing on a life-long interest in textiles and storytelling and blending these with traditional First Nations technologies such as basketry, weaving and sewing, Devine has developed a unique visual vernacular. In addition to drawing, sculpture and installation, Devine writes, publishes and performs her narratives as explorations of the traditional Ojibway themes that are the trajectory of her work. 

Rebecca Garrett is a Toronto based artist whose use of media is situation specific. Her work in film, video and installation has always been multiple and mixed, evolving out of painting and into single channel experimental films in the late 1970’s, film installations in the 1980’s, and a concurrent production of gallery based mixed media installations and community based videos in the 90’s. Her recent and current works brings together and weaves multiple practices, places and lines of inquiry.

Pierre Huyghe’s works blur the boundaries of established contrasts: the living and the lifeless, the real and the symbolic; animal, man and machine. Since the early 1990s, Huyghe has worked with the exhibition format as a mode of presentation, challenging its conventional forms and setups. Huyghe was born in Paris in 1962, and now lives and works in New York and Chile. He has presented countless solo exhibitions, including at MoMA, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; LACMA, Los Angeles; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Tate Modern, London; and Ludwig Museum, Cologne.

Erin Siddall is a Vancouver-based visual artist whose practice considers the problem of how to represent the unrepresentable with photography—from invisible environmental hazards, to hidden histories and traumatic events. Her current work investigates nuclear histories within a new era of escalating risk. Siddall holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia (2017), a Bachelor of Media Arts from Emily Carr University (2011), and has screened and shown in solo, public or group contexts at galleries and festivals such as Access Gallery, Satellite Gallery, CSA Space, The Helen and Morris Belkin Art Gallery, Gallery 295, Nuit Blanche Saskatoon, The Western Front Gallery, Capture Photography Festival, Winsor Gallery, and the Burrard Art Foundation Studio.

Free and open to the public.

*TICKETED EVENT | All programming is in the Gallery and free with Gallery Admission unless otherwise indicated.
Dates and times are subject to change. Please check back for complete up-to-date listings.

Images: Emergency Measures Organization, Ottawa, Blueprint for Survival No. 5: Survival in Likely Target Areas, 1962