Be Kind

I was honoured to be asked to curate an online exhibit on the subject of “Humane Education” for the National Museum of Animals & Society (NMAS) this year. After several months of research and preparation, the exhibit is now live. I enjoyed working on this project, thrilled to have had the opportunity to bring this story to a broader audience. So many people helped make this exhibit a reality, and I’m so grateful for all of their kindness, hard work, and generosity.

The NMAS is a wonderful museum dedicated to preserving the history of human-animal relationships, a history that has until very recently been woefully neglected by curators, historians, and academics. This is an important history, and the work that the NMAS is doing is so valuable. If you have any artefacts relating to the history of human-animal relationships or advocacy campaigns from previous eras that you would like to donate to the museum, they would love to hear from you!

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1) Opened my email this morning to discover an ARTstor newsletter telling me that images from Cook’s voyages to the South Seas are now available through this wonderful image database. So cool!

2) Read about a very interesting-sounding photo exhibit in Toronto. Must go see this!

3) Found out about The Working Proof, an organization that sells art prints and helps charities. Love it!

4) Donkey Sanctuary! Need I say more?

Snow Day!

It is snowing like crazy here today! The forecast is calling for something like 50cm of snow in the Niagara region. I’m in hibernation mode today. It is nearly noon and I’m still in my PJs and am working on my 2nd mug of tea. I suppose I could be doing something a little more productive with my Saturday morning, but I’ve taken this opportunity to check out some new (to me!) websites and blogs.

Scott sent me the link to Vegan YumYum, a blog dedicated to vegan cooking. There are many great recipe ideas on here, and the photographs are simply stunning! This is too good not to share!

I also came upon Crafters for Critters through a link on Subversive Cross Stitch. Now I’m wishing I had thought to get some crafting supplies to play with as we wait out this storm. Oh well, I guess seeing pictures of other people’s creations is almost as much fun as making things!

Digital Threads

Oh wow! The Textile Museum of Canada (already one of the coolest museums around) has just launched a wonderful web-based exhibition called Digital Threads. Check it out — I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Here’s the text from the press release: “Digital Threads is an interactive Web environment that highlights new digital artworks by Canadian artists Jennifer Angus, Joanna Berzowska, Kai Chan, Ruth Scheuing and Samuel Thomas. Internationally known for innovative work that challenges the boundaries of conventional textile arts, these five artists define new territory on the World Wide Web with dynamic projects that link to 50 exhibitions and thousands of textiles from the Textile Museum of Canada. Art and technology are fused in this project – both are creative acts, imaginative and committed to the process of discovery. Technology is not only used to deliver the content but is woven into the very fabric of the artists’ creative process. An example is Joey Berzowska’s responsive textile ensembles of the future that will not only change to camouflage stains but display the subtleties of the wearer’s mood. “I want to be able to control how aggressive my dress appears” says this artist.

This interactive project also has a studio for visitors to create their own digital work with components and concepts borrowed from the five artists – experiment with pattern, colour, shape, time and meaning. Digital Threads will also provide access to 17 years of the TMC’s exhibition programming. 50 past exhibitions are sorted into 5 themes (Myth and Science, Textiles in Everyday Life, Clothing and Communication, Moving across Cultures, and Nature, the Environment & Weird Materials). Explore these pages featuring approximately 180 contemporary artists, publicly available for the first time. Digital Threads will also make a growing number of the Textile Museum’s permanent collection available online with high detail zooming interactivity. The TMC has thousands of artifacts available in our publicly accessible database. Visitors are able to explore the collection of the TMC 24 hours a day, from anywhere in the world.”

Square America

A few days ago Linda sent me the link to a site called Square America: Snapshots & Vernacular Photography. Considering I really need to be finalizing my course outlines this week, I’ve spent far too much time looking through the various galleries here. This is an amazing website! The focus is on amateur, everyday photography and the stories these photographs can tell. Many of the images have been purchased in flea markets or on e-bay. I think the rupture between the sense of personal intimacy and memory-making that prompted the making of the photograph in the first place and the lack of information we have when we view pictures on a website like this is simply fascinating. These kinds of images are so familiar to so many of us, yet as we look at them they sometimes raise more questions than answers. In my visual culture and history of photography classes I always try to emphasize the point that imagery can hold so many different meanings depending upon the context in which an image is viewed in. I also like to encourage students to think about personal uses of images, both in their own lives but also in history. These types of images have been so often neglected by art history, which is a shame. As the site’s owner says, “Not only do these photographs contain a wealth of primary source information on how life was lived they also constitute a shadow history of photography, one too often ignored by museums and art galleries.”

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Image credit: this photograph is from the “At the Window” gallery
(Square America)