Art and the City featured in two-day symposium

York’s Faculty of Fine Arts will hold a symposium, titled Urban Interventions: A Symposium on Art and the City, April 9-10, 2005, at Toronto’s Drake Hotel in conjunction with the Images Festival of Independent Film.

Janine MarchessaultJanine Marchessault (right), Canada Research Chair in Art, Digital Media and Globalization in York’s Department of Film & Video, has organized the event which is co-sponsored by the Robarts’ Centre for Canadian Studies at York, the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art.

The symposium will look at artists, architects and designers as aesthetic innovators and political instigators who use local environments to transcend the borders of cities and create new forms of democratic expression. The event will bring together critical theorists, filmmakers, visual artists, architects and designers who use visual culture to investigate, document and describe this changing relationship between art and citizenship.

Urban artist groups who will be intervening on-site over the weekend include the Toronto Public Space Committee, the Urban Beautification Brigade, the City Beautification Ensemble, and performers Free Dance Lessons.

George YudiceThe program on Saturday, April 9, begins at 11am with a presentation by George Yúdice (right), director of New York University’s Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies, titled “The Heuristics of Contemporary Urban Art Interventions Dimension”, moderated by Seth Feldman, director of the Robarts Centre.

The panel discussion at 1pm on “Connectivities and the Built Environment” features artist An Te Liu, Rosemary Donegan, assistant dean at the Ontario College of Art & Design’s Faculty of Liberal Studies, and New York filmmaker and media artist Jem Cohen. The moderator will be Andrew Payne, a frequent w.j.t. mitchellcontributor to Public, the journal of the Public Access Collective at York.

At 3pm, W.J.T. Mitchell (left), professor of English and art history at the University of Chicago and editor of the interdisciplinary journal, Critical Inquiry, will present the keynote speech, “Cloning Terror: The War of Images, 2001-present”, moderated by York Professor Caitlin Fisher, Canada Research Chair in Digital Culture.

The program for Sunday, April 10, begins at noon with a panel discussion, titled “Displacements and Urban Space”, moderated by Kathleen Pirrie Adams, a professor of new media at Ryerson University. Panellists Saara Liinamaa, an instructor in York’s Department of Film & Video, artist/architect Adrian Blackwell, of the University of Michigan, and Cairo video installation artist Hassan Khan will explore how artists are representing the movements, both physical and virtual, that take place in urban environments.

The second discussion of the day begins at 2pm when panellists David Tomas, professor in the École des arts visuels et médiatiques at the Université du Québec, Montréal, Vera Frenkel, professor emerita with York’s Department of Visual Arts, and Lorna Simpson, a photographer/visual artist from New York City, will look at “Time and the City” with the assistance of moderator Susan Lord, a professor in the Department of Film Studies at Queen’s University.

Kaja SilvermanSunday’s final event begins at 4pm with a presentation by Kaja Silverman (right), professor in the Department of Rhetoric and the Program in Film Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, titled “The Cure By Love: Seeing Hiroshima”, moderated by Karyn Sandlos, a graduate student in York’s Faculty of Education.

The event is co-sponsored and supported by York University’s Faculty of Fine Arts, the Images Festival, York’s Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies and the Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art. The Urban Interventions symposium is produced under the auspices of the Visible City Project and Archive at York University directed by Janine Marchessault.

Tickets (one session, daily pass, or weekend pass) will be available at the door. The Drake Hotel is located at 1150 Queen St. West, Toronto.