I’ve been the President of the Board for Artcite Inc., a not-for-profit artist-run centre for the contemporary arts, for almost two years. During the first few months of my presidency, the organization experienced a severe cash-flow shortage after an already long transition period, when the former executive director left after 3 decades. Artcite survived, recovered, and now continues to grow.
For many reasons, the full story of Artcite has not been laid out, primarily due to confidentiality laws. However, I have been collecting, adapting, and abbreviating phrases from emails, conversations, board documents, reports, and the media. Together these phrases form a timeline of events that were previously fragmented among different groups of people. Each phrase relates the subject or point of a whole conversation, but with only the general context of when it occurred, it becomes abstracted: whose voice is it, and speaking to whom? Is it a real fact, speculation, or an interpretation? What was the response? Are they individual thoughts shared by multiple people, or being repeated over and over by the same person? The phrases cannot fully unify the conversations about Artcite, nor do they breach confidentiality, but instead document an intensely confusing and guarded period in the organization’s history in the form of something poem-like.
Made from old, worn out dress shirt sleeves, filled with chicken wire (or, it’s proper name, metal hardware cloth) and batting, with the phrases printed and glued onto schedule 40 PVC, I’ve completed a section of the piece Presidency for submission to the Art Gallery of Windsor’s Conversations: The Windsor Essex Triennial of Contemporary Art 2020. If I’m accepted, this piece will live to see completion.