Charlottetown Remixed

Charlottetown: images of change, a show at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery, has been around since mid-May, but I’ve only just visited today. It’s an interesting tour through the history of the city through painting, photography and objects. I was able to find our house on many of the mid-1800s city plans and I found the original of this Robert Harris watercolor that includes our house. There’s even an original Mark Butcher chair from the C.G. Hennessey collection — perhaps the selfsame chair that I managed to destroy by sitting on it around her kitchen table (something she has never let me forget; I’ve been allowed to only sit on solid modern-era chairs at her house since then).

Tonight the Centre hosts the opening of two new shows: Curb Appeal and Cities of Canada: The Seagram Collection.

The Curb Appeal show is particularly interesting. It’s a Shauna McCabe creation (Shauna is arguably the best thing to happen to the Centre in years) and includes large-scale urban imagery, video, an online land use datgabase project, a sonic installation, and a weirdo “psychogeography” installation that seems almost impossible to understand. Overlaid on the images of Charlottetown below it’s a good antidote to the ye olde conception of the city.

The Gallery now has WiFi, so I’m live-blogging this from the middle of the exhibition, which is cool both in nerdly and artistic ways too. I just ran into Shauna, and we talked about the possibility of having the Plazes guys drop in by video later in the summer to talk about their system (which is both about real world “where the hell can I find WiFi” geography and also, abstracted and re-mixed, very similar to some of the themes here).

The reception is tonight at 7 p.m.; the shows run all summer long. Even if you’re not an artophile (and I am most decidedly not), or perhaps especially if you’re not an artophile, I think you’ll find this season’s stuff here interesting. If nothing else, it’s a free, air conditioned, WiFi-enabled space in the heart of the city! Recommendation: grab your laptop and just come and sit in the middle of all of this for an afternoon.


John Boylan's picture
John Boylan on June 16, 2005 - 15:44 Permalink

As someone in the heritage business, it’s not surpising that I very much enjoyed the City of Charlottetown exhibit at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery and Museum. Kevin Rice did a wonderful job as curator. The content’s very good and the show looks great.

What I enjoy most about the exhibit is that it demonstrates the remarkable changes in the community over the years. More than a collection of historical curios, it begs the question “What is our relationship to our surroundings, and how will we shape them in the years to come?” No antidote required.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on June 16, 2005 - 15:52 Permalink

RIght on, John. But I think we all suffer from treating our history as something “precious” — we pay homage to it, commemorate it, but perhaps don’t consider ourselves part of it. I think Kevin’s exhibition plus Shauna’s rave work together well; perhaps not an antidote to each other, but more of a catalyst.

John Boylan's picture
John Boylan on June 16, 2005 - 16:55 Permalink

It’s great when shows work together in that way. I look forward to seeing Shauna’s exhibits tonight. We’re very lucky to have the Centre and the people there.