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Announcement
April 28, 2015

Prefix Photo issue 31 available now

Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art
Mishka Henner, Cedar Point Oil Field, Harris County, Texas. From the series “The Fields,” 2013, dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist and Bruce Silverstein Gallery (New York).

Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art is pleased to announce the release of the 31st issue of Prefix Photo magazine. On the subject of natural resources, editor Jayne Wilkinson writes: “Throughout this issue, the term ‘natural resources’ is revealed to be contradictory: there is nothing natural about resource extraction as an economic imperative, and there is nothing inherent in the search for resources that can account for the colonization and dispossession that occurred historically and continues in the present day. By so thoroughly transforming the materials of the natural world into commodities, we are transforming how we conceive of and imagine the non-human world. Making visible this shifting terrain is a critical task for those artists engaged by the question of our relationship to nature and what we understand as natural.”

Contributors to the magazine include the following:

Ellyn Walker explores questions of decolonization in relation to Site Santa Fe’s 2014 biennial exhibition, Unsettled Landscapes. Considering the history of colonization across the Americas, a history that is intertwined with the pursuit of resources and the resultant dispossession of indigenous peoples, Walker examines Site Santa Fe’s presentation of a cross-cultural dialogue dealing with land, landscape and territory. Works by artists Raymond Boisjoly, Gianfranco Foschino and Kevin Schmidt exemplify the immense range of creative talent featured in the exhibition while foregrounding the overarching context of colonialism. Using a personal voice, Walker reflects on the notion that land is our common, if complicated, ground.

Scott McLeod and Hamza Walker engage with the photographs and films of Yto Barrada. In her works, Barrada addresses the complex geopolitical relationship between Morocco and Europe, emphasizing the often adverse social, psychological and economic effects on Morocco’s citizenry while foregrounding the people’s capacity for survival. Combining documentary strategies with a metaphoric approach to imagery, she has created a compelling body of work that inquires into the daily traces of the significant changes currently taking place in North Africa, particularly in her hometown of Tangier. These changes elicit actions from the city’s inhabitants that may be seen as beautiful and noble, if often futile.

Jayne Wilkinson, in her essay on LaBiennale de Montréal 2014, examines the trope of water and traces its presence through several film and video projects. She discusses the ways in which images of water are often used to articulate a global economy that relies heavily, if invisibly, on natural resources. Exploring works by Ursula Biemann, Susan Norrie and Hito Steyerl, among others, her essay comments upon environmental destruction, financial speculation and human survival in the anthropocene era.

Shawn Micallef, in his literary feature, analyzes a photograph of Leonid Brezhnev, the leader of the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The photograph is deemed peculiar, as the representation of Brezhnev does not evoke the archetypal Soviet politician; rather, the image captures him in a casual, relaxed state. Micallef draws upon the photograph’s nostalgia to caution against the perils of erasing historical memory.

Other contributors include Taysir Batniji, Scott Chandler, Mishka Henner, Susana Reisman and Victoria Sambunaris, with book reviews by Amy Fung, Sarah Munro, Robin Simpson and Kate Steinmann.

On the occasion of the release of the magazine, Prefix ICA is proud to present Beaux Gestes, an exhibition curated by Scott McLeod and Vicky Moufawad-Paul, andfeaturing the work of Yto Barrada. The release party for the magazine and the first opening reception for the exhibition will be held on Thursday, May 7, from 7 to 10pm at Prefix ICA, located at 401 Richmond Street West, Suite 124, Toronto. Admission is free. The exhibition continues until July 25. The second opening reception for the exhibition will be held on Friday, May 22, from 6 to 8pm at A Space Gallery, located at 401 Richmond Street West, Suite 110. Admission is free. The exhibition continues until July 11. Presented in partnership with A Space Gallery as a primary exhibition of the Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival, the exhibition is supported by the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts.

Prefix Photo is published by Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art, Inc., a registered charitable organization that fosters the appreciation and understanding of contemporary photographic, media and digital arts. Prefix Photo is available by subscription and in fine bookstores and newsstands in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Switzerland, Ireland, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Prefix Photo acknowledges its Supporting Sponsor Steam Whistle Brewing, its Official Catering Sponsor à la Carte Kitchen and its Official Hotel Sponsor Hôtel Le Germain Toronto for their assistance with the release party held for Prefix Photo 31 in Toronto.

Prefix Photo gratefully acknowledges the assistance of its staff, volunteers and patrons, as well as the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. The Ontario Arts Council is an agency of the Government of Ontario.

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