An exciting new exhibit in Montreal opens this week, breaking new ground for queer artists and exploring in experimental ways how homosocial lives are lived on lands older than time.
On Friday November 30th, SKOL will be hosting the opening reception of Montreal artist, historian and documentarian Jamie Ross’ latest work “Apparition of the wild”. Ross’s exhibit feature’s four video projects as well as his most recent book Fallow La Friche.
Ross undertakes the history of eastern Ontario in the corridor between Windsor and Ottawa where colonization for the purposes of lumber exportation set into motion a new phase of human interaction with this land. The deforestation by English capitalists began a new style of human habitation of the land, bringing to a close the long standing indigenous land traditions of the native peoples of the Boreal Forest. Ross asserts that it was a no win situation as the transplanted Scotsmen who worked the lumber fields lived in poverty in the campsites, causing crises of migration both for the workers themselves and those of the peoples who inhabited the land before them. The lumber farmed now sits in abandoned buildings in the region, forgotten by history – failures of the civilizational narrative – and left at the bottom of the sea in the sunken battleships of which these forests formed the skeleton.
Ross’s work reflects on the life cycles of these lands and the role which his own family has played in their history both as agents of deforestation and deep imbrications in the natural reforestation of the region now occurring. There is optimism and hope in the new directions the geopolitics of the region as the indigenous people are suing for claim of the land (never ceded to the invasive government at the onset of this narrative). Through experimental documentary footage (including breathtaking aerial videography), intensive archival work and an acute attention to detail in which even the history of individual film reels expresses the narrative’s own story, Ross has stitched a complex, relevant and magical tapestry of natural and human history resistant to the dominant narratives of heteronormative, Eurocentric civilization which have come to coat the halls of museums in it’s convenient lacquer. The product is a series of short documentary film experiences of the queer place in political, labor and gender history and the accompanying book Fallow La Fiche, which has already proved wildly popular.
Jamie Ross was born in a little house on Pendrith Street a hot night in May, just north of Toronto’s Christie Pits Park. His writing has been anthologized and published in periodicals and zines and his award-winning film has screened on four continents. His work blurs the lines of fact and fiction in its exploration of history and preoccupation with societal projections into the future. Personal psychogeography and sense of place are abiding interests, central to his second written work, Fallow La Friche. The abandoned landscapes of his Eastern Ontario ancestry are perennial sources of inspiration and strength. Creating and documenting queer community based on a sincere engagement with magic, grafting himself onto the rich artistic traditions of his ancestors, cultural and biological, is fundamental. Jamie now lives in Montreal.
Opening Reception is Friday November 30th at 5:30 at
Centre des Arts Actuels SKOL
372 Rue St. Catherine
Suite 314, Montreal