Past Exhibition

November 15, 2019—February 8, 2020

Sabine Bitter & Helmut Weber

Making Ruins

Opening Reception: Friday November 15, 2019, 6-8pm

Artist Talk: Saturday, February 1, 2020, 2pm

Architecture can carry meaning, hold memories and make history. This capacity can be expressed on a small scale, such as in the representation of buildings on a coin or a banknote. It can also occur on grander scales that influence the construction and preservation of particular urban histories. Such histories live most tangibly at the scale of the city, but they are also expressed at a national level, where architecture can be deployed to reinforce or to challenge collective social memory.

While architecture holds intrinsic meanings and memory, it can also be reworked to project a vastly different historical narrative than the one it originally represented.What happens, then, to architecture’s capacity to constitute a collective memory when layers of a newly constructed Grand History enclose and cover up the original material body of a built structure? Once obscured, how are we to reactivate architecture’s capacity to hold lived history?

Making Ruins points to the corpses of architecture hidden away under foamy camouflage. Artistic intervention is meant to rework the still visible architectural remains into ruins, acting to interrupt the linearity of false historization, preserving memories of a particular moment of past international solidarity and claiming an alternative future.

Vancouver and Vienna based artists Sabine Bitter and Helmut Weber collaborate on projects addressing the politics of how cities, architecture and urban territories are made into images. Dealing with architecture as a frame for spatial meaning, their ongoing research includes projects such as “Fleeting Territories”, “Educational Modernism,” and “Housing the Social.” In 2004 they founded the cultural research collective Urban Subjects with Canadian writer Jeff Derksen. Sabine Bitter is Professor at Simon Fraser University’s School for the Contemporary Arts.

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