Signals in the Dark: Art in the Shadow of War

January 7 - March 2, 2008

Curated by Seamus Kealy


Co-presented with the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery

Bureau d’etudes (France), Dominique Blain (Canada), Paul Chan (USA), Köken Ergun (Turkey), Jamelie Hassan (Canada), Kristan Horton (Canada), Abdel-Karim Khalil (Iraq), Anri Sala (Albania). Sean Snyder (USA/Germany), Ron Terada (Canada)

Maja Bajevic (Bosnia), Harun Farocki (Czech/Germany), Omer Fast (Israel/USA), Kendell Geers (South Africa), Johan Grimonprez (Belgium), Annie MacDonell (Canada), Sonja Savic (Serbia)

Special Events

Opening Reception
Wednesday January 16, 2008

Join curator Séamus Kealy in conversation on Signals in the Dark.
Contemporary Art Bus Tours take place on February 3rd and 10th.

Curator Tours of Blackwood Gallery
Fri, January 25, 11:00
Sun, February 3, 12:30
Sun, February 10, 12:30

Curator Tours of Justina M. Barnicke Gallery
Sun, February 3, 15:45
Sun, February 10, 15:45

Exhibition Statement

Signals in the Dark: Art in the Shadow of War is an interdisciplinary project exploring contemporary art’s relationship to war and its representations. As a collaboration between two University of Toronto galleries, this project includes an exhibition of international artists at the Blackwood Gallery and the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery.

“Listen — it’s not a war where you’re driving and shooting the whole day. It’s sort of relaxed. Some days you do nothing. You do twelve hours and then go to sleep in your room. Not every day you’re there something happens. Not every second is there something happening. Sometimes you’re just there. Sometimes they put you somewhere for nothing. Once they positioned me behind a tree. We’re being shot at and there’s nothing you can do. You’re positioned behind a tree. For nothing. Because certain people felt good about it. About your being there. You understand? They put you in all sorts of places: Dangerous places. Not dangerous places. As long as you’re doing something.”

(An excerpt from Omer Fast’s A Tank Translated, 2002. 4 channel video with sound. Courtesy of Postmasters, New York; gb Agency, Paris; and Arratia, Beer, Berlin)

Film and Video Program

Films and videos by international artists and directors play for the duration of the exhibition. Programming ranges from documentaries on art and culture under the siege of war to reflections on war and violence by artists. Films and videos play in three locations: the Blackwood Gallery’s Video Wall (BGVW), the Blackwood Gallery (BG), and the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery (JMBG). Each gallery also has video stations for private viewing of additional selected films and videos. All screenings are free and run continuously during exhibition hours. Video Wall screenings run from morning until night.

Hanan Ashrawi, Arabs and Terrorism, Syria/USA, 2008
BGVW Mon, February 4 – Tues, February 5

Doug Aubrey, See you in the next war, Scotland, 2001
BGVW Wed, January 16 – Fri, January 18
BG Thurs, January 24 – Wed, January 30
JMBG Thurs, February 7 – Wed, February 13

Persijn Broersen & Margit Lukács, Prime Time Paradise, Netherlands, 2004
BGVW Sun, February 10 – Mon, February 11

Paul Chan, Now Let Us Praise American Leftists, USA, 2004
BGVW Mon, January 21 – Tues, January 22
BG Thurs, January 31 – Wed, February 6
JMBG Thurs, February 14 – Wed, February 20

Critical Art Ensemble, Immolation and The Making of Immolation, USA, 2008
JMBG Thurs, January 24 – Wed, January 30
BG Thurs, February 14 – Wed, February 20
BGVW Thurs, February 28 – Sun, March 2

Hayder Daffar, The Dream of Sparrows, Iraq, 2005
BGVW Mon, February 18 – Wed, February 20

Christoph Dräger, Helenes (Apparition of Freedom), Switzerland, 2004
BGVW Wed, January 23 – Thurs, January 24

Robert Greenwald, Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers, USA, 2006
BGVW Sat, February 16 – Sun, February 17

Ivan Grubanov, A Guy I Know, Serbia, 2002
BGVW Thurs, February 21 – Fri, February 22

Allan Harding MacKay, Somalia Yellow, Canada, 1994
BGVW Fri, January 25 – Sat, January 26

Lewis Milestone, All Quiet on the Western Front, Russia/USA, 1930
BGVW Tues, February 12 – Wed, February 13

Els Opsomer, The Agony of Silence, Belgium, 2004
BGVW Sat, January 19 – Sun, January 20

Joseph Pevney, “A Taste of Armageddon,”
Star Trek: The Original Series, Season 1, Episode 23, USA, 1967
BGVW Thurs, February 14 – Fri, February 15

John Pilger, Flying the Flag, Arming the World, Australia/UK, 1994
BGVW Thurs, February 7

John Pilger, Paying the Price: Killing the Children of Iraq, Australia/UK, 2000
BGVW Fri, February 8

John Pilger, Breaking the Silence: Truth and Lies in the War on Terror, Australia/UK, 2003
BGVW Sat, February 9

Walid Ra’ad, Hostage: The Bachar Tapes, Lebanon, 2001
JMBG Wed, January 16 – Wed, January 23
BG Thurs, February 21 – Thurs, February 28
BGVW Sat, February 23 – Wed, February 27

Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay & Pascal Lièvre, Patriotic, Canada/France, 2005
BGVW Sat, January 26 – Mon, January 28

Jayce Salloum, Untitled Part 2: Beauty and the East, Canada, 2001
BGVW Tues, January 29 – Wed, January 30

Sluik/Kurpershoek, The Devil Hunter, Netherlands, 2000
BG Wed, January 16 – Wed, January 23
BGVW Thurs, January 31 – Fri, February 1
JMBG Thurs, February 21 – Thurs, February 28

Guido van der Werve, Suicide no 8945 till 8948, Netherlands, 2003
JMBG Thurs, January 31 – Wed, February 6
BG Thurs, February 7 – Wed, February 13


Join us Friday, January 25th for a series of lectures and dialogue on representations of war, related visual culture, and artists and art projects that confront the topics of war and geopolitical critique. Produced in collaboration with the Centre for Visual and Media Culture. Held at the MiST Theatre, Room 0150, CCT Building, UTM Campus.
Click here to view a webcast of the symposium.

Introductions & Welcome 14:15
Louis Kaplan, Director, Institute of Communication and Culture, U of T

John Ricco (symposium moderator), Professor, Centre for Visual and Media Culture, U of T

Keynote Address 14:30
Professor W.J.T. Mitchell will present a lecture entitled “Cloning Terror: The War of Images, 9-11 to Abu Ghraib” discussing ideologies that link fears of cloning with fears of terrorism, in an attempt to elucidate what he sees as the twin phobias that characterize our current historical epoch. Mitchell is Gaylord Donnelley Distinguished Service professor of English and Art History at the University of Chicago. He is also the editor of Critical Inquiry.

Panel One 16:00
Allan Harding MacKay, “Double Bind,” Artist, Canada
Brigitte van der Sande, “Amsterdam at War,” Independent Curator, Netherlands
Irene Loughlin, “The Sun is Crooked in the Sky...,” Graduate Student, U of T

Panel Two 18:00

Stephen F. Eisenman, “Water-torture,” Professor of Art History, Northwestern University, Chicago
Boris Groys, “Europe and Its Others,” Professor of Aesthetics, ZKM/Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe

Dialogue 19:25
Open dialogue with audience and all participating speakers.

A free shuttle bus from the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery (Hart House) departs at 13:00 and returns at 20:00.

A catalogue including documentation of the exhibition’s artwork and critical essays by Boris Groys, Séamus Kealy, Gene Ray, and Brigitte van der Sande will be produced in conjunction with Signals in the Dark.

Additional Events
In the Valley of Elah
Join us at the AMC Courtney Park for a screening of Paul Haggis 2008 film as part of the Mississauga Film Series.

Wed, January 30, 19:00, AMC Courtney Park 16, 110 Courtney Park Dr., Mississauga. Admission $10 – 12.

Activist Video-Making Workshop
A practical and informative session will introduce the history, techniques, and trends of activist artwork through video production. Produced in collaboration with Media Generator, ICC.

Fri, February 8, 14:00 — 16:00, MiST Room 0150, CCT Building, UTM Campus

Installation Views: Blackwood Gallery
Installation Views: Justina M. Barnicke