articule has the pleasure of inviting you to an artist talk by Kandis Friesen (CHI) as part of the exhibition Tape 158: New Documents from the Archives.
Tape 158: New Documents from the Archives is an interdisciplinary installation working through multiple temporalities, architectural montage, and experimental narrative collage. Taking form in text, sculpture, large-scale print, and multi-channel video, the exhibition builds itself into a shifting archival loop, asserting new textual constructions through abstract absences and ghostly presence.
Emerging from an ongoing body of work, Tape 158: New Documents from the Archives is anchored in a 1991 auto-ethnographic videotape – unfinished, untranslated, and badly-made – found in a Russian Mennonite archive in Winnipeg, Canada. Simply labeled Tape 158, this video footage moves through a small southeastern Ukrainian village, inquiring about its histories, materialities, architectures and possibilities at the edge of a post-Soviet moment. This ‘found’ footage forms the foundation for the installation’s central work, Green Fields, a re-filming of the original footage in the same village twenty-five years later. Produced in the southeastern village of Zelene Pole, Friesen worked with a small crew and local women to re-film the original footage in the same locations, following the cameraman’s movements like a score. In tandem with filming, she spoke with villagers on the same themes as the original tape – of evidentiary architecture, childhood, diasporic linguistics, exile and state violence, and the ongoing presence of the war(s). The resulting installation is a meditation on such things, in all their minute and multiplied forms, an experimental essay that shifts through future-past narrative modes, asking how body, nation, and land is defined within and without us.
Kandis Friesen’s work is anchored in diasporic language, dispersed translations, and disintegrating archival forms. Working across video, sculpture, installation, and text, her interdisciplinary compositions build from architectural, material, and spectral inhabitations of exile, amplifying minute and myriad histories at once. Her current research is focused on an architectural site in Odessa, Ukraine, a non-ruinous ruin that has variously held a choral synagogue, a workers club, a cinema, and the occupying Romanian army during WWII, and currently houses the extensive collection of the Odessa State Archives. Drawing on constructions of public memory and public space, this work proposes directional frameworks for thinking through futurity, collective architectures, and structural resonance and disrepair: the monumental task of building memory.