The In Relation limited series podcast will activate and document conversations addressing the relationality of art, curation, and gestures of hospitality. In Relation is an intentionally responsive program that acknowledges the organic development of conversations and networks. The podcast begins by recognizing the local trajectory of this discussion and expands to weave together conversations happening amongst the organization, its contributors, and communities. Originally conceived as a way to present these developing ideas beyond the gallery space and to open up investigative and procedural conversations to a wider public, this series takes on new meaning in the time of Covid-19 and the social distancing measures we are currently undertaking. Guests include Krista Arias; Kerri Flannigan in conversation with Alexis Hogan, Oren Levine, Estraven Lupino-Smith, and Megan Quigley; Audie Murray; and Jinny Yu, with additional guests to be confirmed as the conversations unfold. The series will launch on April 13, 2021 and air on Tuesdays throughout April and May.

In Relation: Engaging Curatorial Hospitality is a year-long project exploring practices of relationality in art contexts.
Within the spaces of the curatorial, how are we in relation? Considering the social, political, and territorial complexities across North America, curatorial hospitality supports reciprocal, multi-directional guest-host relations in unceded and Treaty lands. Throughout 2020/21, project curator Toby Lawrence will work in collaboration with Open Space to explore the role of curatorial hospitality responsive to the gallery, the surrounding communities, and the Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ territories within which the gallery operates. An expansion of her ongoing collaborations and her research during a creative residency at the Comox Valley Art Gallery in 2019, this developing research looks deeply at vital and variable tenants of curation—power, expectations, protocols, boundaries, and care—and is framed through the question of how we come together through our differences, echoing Audre Lorde. Over the course of the year, this research will be activated through a program of activities, including a podcast series and an exhibition.

curator: Toby Lawrence

open space, victoria, BC

in relation:
engaging curatorial hospitality

Open Space, 1970s, image source:

In Relation, limited series 
Relaunching April 13, 2021! 

The Earth is my Elder | Krista Arias
February 3 - June 26, 2021

Generously supported by 

In The Earth is my Elder, New Mexico-based artist, poet and earth alchemist Krista Arias explores the complexities of reconnecting to ancestral homelands through body-as-earth connections.

The gallery installation is not the beginning nor the end point, but, instead, a vessel in the present moment that holds and supports the three video-poems by Krista Arias. A place to visit over the course of the four-month exhibition, to view again and to think through the ways these ideas expand and contract, signalling the variability of guest-host relations in many contexts and forms. The exterior, street-front installation offers magnified views of Krista’s poetry through the separation of the audio, video, and textual elements that form the video-poems. Installing the work outside of the gallery accommodates the ever-changing social restrictions due to covid-19 and offers an experience of the works for those passing by and for those who are not able or inclined to enter the gallery space for countless reasons. Parallel programming, including a Virtual Reading by Krista of poetry from her 2021 compilation, Xingona Girl Smoke, and the In Relation podcast series, presents further opportunities to engage with conversations around hospitality and guest-host relations and to cycle back to and reconsider the ideas presented throughout The Earth is my Elder.

Collaborations between Toby, Krista and Lindsay Harris through the Bread, Flesh & Ink activist potlucks is ultimately where the research for In Relation: Engaging Curatorial Hospitality began—with the question: What is curatorial hospitality? Toby’s research initially endeavoured to define curatorial hospitality; however, it was quickly made clear that its terms are ever changing. Even still, this focused inquiry has opened up space for deep thinking through visitation as a methodology and for dialogue around curatorial responsibility and guest-host relations within public art gallery spaces. For Toby, the presentation of The Earth is My Elder at Open Space closes the circle on this period of in-depth research around curatorial hospitality, but does not arrest the conversations between co-conspirators, interlocutors and collaborators that has become foundational to interrogating methods of working in relation, in search of more harmonious and equitable practices.

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Krista Arias, Eating Our Ancestors, video still, 2017. Image courtesy of the artist.