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OBJECT HISTORIES: EYELEVEL PRINTED MATTER EXHIBITION

1 Nov – 19 Dec 2020

CALL FOR MEMBER’S WORKS: Eyelevel Artist Run Centre & Bookstore is seeking printed matter and artist’s multiple for OBJECT HISTORIES, the ninth rendition of Eyelevel’s biennial exhibition of artist’s book, multiples, and printed matter. The theme OBJECT HISTORIES invites participants to explore how physical objects are reused and redistributed throughout the world. 

In light of the itinerant nature of printed matter, the exhibition will be displayed at Eyelevel as well as at satellite exhibitions in Nova Scotia at the Ross Creek Centre for the Arts and ARTsPLACE Artist-run Centre. This curatorial decision is intended to highlight the theme of recirculation as a source of connection, even across far-reaching distances.

Following the theme, participants are invited, though not required, to consider and/or problematize the following ideas:

  • Permanence and temporality 

  • Lifespan of objects

  • Library/archives/used bookstores

  • Individualized histories of objects

  • Ownership

  • Connectivity sparked by recirculated objects

  • Keepsakes

  • Family heirlooms 

  • Memorabilia

  • Sentimentality

  • Intergenerational knowledge sharing

  • Assigning significance to objects/questioning value

  • Collecting 

Work on display will be available for purchase online throughout the exhibition from November 1 - December 19, 2020. Opening receptions are being planning for each location, details TBA depending on safety and social distancing requirements. Purchases will not be available to be taken home until the exhibition has ended. 

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: OCTOBER 2, 2020

All items received after October 2nd can still be a part of Eyelevel’s Bookstore once this exhibition has closed. 

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TO SUBMIT:

Along with the physical work, submissions to OBJECT HISTORIES must include a signed Bookstore agreement including the artist and item information sheet. 

Find the bookstore agreement here: https://bit.ly/2FQiZLZ

All submissions can be mailed or dropped off to:

Eyelevel Artist Run Centre & Bookstore

2177B Gottingen Street

Halifax NS, Canada

B3K 3B5

Submissions must meet the following requirements in order to be included in this exhibition and in our bookstore:

  • Individuals submitting must be members of Eyelevel

  • Submissions must centre contemporary art, and serve Eyelevel’s mandate (work by contemporary artists, writing about contemporary art, etc.)

  • Items should be small enough to fit on our shelves and in our space (nothing larger than 24” unless by special request)

  • Please submit only one series. Multiples should be in an edition of 10 or less.

The Eyelevel Printed Matter Exhibition (formerly called ERI)  is a non-juried exhibition of member’s works. Memberships to Eyelevel can be purchased on a monthly or annual basis through our website http://eyelevel.art/membership or given in exchange for volunteering, PWCY and no-cost memberships are available to those who cannot afford to pay the membership fee or volunteer.

While this submission is non-juried, works with hateful, racist, homophobic, transphobic, misogynistic, fatphobic, ableist, agist or any other form of harmful and discriminatory content will not be included. 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR FOLKS SUBMITTING

  • The artist/participant is responsible for getting the work to Eyelevel initially. Eyelevel will cover the cost of returning the work to the artist, and transporting it to any satellite locations

  • If you have specific installation requests or requirements, please note them in your application form. If you require unusual or specialized presentation fixtures or apparatuses, please include them with your submission.

  • OBJECT HISTORIES is curated by Sophia Dime, Sophia will be deciding how and where the submissions are displayed. 

  • Participants will be invited to be a part of a virtual show-and-tell (over Zoom) during the exhibition. If you are planning on participating, please make sure to keep one copy (if the work is a multiple) or document your work for the show-and-tell. 

  • This non-juried member’s exhibition is unpaid. Participants will not be paid an artist fee or presentation fee. If your work sells, you will receive 70% of sales, Eyelevel takes a 30% commission for all bookstore sales. 

  • After the exhibition, the work can be returned to you at Eyelevel’s expense, or you may choose to let Eyelevel hold onto it to sell in our bookstore. All items in Eyelevel’s bookstore are insured. 

  • This is a member’s exhibition. Membership to Eyelevel is low-cost and open to anyone in any location. If you have questions about becoming a member please contact Sally, Eyelevel’s Artistic Director at director@eyelevel.art. No-cost/PWYC memberships are available. 

Questions? Sophia Dime (they/them) is here to answer your questions! Contact them at curatorialresident@eyelevel.art

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ABOUT THE EXHIBITION

For the ninth rendition of Eyelevel’s biannual printed matter exhibition (formerly known as the Eyelevel Reshelving Initiative - ERI), we want participants to consider the culture of material objects. Cultures are understood largely in relation to material objects, that is, we often tend to display a culture through its artifacts. Bill Brown defines object culture as something that is both material and symbolic. Object culture encompasses objects through which a culture constitutes itself, as well as objects in terms of their physical and material embodiment of culture. Objects mediate our sense of ourselves and others, meaning that our property distinguishes us from others in the ways that they mediate human interactions through the principles of exchange and possession. Moreover, objects house histories that are material, economic, and symbolic. These histories include those of production, exchange, use, appeal, unease, and desire. These multiple histories lay congealed in an object and contribute to how we assign value. OBJECT HISTORIES intends to compel participants to pose the question, what is the primacy of material culture and how does this influence our understanding of culture as a whole?

Through OBJECT HISTORIES, participants are encouraged to consider these object histories and question how we interact with them. Object histories are particularly relevant in this day and age given the dramatic increase in and revitalization of used economies. This newfound interest in buying vintage is driven partially by environmental concern. The desire to repurpose and reuse stems from an urge to resist the endless cycle of mass production that is so damaging to our planet. There is also something compelling about an object that has had a past life, it speaks to a kind of a  permanence and stability in a world that is so fixated on arbitrary progress and adaptation. Hannah Arendt writes, “Nowhere else [does the] thing-world reveal itself so spectacularly as the non-mortal home for mortal beings. It is as though worldly stability had become transparent in the permanence of art” (Brown 191). 

Likewise, objects have social lives. This principle is often applied to commodities based on principles of exchange. However, we can extend this theory beyond commodities and an object’s use value in terms of keepsakes and heirlooms. These objects possess an inherent wealth that transcends the material and capitalist conventions of value. That is to say, objects are not bound to their physical form, but rather they store emotional, cultural, and even spiritual significance. Objects are not random, on the contrary, they ground us, our beliefs, and our experiences of the world. 

However, objects are not simply by-products of culture, but they in turn hold the potential to and have created and determined the course of a society. Consequently, we have to challenge the way in which we assign significance to objects and how these acts in turn materialize dominant ideologies. We must implicate value and the biases of the dominant culture that have accounted for how value has been assigned. Therefore, object histories cannot be fully understood without considering the preoccupations of the dominant culture, and similarly, the history of thought must be considered in relation to material conditions. 

Hence, we are encouraging participants to think historically about the future through the lens of material culture and to problematize value by considering the intimate histories of objects. To explore the interconnections between use, exchange, sentimental, and cultural value, participants are encouraged to politicize and upend value structures and explore themes that include permanence and temporality, individualized histories of objects, ownership, share and circulated objects, keepsakes, family heirlooms, and memorabilia. Moreover, we want to explore how these themes and discussions can spark connectivity beyond Halifax by extending this show to rural galleries in Nova Scotia. This also give us the opportunity to question the way art has thrived and been given greater attention in metropolitan areas, and to draw attention to the radical work that is being created in rural areas as well.

-Sophia Dime, Eyelevel Curatorial Resident; Object Histories Curator

Works Cited
Brown, Bill. “Objects, Others, and Us (The Refrabrication of Things)”. Critical Inquiry, vol. 36, no.2, 2010, pp. 183-217.

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Sophia Dime (they/them) is a curator who recently graduated from the University of King's College with a BA in Contemporary Studies and English, and a certificate in Art History. Last summer, Sophia worked as Eyelevel's summer Program Assistant and is thrilled to return to Halifax to curate OBJECT HISTORIES. They are interested in 2SLGBTQ+ theory, particularly in relation to the ways in which the queer contemporary artists reimagine histories of oppression and erasure. They firmly believe that art is a vital facet of community care and of transcribing a public memory. 

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