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Under New Management: Video Store

 

 

A beige sign with the words tons of great titles to choose from, hand painted in black and red cur

 

Under New Management: Video Store
June 6 - August 29, 2014

Organized by Toronto-based curators Suzanne Carte and Su-Ying Lee, Under New Management: Video Store, will temporarily convert the lecture theatre at the Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery into a video rental store cum exhibition featuring over 200 works of video art created by artists from across Canada.

By assuming the characteristics of an independent video store, Under New Management connects to the local community while challenging the gallery’s role as an intermediary that delimits the viewer’s direct access to art. Video titles available for rent were selected through an open call for submissions and include a cross section of experimental films, documentaries, comedy, horror and science fiction.

Returning the video rentals on the honour system, visitors are asked to pay what they wish upon return, thereby potentially engaging alternative forms of exchange that fall outside of 'normal' economic expectations. Payment could take the form of drawings, videos, or feedback/critique, enabling visitors to connect with the artists more directly. In Under New Management, the viewer is no longer merely a spectator but is invited to intervene into and shape the production of value, and to define and participate in a set of economic relationships that might have previously been reduced to standard monetary transactions. At once a video store, an exhibition venue, and an artwork, it presents a minor intervention into the endless alienated economic exchanges that occur at everywhere we go. It invites the viewer to enact a process of transubstantiation - changing one thing into another - completing the work with each rental transaction1.

In addition to payment, rental and return on an honour system basis removes barriers that exist due to membership requirements, deposits, and return policies at commercial venues. By removing money as the principle currency, each exchange occurs in hopes of expanding how the viewer values art.

The project also reflects on the current state of small retail stores, in particular the closure of independent rental operations, offering viewers the opportunity to view content that hasn't been produced for mass consumption.