Current Public Programs

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Friday, June 3rd, 7-8pm > Restoring a Sense of Place in Post Conflict Societies—The Art of Wafaa Bilal

Dr. M. Troy Burnett

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Wafaa Bilal, The Ashes Series-Dark Palace, 2003-2013. Image courtesy of the artist.

In this presentation, Dr. M. Troy Burnett, Professor of Geography at Mount Royal University, will discuss the spatial theories and themes evinced in the art of Wafaa Bilal. According to Dr. Burnett, “There is more to Bilal’s 168:01 project than nobly replacing looted books—there is the broader attempt to restore ‘sense of place’ and community to a war-torn society.”

Registration recommended.

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Friday, June 10th, 7-8pm > One-Offs, Side Projects, and Other Tangents

Kyle Beal

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Kyle Beal, A Chicken in Every Pot or How To Cook Your Own Goose (installation view), 2016. Photo: John Dean.

Join Kyle Beal as he speaks about his installation currently on view in the Project Space, A Chicken in Every Pot or How to Cook Your Own Goose, and the unique nature of working with such specific conditions and spaces. Additionally, Beal will reflect on a handful of his past projects that were also developed under set circumstances, or for non-standard exhibition, as well as the creative challenges and rewards that come with working with limitations and preexisting criteria.

Registration recommended.

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Friday, June 17th, 6:30-8:30pm > PLACEHOLDER: It’s your turn to talk!

d.talks

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Image courtesy of d.talks

Join d.talks, in collaboration with Esker Foundation, in an exciting new pilot program called PLACEHOLDER. This is an unconventional book club where we present the theme of the night and you bring your own book, poem, or object that you feel best articulates the theme. This is an opportunity for Calgarians to critically discuss and identify how our city and citizens affect, and are impacted by, local and global themes borne out in the work of Esker’s current exhibiting artists. Let’s form a new narrative in Calgary together! The theme for this PLACEHOLDER will be Translation.

Registration essential.

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Thursday, June 23rd, 7-8pm > Accumulation, Destruction, Revision: Exhibition Tour

Naomi Potter

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Etienne Zack, Mass, 2016. Image courtesy of the artist.

Join curator/director Naomi Potter on a tour discussing the work of all four artists presented this season: Wafaa Bilal, Richard Ibghy and Marilou Lemmens, and Etienne Zack.

Registration recommended.

Saturday, June 25th, 10am-5pm > Bookbinding

Carolyn Qualle

Image courtesy of Carolyn Qualle.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, this program has been rescheduled for Sunday, August 14 from 10am-5pm. Please scroll down this page to register.

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Thursday, July 7th, 7-8:10pm > Goodbye to Language (Adieu au Langage)

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Image courtesy of Kino Lorber.

Winner of the Jury Prize at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, Goodbye to Language is a triumphant masterpiece from Jean-Luc Godard. The film follows a couple whose relationship breaks down along with the film’s imagery, which, in its second half, takes a dog’s-eye view of the world. The film is a meditation on history and illusion as its figures merge and weave across the screen along with ideas about romantic love and being-in-the-world.

This film will be screened in its 2D version.

Dir. Jean-Luc Godard, 2014, 70 mins., French with English subtitles.

Registration recommended.

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Thursday, July 14th, 7-8pm > Labour of Love: Exhibition Tour

Shauna Thompson

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Richard Ibghy & Marilou Lemmens, Real failure needs no excuse, 2012. Courtesy of the artists.

Join curator Shauna Thompson on this conversational tour through the gallery as she discusses the space between destruction and rebuilding in Wafaa Bilal’s 168:01 and Richard Ibghy and Marilou Lemmens’ Real failure needs no excuse.

Registration recommended.

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Thursday, July 28th, 7-7:40pm > A New Product (Ein neues Produkt)

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Image copyright of the Harun Farocki Estate. Courtesy of Video Data Bank at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. www.vbd.org

At first glance, A New Product doesn’t seem especially compelling: in a bland corporate boardroom, executives and consultants talk about optimizing employees’ workspace in order to improve productivity. Boring? Think again. Harun Farocki, the master essayist and editor, transforms a mundane situation into theatre of the absurd, blessed with acerbic wit and a sharp critical sense. By filming what appears to be the dullest possible thing, he has created a subtle report from a world whose violent machinery shines through from under a veneer of decorum. Above all, the film lets us appropriate images of an implacable system. Black comedy at its finest.

Dir. Harun Farocki, 2012, 36 mins., German with English subtitles.

Registration recommended.

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Saturday, August 6th, 9:30am-5pm > Esker Foundation Tours The Banff Centre

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Aerial photograph of Banff town and The Banff Centre. Image courtesy of The Banff Centre.

Join us for a day trip to The Banff Centre, a leader in the development of new creative works. We will go behind the scenes of the Visual + Digital Arts, Theatre, and Music facilities; tour the Leighton Colony artist studios; and observe a cyanotype demonstration. Later, we will join curator Peta Rake for a tour of the Walter Phillips Gallery exhibition On Cohabitation, a solo-exhibition of Israeli filmmaker and artist Yael Bartana. Lunch and Banff National Park fee: $25.

Registration essential.

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Sunday, August 7th, 2-3pm > Wafaa Bilal: 168:01 – Rebuilding Futures, One Book at a Time

Srimoyee Mitra

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Image of Srimoyee Mitra. Photo: Frank Piccolo, 2016.

This informative tour with curator Srimoyee Mitra from the Art Gallery of Windsor will focus on Wafaa Bilal’s exhibition, 168:01. Mitra worked directly with Bilal on the development of this exhibition, which aims to replace the fine arts books in the University of Baghdad’s library that were destroyed over 13 years ago. The exchange of Bilal’s empty white books for donated books symbolizes the power of individuals to rectify violence inflicted on cultural spaces that are meant to preserve and store knowledge for future generations. Mitra will also discuss Bilal’s photographs, The Ashes Series.

Registration recommended.

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Saturday, August 13th, 1-5pm > Altered Book Workshop

Colleen Rauscher

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Image courtesy of Colleen Rauscher.

In this workshop, drawing inspiration from images and samples of altered books and the many forms they can take, participants will transform their own book using mixed media and a variety of techniques. We will explore themes and structures using various additive and subtractive methods, including collage, text manipulation, image transfers, transparencies, sewing, folding, pop-ups, and more. Participants should bring a book (or books) to alter and a possible theme to explore, and are also welcome to bring a few small found objects, images, photos, or other ephemera they would like to incorporate into their piece. Esker Foundation will provide basic materials for this workshop. Participants must be a minimum of 16 years old.

Registration essential.

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Sunday, August 14th, 10am-5pm > Bookbinding

Carolyn Qualle

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Image courtesy of Carolyn Qualle.

We will begin this workshop by briefly exploring examples of portable personal books, from medieval daybooks to contemporary sketch and travel journals. We will then dive into folding, cutting, and sewing to make a sturdy portable book for you to take home, ready to receive a range of mediums such as pen, pencil, or watercolour. Constructed using historical sewing methods and waxed threads, your multi-section, non-adhesive book will lie flat when open. All materials will be provided. Participants must be a minimum of 14 years old.

Registration essential.

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Thursday, August 18th, 7-7:45pm > Returning Fire: Interventions in Video Game Culture

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Image courtesy of Media Education Foundation.

Warfare video game revenues now far outpace even the biggest Hollywood blockbusters. These games offer users a realistic experience of ground combat and the increasingly virtual world of long-distance, push-button warfare. Far less clear, though, is what these games are doing to users, our political culture, and our capacity to empathize with people directly affected by the actual trauma of war. In three separate vignettes, we see how Anne-Marie Schleiner, Wafaa Bilal, and Joseph Delappe have infiltrated war games in an attempt to break the hypnotic spell of “militainment.” Their work forces us to think critically about what it means when the clinical tools of real-world killing become forms of consumer play.

Dir. Roger Stahl, 2011, 44 mins.

Registration recommended.

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Thursday, August 18th, 8-8:25pm > Art≠Terrorism

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Image courtesy of The Sanctuary for Independent Media. Photo: Jon Flanders, 2008.

Hudson Mohawk Independent Media Center has produced a definitive account of the whirlwind of events surrounding Wafaa Bilal’s controversial art exhibit, Virtual Jihadi. ArtTerrorism goes beyond the sound bites to find out what happened when an Iraqi artist came to Troy, NY only to be censored—not once, but twice. First, Wafaa Bilal was chased off campus after his artwork was mis-characterized as terrorist propaganda by undergraduate bloggers. When the exhibition was given refuge by The Sanctuary for Independent Media, the city government responded by shutting down the space.

Hudson Mohawk Independent Media Center, 2008, 23 mins.

Registration recommended.

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Saturday, August 27th, 10am-5pm > Bookbinding

Carolyn Qualle

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Image courtesy of Carolyn Qualle.

We will begin this workshop by briefly exploring examples of portable personal books, from medieval daybooks to contemporary sketch and travel journals. We will then dive into folding, cutting, and sewing to make a sturdy portable book for you to take home, ready to receive a range of mediums such as pen, pencil, or watercolour. Constructed using historical sewing methods and waxed threads, your multi-section, non-adhesive book will lie flat when open. All materials will be provided. Participants must be a minimum of 14 years old.

Registration essential.