Space Case

FASA Kicks Off Its First Lecture Series

Over the next few weeks, the Fine Arts Student Alliance will be hosting a lecture series that offers a discussion on identity and its relationship to the external world.

This is a new endeavour from FASA, a student association that funds small-scale projects, facilitates the creation of student clubs and provides funding for existing initiatives such as Art Matters, Café X, the Fine Arts Reading Room and the VAV Gallery.

“This is the first year of the lecture series,” said Jesse Cumming, media relations coordinator for the event entitled I Would Like To Answer Your Question, But The Truth Is I Just Don’t Know.

“What is interesting about [the lecture series] is that, contrary to what one might think, our understanding and idea for the series has gotten ever more broad and open with time, as opposed to becoming more clearly defined,” said Cumming. “The more the producers discussed, the more we learned how varied and subjective conceptions of space can be.”

I Would Like To Answer Your Question, But The Truth Is I Just Don’t Know will explore the ways in which we are affected by the world around us. The lecture series was motivated by a collective curiosity in our interactions with space and the possibility to change or transform it.

This Friday, the series kicks off with a lecture that will deal with the “human experience.” While this experience is surely as abstract as the endless space that extends beyond us, this event promises to “bring a diverse perspective into identity and its relationship to the external world,” said Cumming.

What’s refreshing about this lecture series is that it also offers lecturers who come from studies outside of the fine arts field.

“What is interesting about these events is that they vary from typical academia,” said Cumming. “While all speakers are extremely informed about the topics at hand, we can see the way that someone like Roadsworth takes his conceptual ideas and transplants them onto the physical world around us.”

Roadsworth is one of the featured speakers who will be discussing his practice on Jan. 28 following the screening of the acclaimed NFB film Roadsworth: Crossing the Line.

“I think that blurring the lines between what are thought to be conventional forums for expression is an extremely enlightening and stimulating concept,” noted Cumming.

This week’s lecture, entitled Semblance of Space, will focus on urban space and its relation to the individual experience.

“[Urban space is] such an integral part of our lives, but we can sometimes overlook and forget to inquire about our surroundings as much as we maybe should,” said Cumming.

The lecture will feature Erin Manning, Essam Hallak, Sha Xin Wei and jake moore. The panelists come from such diverse backgrounds as urban planning, philosophy and visual art.

“I think, personally, it’s not necessarily that there is a need for more art space in Montreal as much as we need to realize the unseen potential of space,” said Cumming. “There is no reason that an office building or store can’t exist as something much more. Take, for instance, the building in the Quartier des Spectacles that has been converted into a massive screen for various projections. I think that is a great example of re-imagining what can be seen as potential urban blight and turning it into something creative and interesting.”

I Would Like To Answer Your Question, But The Truth Is I Just Don’t Know allows room for discussion about the potential all around us. Our schools, our communities, our cities—these are spaces that we interact with on a day-to-day basis. Perhaps it’s time we start rethinking their purpose and usage and begin transforming them.

Semblance of Space will take place Jan. 21 at 4:30 p.m. at the York Amphitheatre (EV 1.615). The event will be followed by a wine and cheese reception. All the events are free of charge.

This article originally appeared in The Link Volume 31, Issue 19, published January 18, 2011.

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