Mise au monde
From January 11 to February 17, 2018
Opening on January 11 at 7 pm
Production-dissemination residency in collaboration with PRIM
Since 2012 I have been working on a thematic archive on the social history of the beluga whale. The materials in this archive-artwork, made up of diverse data, photographs, videos and recreations, and including both archival images and images I have shot, are regularly remixed and rearranged to produce new works.
The video essay made during the PRIM-Dazibao production-dissemination residency is part of this process and expands upon connections developed during recent artist residencies in Russia, Anticosti and other places where beluga whales can be found. The project provides a mental image of a nursery of beluga whales, an image derived from the struggles of ecologists near Cacouna to protect a birthing site threatened by oil companies’ underwater drilling machines. Given the absence of images that depict this birthing site, the essay has become a way of making it exist. Using a number of points of view, I have composed the narrative of a gestation, based on a story told by a truck driver transporting a beluga whale. The piece functions in a non-linear manner across several places and times corresponding to the beluga’s birth and death.
Mise au monde was born of the desire to create an essay around the cinéma direct masterpiece Pour la suite du monde (Moontrap, NFB, 1962), directed by Michel Brault, Marcel Carrière and Pierre Perrault. This film, which brought Québec into the modern era, documents the last capture of a beluga whale in Québec and shows the know-how involved in this pursuit commonly practised by the inhabitants of Isle-aux-Coudres. Pour la suite du monde shows the entire journey, from the place the whale is captured to where it is relocated; the New York Aquarium. Starting from Québec’s North Shore, I tried to relive this transport with a sculpture in white marble representing a beluga’s dorsal fin. Following this simulation, I continued my research in Russia, the last country to capture beluga whales for aquariums. There I followed the route of a beluga whale truck driver, adding four places and an equal number of parallel stories, enriching the narrative of the video essay.
— M. G.
Maryse Goudreau works with images, photographic archives and participatory art, and has developed over a number of years thematic archives that provide a range of sociological, political and anthropological perspectives. Adopting a resolutely hybrid approach, she seeks to free the images from their static relations with official history. In 2015, she took the first step towards an art with social ends with Festival du tank d’Escuminac – première et dernière édition. In 2017, she became the first recipient of the Lynne-Cohen award, offered in partnership with the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec. Solo exhibitions of her work have been held at venues including VU, centre de production et de diffusion de la photographie (Québec City) and at Séquence in the Centre Bang (Chicoutimi). Since 2015, her work has been included in group shows such as Ignition at the Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery (Montréal) and She Photographs at the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, as well as in an exhibition organised by Occurrence bringing together several Québec photographers at the Museo de la Cancillería (Mexico City). Maryse Goudreau lives and works in Escuminac in the Gaspé region of Québec.
The artist thanks the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, Dazibao, PRIM, SPAR – St. Petersburg Art Residency and Résidence Nomade (Anticosti Island) for their support, as well as all those near or far who contributed to this project.
Dazibao thanks the artist and PRIM for their generous collaboration as well as it members for their support.
Dazibao receives financial support from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des arts de Montréal, the ministère de la Culture et des Communications and the Ville de Montréal.