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Downtowns exhibit coming (con't)

“Precarity is a precarious existence, lacking in predictability, job security, material or psychological welfare,” according to Wikipedia. 

“The social class defined by this condition has been termed the precariat.”

Indeed, there’s a whole body of scholarship built around understanding and analyzing the precariat.

Sort of like proletariat, which it resembles. 

Who knew?

AGW interim curator of contemporary art Jaclyn Meloche said the word precarious shows things on edge, which can define a community like Windsor or Detroit.

“I love the word precarious because it sort of means it’s something that’s not fixed, that’s not finite, and it has an uncertainty to it,” she says.

Here’s the pitch to artists: 

“The Downtown/s: Urban Renewal Today for Tomorrow, The 2017 Art Gallery of Windsor Triennial of Contemporary Art project is asking artists to consider the many ways in which they experience, understand and frame the notion of downtown within their community in all its locational precarity and multiplicities.”

As for “multiplicities” it has to do with differences in various downtowns, each highly unique from one another.

“There are multiple kinds of downtowns, there is not one kind of downtown,” Meloche says.

“Downtown in Vancouver is very different from a downtown in Ottawa which is very different from Windsor.” 

But let’s get back to the even stranger word “precarity.”

Windsor obviously is a good example of this.

“The class system (here) and the economic system is completely new to me,” she says.

“It’s a city that hasn’t recovered since 2008 in a way that other cities have.”

Windsor has class system?

Most definitely, she says.

“I guess I’m thinking of the particular area that I moved into in south Windsor, I cross a set of train tracks and literally on one side are beautiful brick homes and on the other side trailers.”

So, next year’s triennial will attempt to reflect these notions of downtowns and how they’ve been influenced by the economy.

Here’s how the museum puts it in its official call to artists: 

“The Downtown/s: Urban Renewal Today for Tomorrow, The 2017 Art Gallery of Windsor Triennial of Contemporary Art project is asking artists to consider the many ways in which they experience, understand and frame the notion of downtown within their community in all its locational precarity and multiplicities.”

As artists seek to interpret downtowns in Windsor, Detroit and southwestern Ontario – which form the boundaries of the exhibit - it will be a discovery for Meloche too.

The name Meloche might be the most common of local last names but the curator has no ties to the city, at least that she knows of.

She just moved here a couple of months ago after living in Ottawa.

“I don’t have any genealogical ties to Windsor,” she says.

So she, like the artists who will be contributing to the exhibit, will come to a fuller understanding of just how many other Meloches, who’ve lived here for decades, have long experienced the area.

WindsrOntarioNews.com









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