Category: Talks and Presentations (Page 1 of 6)

Reblog: Behind the lens with Sunil Gupta

Meet the photographer who captures queer life around the world

January 25, 2021 | By Richard Burnett, BA 88

Subject reclining on a sofa dressed in a sari, gazing at the camera defiantly.

Sunil Gupta’s landmark career retrospective runs at The Photographers’ Gallery in London until February 21, 2021. | “Untitled #13,” 2008, from The New Pre-Raphaelites series, courtesy of Sunil Gupta and Hales Gallery, Stephen Bulger Gallery and Vadehra Art Gallery.

They say every picture tells a story, but Sunil Gupta, BComm 77, the revered gay Indian-Canadian photographer, changed the game when he failed to see his life reflected in visual media growing up.

portrait of Sunil Gupta siting beside a poster from a 1983 exhibition of his work. From Here to Eternity is the first major career retrospective of U.K.-based photographer Sunil Gupta, BComm 77.

Born in New Delhi in 1953, Gupta arrived in Montreal with his family in 1969, the year of the Stonewall Riots. He originally studied to become an accountant but opened many eyes — including his own — when he switched gears to become one of India’s best-known photographers.

Gupta embraced gay life in the heady days of 1970s gay liberation, moving to New York City in 1976 where he studied photography at the Parsons School of Design, then to London, United Kingdom, where he earned a master’s in photography at the Royal College of Art.

Gupta set out to break barriers with his socially-engaged work — his photographs can be found in collections around the world, including at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Tate in London, the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography and the National Gallery of Canada.

Gupta’s landmark career retrospective From Here to Eternity runs at The Photographers’ Gallery in London until February 21, 2021, before opening at the Ryerson Image Centre in Toronto in fall 2021.  

Sunil Gupta, BComm 77

“In this era of fake news, documenting our lives is more important than ever,” says the Concordia grad. | “India Gate,” 1987, from the Exiles series, courtesy of Sunil Gupta and Hales Gallery, Stephen Bulger Gallery and Vadehra Art Gallery.

What was it like being a queer teen in Montreal just after Stonewall?

Sunil Gupta: The main issue back then was coming out — and you started with your parents. So that’s what I did. I was 16 or 17, I was very young and very confident. I came home one day and announced it to them. We never really discussed it again but when I studied at Concordia’s Sir George Williams Campus, I shared a flat with my sister on Stanley Street and lived a very out existence in what used to be the Gay Village downtown. My apartment was popular with my gay friends because it was so central and my parents never made a fuss about it.

How did you deal with racism in a predominantly white queer community?

SG: It was very ethnically divided and full of European ethnicities. The groups were quite rigid. I didn’t have a group; it was just me. But I had embraced a very gay identity from the word go. It was much more useful to me at 17 to be gay than to be Indian.

How important is it for you to document queer life?

SG: In the mid-1980s I became very conscious that there were hardly any gay men of colour in visual media. They were not in art history. They weren’t in the academic world. They certainly were not in the photo world. There were almost never any gay men of colour appearing in centrefolds. This motivated me to portray queer people of colour in my work.

I also thought for years that my migration experience was about departure from India. I left a very complex, interesting place and arrived somewhere completely unknown. That’s what I’ve always been trying to excavate. What I’ve come to appreciate more recently is that my journey is really more about an arrival, more about landing in Canada where I found a new identity. That’s what’s really been my driving factor, what’s driven all the work and made me who I am.

Is photography still important?

SG: In this era of fake news, documenting our lives is more important than ever. I never tire of a good photo of an arresting moment. You can hang it on a wall and look at it again and again. That’s why I think people still love my “Christopher Street” and “Friends and Lovers: Coming Out in Montreal in the 1970s” series.

How did your time at Concordia help shape you?

SG: It was a positive experience that set a pattern that continues and is still relevant to my life: being a freelancer. I never had the luxury or the complacency of just going to school and not worrying about money. During school I either worked or studied part-time. But I have very good memories of Montreal.

Practices of Projection: Histories and Technologies – Book Launch

Date & Time: Wednesday 9 December, 16.00-18.00 (GMT)

Book launch: Practices of Projection: Histories and Technologies (eds. Gabriel Menotti and Virginia Crisp)

The Department of Culture, Media and Creative Industries at King’s College London has the pleasure of hosting a launch of the collection published by the Oxford University Press on Wednesday 9th December 2020.

To many, the technological aspects of projection often go unnoticed, only brought to attention during moments of crisis or malfunction. For example, when a movie theatre projector falters, the audience suddenly looks toward the back of the theatre to see a sign of mechanical failure. The history of cinema similarly shows that the attention to projection has been most focused when the whole medium is hanging in suspension. During Hollywood’s economic consolidation in the ’30s, projection defined the ways that sync-sound technologies could be deployed within the medium. Most recently, the digitization of cinema repeated this process as technology was reworked to facilitate mobility. These examples show how projection continually speaks to the rearrangement of media technology. Projection, therefore, needs to be examined as a pivotal element in the future of visual media’s technological transition.

In Practices of Projection: Histories and Technologies, volume editors Gabriel Menotti and Virginia Crisp address the cultural and technological significance of projection. Throughout the volume, chapters reiterate that projection cannot, and must not, be reduced to its cinematic functions alone. Borrowing media theorist Siegfried Zielinksi’s definition, Menotti and Crisp refer to projection as the “heterogeneous array of artefacts, technical systems, and particularly visual praxes of experimentation and of culture.” From this, readers can understand the performative character of the moving image and the labour of the different actors involved in the utterance of the film text. Projection is not the same everywhere, nor equal all the time. Its systems are in permanent interaction with environmental circumstances, neighbouring structures, local cultures, and social economies. Thus the idea of projection as a universal, fully autonomous operation cannot hold. Each occurrence of projection adds nuance to a wider understanding of film screening technologies.


Gabriel Menotti (Lecturer in Film Editing & Multimedia, Federal University of Espírito Santo) and Virginia Crisp (Lecturer in Cultural & Creative Industries, King’s College London) and other contributors, including Leila Sujir, PI and Director of Elastic Spaces.


LASER 9 Forests Drawing Close

LASER 9 Hexagram Montréal

Leila Sujir and Jorge Zavagno will talk about the development of a series of video projects focusing on the old-growth forests, collaboration with the community in their practice, and the possibilities brought by considering walking rather than seated viewers. The monumental scale of the video projections and the “elastic depth” of the 3D images render the work immersive, integrating the spectators’ corporal movements into its reception.

Free online video conferencing via Hexagram’s YouTube Channel or directly on Hexagram’s Interdisciplinary SummitWeb platform.

In English| Free

This edition of the LASER series proposes to build on current artistic, anthropological, architectural and scientific research about forest ecosystems for enriching discussions about biodiversity and creativity. Forest agencies of humans and more-than-humans point to manifold affordances, combining their inner and outer workings to inhabit convergent worlds. The speakers will discuss the following topics : visualizing respect and memory of old-growth forests with high-definition video and stereoscopic technologies (Sujir and Zavagno), deciphering the inner network of tree sap flow functions with 3D microscopic imagery in periods of drought (Lourenço) as well as recent trends in architectural designs in Finland pointing to the resurgence of wood, a qualitative housing endeavour to kindle the senses (Howes).

Through the interplay of sensing bodies and technologies, Forests Drawing Close will be an encounter with conditions of proximity about tree relations, up close and afar.

This LASER edition is presented in the context of Hexagram’s 1st Interdisciplinary Summit Web Platform entitled Sympoietics : The Sharing of Agency and Autonomy. (

International Image Festival of Manizales

The 18th International Images Festival of Manizales in Colombia invited Santiago Tavera in collaboration with textile and performance artist Laura Acosta, and civil engineer and media artist Milton Riaño to develop an experimental workshop in June 10th, 2019.  This workshops invited artists and researchers to collaborate on a series of 360° video productions using Virtual Reality (VR) technologies, interactive motion interfaces and live image alterations. This projects explored the expanded body as a virtual cyborg – a being composed of artificial and human components. Through cross-discipline interactions between bodies, spaces and digital media, the project investigated the effects these connections have on social and personal processes of identification and representation.

Furthermore on June 14th, Santiago Tavera and Laura Acosta gave an artist talk on their collaborative project, The Novels of Elsgüer, which has recently been exhibited in Montreal at Articule and in Colombia at the Cultural Center Rogelio Salmona in 2018. Their participation in this international festival has been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.

Artist Talk through the Arctic Circle

Artist and professor, Paul Landon, was recently invited to present Elastic Spaces’ incorporation of indigenous knowledge into our teaching and research, more specifically during our most recent collaboration with the Pacheedaht community on the West coast of Canada. This talk was given on a bus from Rovaniemi to Lake Inari, Finland,  during the Land of Midnight Sun- Bridging event / Field Trip to Inari on June 1st, 2019.

Reblog: Climate Clock | Damon Matthews

From December 5 to 7, 2018, the Climate Clock was projected at the corner of De Maisonneuve Boulevard and MacKay Street, thanks in part to Elastic Spaces member,  Damon Matthews, professor in the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment and Concordia Research Chair in Climate Science and Sustainability.

The Climate Clock is a visualization tool developed by Matthews and David Usher, founder of the Human Impact Lab. It harnesses data, art, technology and interactivity to add to the conversation about climate change. “If greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase, we will reach 1.5°C of global warming in less than 16 years. This is the direction we’re headed right now, but it’s important to stress that this is not the direction we need to take,” Matthews says. “There are actions all of us can take to reduce our carbon emissions and add time to the clock.” The projection of the clock coincided with COP 24, a United Nations climate change conference in Poland. The event also marked the release of new data about carbon emissions, to be published by the Global Carbon Project.

For more information, check out the link below!

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