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December 6, 2012


In December 2012, SBC launched its new initiative of long-term, research-based programming that focuses on pertinent cultural, social and political issues. Over the first 2 years of the new program the topic of study is sovereignty, with questions around the sovereign subject at the heart of the research. Approaching the topic from a wide range of cultural, academic, institutional, geo-political and judicial perspectives, we are looking at practices that address current and historical civic challenges to systems of governance; at questions of sovereignty from a global perspective – addressing questions pertinent across Canada and elsewhere - and more generally the 2012-2014 program brings together artists and other interdisciplinary practitioners from around the globe whose interests lie in worrying the fault lines of seemingly entrenched parameters of political life. The program includes exhibitions, workshops, screenings, conferences, publications and events for sustained discussion around the subject. It hopes to explore the possibilities for socially engaged art's operation outside of common political constraints and what that might mean.


For this first focus research program on sovereignty, SBC offers the platform to a number of artists and other thinkers, inviting them to put forward analysis, pose questions, articulate possibilities for creative action and to re-assess the complexities of present-day political paradigms. Among other topics, the program addresses pressing concerns about the recent wave of alternative strategies for attaining change in urban centres like Cairo, New York, Montréal, Mexico City and the ongoing struggles in the Middle East, in Latin America and elsewhere in the world. Research takes into account the widespread uncertainty about the efficacy of established strategies for governance, the reliability of the media and the changes in accountability in all political forums – ‘democratic’ and other – with the impact of the new social-media ‘witness’.


While artists have always created work that reflects the conditions of the world around them, today politics and an inherently interdisciplinary approach lie at the heart of the most important international cultural production. SBC aims to provide a forum in which to explore strategies of political action that have been generated by cultural, youth, labour, immigrant, feminist and other political movements both historically – often under the banner of decolonization or emancipation – and today. In its commitment to foster and represent creative contemporary cultural practices, in 2012-2014 SBC invites local and international artists, filmmakers, art historians, activists, sociologists, architects, political analysts, human rights practitioners and theorists and law specialists, among others, to contribute to the debate. 



The 2012-2014 project proposes a far-ranging inquiry into questions around the sovereign subject in light of accepted notions of citizenry and of orthodox state/subject power relations. SBC will work closely with artists and others whose practices relate to the geo-political and juridical construct of the sovereign - a paradoxical notion at best - as it is employed globally. According to the UNHCR there are over 10 million refugees and over 12 million displaced or stateless persons in the world. What impact does this necessarily have on accepted notions of sovereignty? What legal role do these non-citizens play? Can the new territorial occupation of the non-citizens of the world offer anything like the basis for a constructive way of thinking political action and conceptualization of pertinence, or rather, ‘pertaining to’ a place or language or community? What are the rights of the non-citizen when the discourse of human rights is hinged on birthplace and nationality? What is the role of the International court in relation to the human rights of non-citizens? How does the legal panorama need to change? In what ways are governing bodies’ policies constrained by linguistic, geographical and juridical limits or frames?


The topic of sovereignty will be addressed through clustered and overlapping research in the areas of language, territory, governance, representation, the institution and the law. The sovereign self lies at the heart of the research. The exhibitions, workshops, talks, screenings and other events organized by SBC – and in collaboration with other venues and spaces throughout the city, across Canada and internationally – will seek to foster engaged publics and to provide opportunities for sustained intensive discussion around subjects which are enormously pressing in the world we occupy.


Pip Day, Director/Curator


February 28, 2015 to April 25, 2015
Curator: el instituto




Curator: Pip Day

December 6, 2014 - February 14, 2015


Pablo Sigg

Curator: Pip Day

November 25 - November 29, 2014



Participants: Jo Randerson (playwright), Paul Leong (investment banker), Ybodon (computer scientist), Anna Heymowska (set designer), Johan Hjerpe (graphic designer) and Gerard Harris (actor)

Collaboration: La Biennale de Montréal, BNLMTL 2014, The future (looking forward)

September 27 - November 22, 2014


Sarah pierce

Participant: Thomas Dalbec

Curator: Pip Day

May 10 - June 28, 2014


Basil AlZeri, Daina Ashbee, Maggie Groat, Susan Hiller, Maria Hupfield, Tiziana La Melia, Tanya Lukin Linklater, Annie MacDonell, Gabrielle Moser and Chelsea Vowel

Curator: cheyanne turions

March 15 - May 3, 2014


Participants: Pablo de Ocampo, Andrea Geyer, Sharon Hayes, Maria Hupfield, Adam Kinner & Jacob Wren, Dorit Margreiter, Jeanne Randolph, Monique Régimbald-Zeiber, Anne-Marie St-Jean Aubre, cheyanne turions

Curator: Barbara Clausen

November 30, 2013 - February 22, 2014


Trevor Paglen

Curator: Paul Wombell

13th Month of Photography in Montreal

September 7 to November 9, 2013


Dustin Wilson, Zacharias Kunuk, Peter Pitseolak / Joanasie Salamonie

Curator: Sarah Watson

May 23 - July 6, 2013


Harun Farocki, Hito Steyerl

Curator: Pip Day

February 28-May 11, 2013


Yael Bartana, Bertolt Brecht, François Bucher, Sophie Castonguay, Angela Melitopoulos & Maurizio Lazzarato

Curator: Pip Day

December 6, 2012 - February 16, 2013

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