It was perfect timing that Maryse Goudreau, from Escuminac on the Gaspé coast and Montreal, Canada, came to Sackville to give an artist talk, just as we are getting into the exploratory project. I had seen her monograph, L’Appel, back in my undergrad, and was drawn to the way she used historical images alongside her own composed photographs to create new archives. Her recent work has continued along this route, but specifically looking at the social history of the beluga whale. This thematic archive-artwork employs diverse materials materials including; data, photographs, videos and recreations, and both archival images and images she has made. She uses this archive by remixing and rearranging it to produce new works.
Her talk focused on three projects, which were all at the heart, somewhat community based. She open talked about not wanting to be considered a social practice artist, but felt that her intended outcomes for her work, have always just manifested as public projects. She doesn’t set out with any particular goals in that respect, but her interests in history, memory and identity lead her to find groups of people to work with.
The blending of the real and the created to create a work is at the heart of what I am hoping to achieve with the exploratory project. Choosing a subject, exploring a populations connection to it and their memories that influence their understanding, leads to a new kind of archive.
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Maryse Goudreau is an artist, independent scholar and filmmaker working across photography, archives, video and participatory art. She offers a sociological, political and anthropological point of view that brings viewers to think about the importance of social history. She breathes new life into images of the past as a way of addressing current issues. Using a hybrid approach, she attempts to release images from their static relationship to an official history and create narrative, literary, pictorial and other types of spaces.