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Kara Springer and Christian Campbell: Translations

Translations is a multimedia collaboration between visual artist Kara Springer and poet and cultural critic Christian Campbell, integrating image, text and sound. Serving as a tribute to the late American artist Terry Adkins (1953 – 2014) as well as a response to the current exhibition The Unfinished Conversation: Encoding/Decoding, Translations addresses a range of issues including memory, the archive, aesthetics, and interdisciplinary practice.

Campbell will read new poems from a manuscript in progress that deeply engages with visual culture, including references to artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and musician Grace Jones as well as a group of rare 19th Century portraits of Haitian leaders. Ultimately, he describes this project as a lyric critique of ekphrasis, defined as the verbal representation of the visual.

Simultaneously, Springer will present work that explores erosion, decay and displacement as physical evidence of a process of exchange between humans and the physical world. These process-based works are an expression of what she calls “black minimalism”, troubling the idea of minimalism as devoid of social and cultural context, thus occupying a position of universal neutrality.

Remixing the poetry reading and the artist talk, Translations makes an intervention into a long tradition of collaboration between poets and visual artists in order to play with what it means to move across boundaries, both geographic and conceptual.

Kara Springer is an industrial designer and visual artist. Born in Bridgetown, Barbados, she currently lives and works between Toronto and Detroit. Her interdisciplinary practice explores the intersections of the body and industrial modes of production through sculpture, photography and designed objects. Springer completed a B.Sc Honours in Life Sciences from the University of Toronto concurrent to a B.Des. in Industrial Design from the Ontario College of Art & Design. In 2007, she received her M.A. in New Media and Contemporary Technology from the École nationale supérieure de creation industrielle in Paris. Her work has been exhibited at the Frankfurt Museum of Applied Arts, Germany (2006), Politecnico di Torino, Italy (2006), Cultural Centre of Belém, Portugal (2006), and the Jamaica Biennial (2014).

Christian Campbell is a Trinidadian-Bahamian poet, scholar and cultural critic. His widely acclaimed first book, Running the Dusk (Peepal Tree Press, 2010), won the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and was a finalist for the Forward Prize for the Best First Collection, among many other awards. Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa calls Running the Dusk “the gutsy work of a long-distance runner who possesses the wit and endurance, the staying power of authentic genius.” Running the Dusk has been translated into Spanish and will be published by Ediciones Santiago in Cuba in 2015. Campbell studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and teaches at the University of Toronto.

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