Vancouver-based novelist, poet, musician and screenwriter, Michael Turner (of Hard Core Logo fame), has taken the post of Guest Curator at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and has orchestrated a LAB Gallery installation. Billed as an exploration of place, class, authenticity and belonging, this show investigates Victorias reputation as a destination for those seeking a proper English experience.
Integral to the exhibition is a 16-minute video, made in 1983 by Quebec filmmakers Robert Morin and Lorraine Dufour, about a real English woman being interviewed and hired as a tour guide at Anne Hathaways Cottage, a once popular Victoria attraction. There is also a table, chair and place setting from the Empress Hotels famous high-tea room, as well as Philip Francis collection of antique postcards featuring the Empress from 1900 to 1940. Turner also commissioned three artists, Raymond Boisjoly, Geoffrey Farmer and Julia Feyrer, to create postcards inspired by the video (for sale in the gallerys gift shop).
Turner writes, I found the Morin & Dufour video during a Western Front Media Residency in 2011, when I was researching video documentation of literary readings at the centres archive. I was familiar with the work of Morin & Dufour, just as I was familiar with the city of Victoria, having attended the University of Victoria between 1981 and 1986. After watching the video, I began to think about the city and my time there, as well as the artists trademark mix of fact and fiction. My thoughts expanded, and it occurred to me that this video might be something to build on, to form the centre of an exhibition.