Under the Beating Sun, From Summer to Summer

Jean Routhier.  Anecdotes.  2019. Soundwalks through the neighbourhood.

Jean Routhier. Anecdotes. 2019. Soundwalks through the neighbourhood.


Under the Beating Sun, From Summer to Summer is a curatorial series presented by Far Afield at Access Gallery’s PLOT space in Vancouver, British Columbia. The project will explore the relationship between sound and energy on a rapidly heating west coast through a consideration of two Summerlands: Summerland, British Columbia, and Summerland, California.

This project has been generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, British Columbia Arts Council, and Access Gallery.

Curated by Caitlin Chaisson.

Ruth Beer | Ursula Biemann | Tobias Ewé | Curtis Grahauer | Stephanie LeMenager | Renée Reizman | Jean Routhier | Jayce Salloum | Charisma Christal Thomas | Elia Vargas | Laurie White | Paul Wong

Visit the Project PLOT@ Access Gallery. 222 E. Georgia Street, Vancouver, BC.


Curatorial Statement

Summerland, British Columbia / Syilx Territory | Summerland, California / Chumash Territory | by way of Vancouver, British Columbia / Coast Salish Territory (Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh)

Far Afield is pleased to present Under the Beating Sun, From Summer to Summer, a collaborative and interdisciplinary project that explores the relationship between sound and energy on a rapidly heating west coast through a consideration of two “Summerlands.” 

Summerland, British Columbia lies in the heart of the Okanagan, which is one of the warmest and driest ecoregions in Canada. Summerland, California lies on the edge of Santa Barbara, the site of the first offshore oil wells and the—now inactive—Summerland Oil Field. Despite the distance between them, the two namesakes share many climactic and environmental characteristics. Both Summerlands experience high summer temperatures, droughts, fires, and their arid climates are very susceptible to the effects of global warming. Attentive to these resonances, each Summerland offers a unique opportunity to think critically about the relationship between land use, colonization, resource extraction, water, and their sonic implications. 

The project invites both international and rurally-based professionals to convene in Vancouver in order to engage in collaborative discovery and interdisciplinary research, whilst inviting the wider public to participate in shaping an understanding of important regional and global issues. From the Okanagan to coastal California, and beyond, specialists including curators, artists, and theorists, will contribute to the dialogue around resource use, land practices, and the increasingly warming world. Talks, artist projects, and screenings of work by Ruth Beer, Ursula Biemann, Tobias Ewé, Curtis Grahauer, Stephanie LeMenager, Renée Reizman, Jean Routhier, Jayce Salloum, Charisma Christal Thomas, Elia Vargas, Laurie White, and Paul Wong, will bring a number of diverse perspectives and responses to light. 

[Left] Summerland, BC. c. 1908. Courtesy of the Summerland Museum and Archives Society, Summerland, BC. [Right] Ocean Wells at Summerland, California, on a Road of a Thousand Wonders. c. 1910. Image found on eBay.

[Left] Summerland, BC. c. 1908. Courtesy of the Summerland Museum and Archives Society, Summerland, BC. [Right] Ocean Wells at Summerland, California, on a Road of a Thousand Wonders. c. 1910. Image found on eBay.

Artist Biographies

Ruth Beer’s interdisciplinary artistic research is informed by the social sciences and humanities within the expanded field of contemporary art and media. Working across sculpture, experimental and documentary video, woven structures/textiles, and sound, her research-creation practice engages with issues of cultural and ecological impacts of resource industry expansion within culturally diverse communities—in particular, rural Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in Canada’s northern regions. Beer’s work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in national and international museums and galleries including the Vancouver Art Gallery, Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver), VIVO Media Arts Centre (Vancouver), Haida Gwaii Museum (Skidegate), Kimura Gallery (Anchorage), Two Rivers Gallery (Prince George), The Reach Museum (Abbotsford), Bellevue Museum, Nordic House (Iceland), Surrey Art Gallery, Audain Art Museum (Whistler), among others.    

Ursula Biemann is an artist, writer, and video essayist based in Zürich, Switzerland. Her artistic practice is strongly research oriented and involves fieldwork in remote locations where she investigates climate change and the ecologies of oil and water, as in her recent projects Acoustic Ocean (2018), Forest Law (2014), and Deep Weather (2013). She is co-founder of World of Matter, an online collective art and media platform on resource geographies. Her video installations are exhibited worldwide in museums and at international biennials in Liverpool, Sharjah, Shanghai, Sevilla, Istanbul, Montréal, Venice, and São Paulo. She had comprehensive solo exhibitions at Neuer Berliner Kunstverein and Helmhaus Zürich, among others. Biemann received the 2009 Prix Meret Oppenheim, the Swiss Grand Award for Art, and a honorary degree in humanities from the Swedish University in Umeå.

Tobias Ewé is a sound artist and theorist. He is writing a Ph.D. on xenophonia in the Department of Art History, Visual Art & Theory at University of British Columbia in Vancouver. His research focuses on psychoacoustics in the sonic arts as the crossroads between vibrational inhumanism and speculative aesthetics that destabilise the human sensorium. His most recent work appears in Handbook of the Anthropology of Sound (2019), ed Holger Schulze, London: Bloomsbury; Xenofeminisme: En politik for fremmedgørelse (2018[2015]), by Laboria Cuboniks, trans. Tobias Ewé, Copenhagen: Passive/Aggressive. He is a founding member of the Research in Art & Media collective, and University of Copenhagen's Sound & Senses Research Group along with more occulted patchworks of online research.

Curtis Grahauer completed his MFA in Interdisciplinary Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2015. His recent exhibitions include As far upriver as you can go before having to switch to a pole at ODD Gallery in Dawson City, A Dark Shape on the Horizon at the Arts Council of New Westminster, and Floodplain at Dynamo Arts Association in Vancouver. In 2016, he was shortlisted for the The Lind Prize in photography, and presented his short film Tidal Pool for Platforms: Coastal City, a public art project for the City of Vancouver. He has participated in residencies in Dawson City, Reykjavík, and Sointula, and currently lives in Kelowna, British Columbia.

Stephanie LeMenager's work on climate change and the humanities has been featured in The New York Times, ClimateWire, Science Friday, CBC, e-flux architecture, and other public venues. She is Barbara and Carlisle Moore Professor of  English and Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Oregon, where she co-directs the Center for Environmental Futures with Professor Marsha Weisiger. Her publications include the books Living Oil: Petroleum Culture in the American Century, which defines the Twentieth Century United States as the era of "petromodernity," and Teaching Climate Change in the Humanities, a co-authored collection for teachers interested in bringing climate change into humanities classrooms. Her current book projects include To Speak of Common Places, an oral history of Oregon's public lands, and a meditation on rural American life in the shadow of climate change.

Renée Reizman is an interdisciplinary curator, artist and writer at the crossroads of curation, social practice, and critical spatial practice. She conducts long-term research to examine cultural aesthetics and their relationship between urbanization, law, and technology. Renée embeds herself in communities to identify object-oriented networks that shape culture and society. She holds an MFA in Critical and Curatorial Studies from University of California, Irvine.

Jean Routhier has a sound-based practice that comprises soundwalks, manipulated field recordings, acousmatic works, live performances and installations. Interested in the fleeting, the gaps and the in-betweens, the silences as well as the physical and emotional reactions to listening, Routhier's productions challenge our common expectations of what can be musical. Among his recent projects include an intimate performance piece entitled The Voyage (with Carey Dodge), which premiered on Granville Island in Vancouver during Boca del Lupo's micro-performance series; Une Suite de Temps-Mort: Nelson_R.Y. at Open Space Gallery (Victoria, 2014); Une Suite de Temps-Mort: Iona at LoCoMoto Art’s performance and exhibition event Oscillations (Vancouver, 2015); a series of soundwalks commissioned by Vancouver New Music for ISEA 2015; and a musical performance with Stefan Smulovitz for the opening of the exhibition Thrift Shop Sunshine People at Interurban Gallery (Vancouver, 2015).

Jayce Salloum tends to go only where he is invited, or where there is an intrinsic affinity. His projects are rooted in an intimate engagement with place(s) and the people that inhabit them. A grandson of Syrian immigrants from the Beqaa Valley (Lebanon), he was born and raised on Sylix (Okanagan) territory in Kelowna, British Columbia. After 22 years living and working in San Francisco, Banff, Toronto, San Diego, Beirut, and New York, he is now based on the unceded Xwmetskwíyem/xʷməθkʷey̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh/sqʷx̌ʷoʔməx (Squamish) + Selíl̓witulh/səíl̓wətaʔł (Tsleil-Waututh) land of “Vancouver.” His artworks engage the personal/subjective, reconfiguring notions of identity, community, history, boundaries, exile, (trans/inter/intra)nationalism, and resistance. His work has taken him to Afghanistan, Lebanon, Palestine, former Yugoslavia, Europa, Central America, Mexico, Columbia, Ecuador, Kamloops, Cumberland House, Aotearoa, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Philippines, and Australia. He has exhibited in local and international venues, from unnamed storefronts to the Musée du Louvre, Museum of Modern Art, Guggenheim Museum, Centre Georges Pompidou, National Gallery of Canada, Bienal De La Havana, Sharjah Biennial, Biennale of Sydney and the Rotterdam International Film Festival. He is represented by MKG127 (Toronto) and Mónica Reyes Gallery (Vancouver).

Charisma Christal Thomas is an illustrator and printmaker who is currently pursuing her BFA at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Charisma’s artistic approach is influenced by her Malaysian-Indian heritage and upbringing, drawing together the traditional practices of her homeland with those from elsewhere. Her love for nature often inspires her work, which highlights the beauty that lies within it. She recently illustrated the children’s book A Crystal Named Forest by Jonathan Segal, which centres around the importance of preserving nature.

Elia Vargas is an Oakland-based, globally-situated, artist, curator, and scholar. He works across multiple mediums, including video, sound, projection, writing, and performance. He is co-founder of the Living Room Light Exchange, a monthly salon on new media art and digital culture, and a Ph.D. candidate in Film and Digital Media at University of California, Santa Cruz. Vargas has a long history of community radio broadcasting and place-based projects following an interest in transmission and human/non-human cultural formulation. He collaborates widely with artists, musicians, and institutions. His current work argues for refiguring crude oil as media.

Laurie White is a curator and writer from Sheffield, England, currently based in Vancouver. She holds an MA in Critical & Curatorial Studies from the University of British Columbia. Her thesis exhibition project at Or Gallery, We Built a House Out of the Things We Had Gathered (2018), explored salvage and bricolage as modes of ecological practice in contemporary art. She is currently the Assistant Curator at the Or Gallery.

Paul Wong is a media-maestro, making art for site-specific spaces and screens of all sizes. He is an award-winning artist and curator known for pioneering early visual and media art in Canada, founding several artist-run groups, leading public arts policy, and organizing events, festivals, conferences, and public interventions since the 1970s. Born in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, in 1954, Wong has shown and produced projects throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. His works are in public collections including those of the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa), Museum of Modern Art (New York), Canada Council Art Bank (Ottawa), and Vancouver Art Gallery. He is in numerous private collections and is the recipient of several major commissions and grants.


Public Events

Throughout June and July, weekly events will be taking place both online and at Access Gallery’s PLOT space in Vancouver. A full list of programming, including dates, times, and ways to attend will be updated regularly on the events page

PLOT @ Access Gallery. 222 E. Georgia Street, Vancouver.

Download the press release here.

Warnings posted in the Okanagan: rattlesnakes, trespassing, surveillance, exhaust. 2017.

Warnings posted in the Okanagan: rattlesnakes, trespassing, surveillance, exhaust. 2017.