In November 2016, Joyce Campbell treated us to a discussion about fantasies of the future, and what they contribute to the larger dialogue when they’re optimistic or pessimistic.

The realm of fantasy is a space for us to imagine possibilities that seem beyond our reach. Fantastical ideas are exciting and tantalizing, especially to artists. Imagining something new and outside the constructs of the real world is liberating. It can also be used as a clever vehicle for the expression of controversial or subversive topics through allegory. And as we enter into a tumultuous and uncertain period, this approach may be needed more then ever.

Our speaker for November is someone very familiar with this technique. Joyce Campbell is an interdisciplinary artist whose work utilizes anachronistic photographic techniques such as daguerreotype and ambrotype, as well as conventional analogue and digital photography, video, film and sculpture. Using these tools, Joyce examines the collision of natural and cultural systems, and explores the play of raw perception against interpretation.

A dual citizen of the United States and New Zealand, Joyce feels intensely the volatility of the current political moment. And with a residency in California on the cards in the near future, she is fully grounded in the many issues that have been thrown up by the recent election, and wonders how to best deal with these issues. She questions whether the current preference for artists work to have a positive, ultimately redemptive arc is valuable. Or is it better to lean in to the darkness, and just maybe stir up a revolution?

About the speaker

During the past 20 years, Joyce has made projects in Antarctica, Los Angeles and her hometown, Wairoa, culminating in her nomination for this year’s Walters Prize, New Zealand’s largest contemporary art prize, for Flightdream II, a work fusing science fiction and video to reflect on people’s interaction with volatile and hostile environments in the process of transformation.

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