Broadcasts from Here

Jan 22 — Apr 16, 2022



Broadcasts from Here was an exhibition that presented work by multidisciplinary artists Lex Brown and Geo Wyeth, who each respectively engage with broadcast mediums in their practices. The exhibition explored “broadcasting” as less a technical question of sending transmissions than a way of being in the world: a broadcaster subjectivity, which is always in one space performing for another. Following this line of inquiry, the exhibition questioned what forms, poetics, and idioms are available to think through such a multiply-emplaced subject. 

In Wyeth’s work, local histories, speculative narratives, and black hole stories intertwine in poetic performances and sound works. Muck Studies Dept. (2017–) is a fictive municipal agency whose protagonist gets in touch with what stinks beneath the surface. The project merges inherited Black Atlantic funk and folk poetics with techniques of investigative journalism, and connects mud, water, metal, gas, ass, rocks, coins, extractive industry, deep coloniality, and sensual expression of belonging. For Broadcasts from Here, Wyeth staged a site-specific iteration of the project. Creating work out of the gallery itself, Wyeth revealed hidden crawl spaces beneath Western Front by cutting two holes in the floorboards in the foyer and gallery. Covered by grates, these storm drain-sized holes contained debris, speakers emitting Wyeth’s audio works No Stars Found Waving Signs at Muck Studies Dept. (2021–22) and Not a Dime at Muck Studies Dept. w/ Wilma Subra (2021), and colour changing LEDs that illuminated the dirt floor of Western Front’s basement and the gallery walls. Signals from an FM transmitter in the basement were broadcasted through portable radios positioned in the gallery and foyer. Situated on a wooden chair, on the window ledge, on top of the mailbox, and dangling from the door handle, these radios brought Wyeth’s voice into these spaces from an elsewhere that was made fully present. 

In her thirty-minute video Communication (2021), Brown assumes multiple characters as parodic renderings of a fictional media conglomerate, Omnesia, and its next residential target for development, New Greater Framingham. The story begins in darkness, where unnamed characters watch a presentation at the planetarium about what happened to the stars—specifically, the people on Earth. Aspen Van Der Baas (a gen-something girlboss), Jordie (her tech bro analyst), and Sylvie (an impassive and sentient AI) use their extensive technological powers to displace the consumer-citizens of New Greater Framingham. Finding their strategies insufficient, they enlist the help of B. Marbels, a fast-talking, ambivalent film director who is tasked with creating plot holes, further confusing the minds of New Greater Framingham. To Omnesia’s chagrin, one such consumer-citizen, Marie, discovers the power of her inner voice to interfere with the algorithmic forces of Omnesia. These characters, the argots that they speak, and the scenarios they play out are reminiscent of the speculative fictions of the present, but Brown’s video also questions the way that speculation (as capital) and fiction (as a constructed narrative) work. Collapsing the space of stage performance, the language of cinematic narrative, and the logic of video art, Communication suggests the many ways that we are drawn, cajoled, and coerced into “the future,” at the expense of what—and who—exists here and now. 

Communication by Brown screened hourly, on the hour. Wyeth’s audio works, No Stars Found Waving Signs at Muck Studies Dept. (2021-22) and Not a Dime at Muck Studies Dept. w/ Wilma Subra (2021), were broadcast alternately on the half-hour. The exhibition also featured a performance by Wyeth during the opening reception, an artist talk from Brown, and an online talk from Bobbi Kozinuk. 

Curated by Susan Gibb and Becket MWN.

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Western Front is a non-profit
artist-run centre in Vancouver.

We acknowledge the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations as traditional owners of the land upon which Western Front stands.