an investigative photo documentary

Exclusive 22-page photo essay from our investigative journalist team in collaboration with award-winning photojournalist Johan Hallberg-Campbell. Location: Toronto, Canada Copyright Wondereur 2017.

MEET with artist Charles Stankievech curated by influential art critic Sarah Milroy.

Intro charles
1
CAN MACHINES HAVE ETHICS OR FEELINGS? WHAT IS SENTIENT AND WHAT IS NOT?
2
Science fiction is inherently a philosophical genre. And for me, it became a way to ask political questions.
3
THAT’S HOW I GOT OBSESSED WITH IT.
4
IT ALLOWS ME TO ASK LARGE QUESTIONS AND THINK THEM THROUGH.
5
6
As a small child, coming from a religious tradition, I had always been educated in asking these metaphysical questions.
7
I had a little laboratory that my parents built off of a closet — kind of a secret room. It was an attic space, but we called it ‘The Lab’ and I could conduct experiments in it. I actually started in physics before I studied philosophy. I was interested in string theory and particle physics.
8
WHY IS SOMETHING HERE? FROM THE SPIRITUAL LEVEL DOWN TO PARTICLE PHYSICS, THERE WAS ALWAYS THIS MASSIVE QUESTION.
9
There’s one pivotal moment that happened in the last year of my undergraduate English and philosophy degree. I had an artist friend who filmed me as I was doing a psychological experiment using psychoactive drugs. The whole performance took place in the back of a large metal moving truck that I turned into a floating sensory deprivation chamber. We were in a religious university, so it caused quite a scene.
10
THAT’S WHEN I STARTED TO SEE ART AS A UNIQUE WAY TO LOOK AT THINGS AND ENGAGE AN AUDIENCE.
11
12
I moved to the Yukon in 2007 to be part of a small team of six that would start an art school, bringing together the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in sovereign government, Yukon College and the local arts community.
13
Being there for five years opened me up to so many critical issues, such as the land, geopolitical, post-colonial issues, all these really, really important issues that need to be talked about.
14
IT CHANGED ME INCREDIBLY, AS A HUMAN BEING AND AS AN ARTIST.
15
Making a work about a place, there’s no set formula. You need to make sense of where you are and participate in that.
16
Not everything can be instrumentalized; you can’t just use anything that you want, any story you want, any type of people you want. These places are all embedded in a community, and they have a history, and one needs to be respectful of that.
17
THE ETHICS OF A PLACE IS IMPORTANT. IT’S NOT JUST A LOCATION.
18
When creating a place-specific piece, you have to learn how to make work anew each time. That’s a real joy as much as a challenge.
19
I actually rarely make objects. And so anytime an object manifests, it’s usually out of a much larger research project. In using different styles, genres, and mediums, I want to make short-circuits, create a direct contact with an audience, that allows for an affective, emotional, aesthetic kind of response right away.
20
It’s not just about thinking. It’s more about coming into an artwork and having certain visceral experiences, certain preconceived notions that are being played with, accepted and pushed.
21
THEN YOU CAN PULL SOMEONE A LITTLE DEEPER DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE AND DEEPER QUESTIONS CAN BE EXPLORED.