For his research residency at Artexte, Michael Blum will work with the periodicals in the collection and explore the space between fanzine and art magazine, between Xerox and offset. He will focus on publications, ranging from the 1960s to the 1980s, that are more or less DIY, hand-made or almost, produced with little or no financial support, and display aesthetics of social critique related to Fluxus, punk and comics.
His research is focused on Montreal, yet exploring concentric circles around the city : Québec, Canada, and North America. As the beginning of his research has shown, there is little difference between these locations though, all connected and aware of each other’s activities.
His interest is not only in the periodicals themselves, but also in how we perceive them today – how progressive, sometimes transgressive printed matter bearing witness to the free spirit of the time is seen from a digital age that has accomodated moral and political disaster.
Michael Blum is an artist born in Jerusalem, educated in Paris, based, among others, in Amsterdam and Vienna, before moving to Montreal in 2010, where he is a Professor at École des arts visuels et médiatiques (UQAM). His projects include Exodus 2048, which staged a possible future in the Middle East (Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, 2008, New Museum, New York, 2009), Our History || Notre histoire, a pair of mock national museums dedicated to the preservation and presentation of respectively Canadian and Québécois history and culture (Galerie de l’UQAM, Montreal, 2014), and Palazzo Chupi, an investigation of the relation between art and real estate around painter and filmmaker Julian Schnabel’s architectural landmark in New York’s West Village (Optica, Montréal, 2015). In 2016, he produced Remorial Arnhem (Sonsbeek’16, Arnhem, NL), a series of 12 commemorative sites throughout Arnhem challenging the overwhelmingly single memory of 1944 and opening a multiplicity of narratives rooted in the city fabric, as well as The Swap, the latest episode of the PolEc Trilogy, which was shot in Shanghai. In 2017, he produced the book Great and Less Great Fires in Glasgow during a residency at the Center for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow. After a Research Fellowship at the Canadian Photography Institute, Ottawa, where he revisited the iconic National Film Board Still Photography Division collection, he’s now working on a publication with this material, Canadiana Remix.