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Milena Placentile
2012 Critic's Picks
December 18, 2012

So much happens in Winnipeg on any day of the week, making the task of choosing only three notables for the year daunting at best, but here goes...

1. This year's WNDX: Festival of Moving Image offered programming that captured the imagination in a myriad of ways, from Hope Peterson's enigmatic film noir comprised of footage captured from within her apartment, to Magic Lantern Ceremony featuring live performance projections by Doreen Girard and Alex Mackenzie using custom-built analog equipment, to Beat generation film history offered up by Jack Sargeant, to Tasman Richardson's live triggered breakcore ode to the cathode ray tube.

Thomas Hillier, 10A, 2012, sculptural assemblage (detail)

2. Always keen to push conventional definitions of architecture and always open to partnering with practitioners from other disciplines to create a genuinely cross-fertilized creative and intellectual space, RAW:Gallery of Architecture Design never ceases to please. I've already commented on Eric Lesage's project Re:Definition, and Frank Fantauzzi and Charlie O'Geen's Hollow. Now I'll applaud 10A by London-based artist Thomas Hillier, which offered a deeply intricate installation born from storytelling, papercraft, and diorama, and the conceptual audio installation tracing by Winnipeg-based artist crys cole.

3. Winnipeg is always contemplating itself in one fashion or another, but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the two gargantuan projects currently on view: Winnipeg Art Gallery's centennial exhibition Winnipeg Now and Plug In ICA's multi-phase My Winnipeg Project (the local manifestation of a show originally launched at La Maison Rouge in Paris). Both projects are populated by a long list of current and former Winnipeg artists. Circus of Objects, orchestrated by Grant Guy, brought physical energy to MWP via a series of vaudeville-esque performances – contributions from Freya Olafson and Ken Gregory were particularly striking. Look out, though: Andrew Harwood snatches the baton with Not My Winnipeg, opening at ZsaZsa West in January.

Note: I've been restricted to only three picks, but can't resist adding Dr. Laurie K. Bertam's Pioneer Ladies (of the Evening) at PLATFORM. This cultural studies project utilized archival mugshots and historical objects to re-imagine the form and function of museums by revealing the untold histories of sex trade workers in Winnipeg who fought frontline battles for equality and independence over one hundred years ago. It was smart as hell, too.

Milena Placentile is a curator and writer living in Winnipeg. She co-runs Atomic Centre and is Akimblog's Winnipeg correspondent and can be followed @atomiccentre on Twitter.



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