Broken City Lab is an artist-led interdisciplinary collective and non-profit organization based in Windsor, Ontario, that works to explore and unfold curiosities around locality, infrastructures, education, and creative practice leading towards civic change. BCL's work has been presented at the Art Gallery of Windsor, TRUCK Gallery, Forest City Gallery, Martha Street Studio, and CAFKA, and is currently on view at Eyelevel Gallery in Halifax and Hamilton Artists Inc. You'll also be able to catch their work later this year at North Bay's White Water Gallery. They recently received a grant from the Windsor Endowment for the Arts and the Ontario Trillium Foundation, and were also long-listed for the 2012 Sobey Art Award. Broken City Lab is Justin A. Langlois, Danielle Sabelli, Michelle Soulliere, Josh Babcock, Cristina Naccarato, Rosina Riccardo, Hiba Abdallah, Kevin Echlin, and Sara Howie.
1. New blood
Windsor isn't exactly renowned as a destination for a lot of creative people, so when people move here (or move back), it's always worth celebrating. The last couple of years has brought in new staff at the Art Gallery of Windsor - notably the dynamic and engaging Srimoyee Mitra (Curator of Contemporary Art) - and the return of Sarah Beveridge to open SB Contemporary (a new commercial gallery/project space) downtown. The programming at SB Contemporary has been consistently well-curated, timely, and frankly, really fun. The recently opened exhibitions at the AGW, particularly Re-enacting Resistance: Jamelie Hassan, offers a great example of the amazing things we can look forward to from Mitra.
2. Media City Film Festival
Every year, Media City brings in an incredible array of experimental film, video projects, and installations (and the artists that make them) from around the world. The screenings are at the historic (and recently stabilized) Capitol Theatre, which creates an amazing intimacy and provides access to the artists and filmmakers that's just unparalleled. Then there's the always-immersive site-specific installations hosted at the Art Gallery of Windsor - this year, renowned English filmmaker Nicky Hamlyn is doing a residency and offering free 16mm film workshops! The program is always diverse and compelling, and the staff and volunteers who pull this together year after year are the hardest working people we've ever met. The festival is happening soon (May 22 to 26) and it's absolutely worth the trip down the 401 to see it.
3. Collaboration, FTW
Forget collaboration as a strategic partnership and consider it a responsive and responsible way to address the world.
4. Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM lens
This is the lens that we use to document the vast majority of our work and even on a cheaper camera like a T2i its speed and sharpness are unbelievably flexible and consistent. The 1.6x crop on the sensor of these entry-level SLRs makes the 16-35mm more like a 25-55mm, which makes it wide enough to document a bunch of people in a room, but gives you enough zoom to get a reasonable amount of detail without being on top of your subject. This lens is pretty much the best investment in camera gear ever.
5. Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit
If you go to Detroit (or if you come to Windsor, for that matter), you have to make time to check out MOCAD. The 22,000 square foot building is a former auto dealership and was gently renovated to make big, open spaces that host consistently great exhibitions. But, it's not just the exhibitions, it's the panel discussions, performances, live music, pop-up cafés, screenings, and special programming like the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition-Discotech that make MOCAD such a vital part of the local arts scene.
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