Artist Talk

Archival Alchemy with Joyce LeeAnn

Tuesday / Sep 21 / 21
7:00 pm

on-line / video available to watch

Part of Jess Dobkin's Wetrospective @ AGYU
Joyce LeeAnn
Jess Dobkin

Archival Alchemy® with Joyce LeeAnn

You can watch the archived talk on the AGYU website HERE.


AGYU and FADO Performance Art Centre welcome you to an on-line artist engagement with Joyce LeeAnn presented as part of the solo exhibition, Jess Dobkin's Wetrospective. During our time together, she will lead us on a journey to explore archival processing as performance art.

Joyce LeeAnn is a certified archivist, an interdisciplinary artist, and the founder of Archival Alchemy®. As an archivist, she has worked for a community archive, a corporate archive, a large public library, and a prestigious museum. However, her archival praxis began as a young girl, and as an act of decolonization she centers her innate methods. Through her artistic projects, she is creating an archive of everything that she has conquered and is overcoming. This is the essence of Archival Alchemy®. Created in 2017 and cultivated directly from Joyce LeeAnn’s practice, Archival Alchemy® is a small business that supports institutions and artists to activate and enrich archives.

This artist engagement is presented in community with the AGYU as part of a constellation of talks, perfromances and public engagements for Jess Dobkin’s Wetrospective. The AGYU would like to thank: 16 TONNES, ampd*, FADO Performance Art Centre, franklin furnace, Hemispheric encounters (SSHRC), polyjohn, QUEST AV and Sensorium.

Joyce LeeAnn is an interdisciplinary artist and certified archivist currently living and working in New York, USA. In 2011, she self-published her archival text, somethymes grief goes for a walk. In 2013, she co-curated The Finding Aid: Black Women at the Intersection of Art and Archiving at the Schomburg Center. She is a House of Noire gem, and was a Create Change fellow with The Laundromat Project, as well as a MoCADA creator in residence. She has performed her work at The Noire Pageant, Laurie Beechman Theatre, House of Yes, New York University, Brooklyn Museum, and many other places. In 2017, she emancipated her labor by cultivating Archival Alchemy®, a small business that supports institutions and artists to activate and enrich archives.


Jess Dobkin’s Wetrospective
September 2–26, 2021

The Art Gallery of York University is excited to present the first solo exhibition of Toronto-based performance art matriarch Jess Dobkin, curated by Emelie Chhangur. “Driven by an interest in how one might performatively engage the energetic liveness of archives from polysemous perspectives Jess Dobkin’s Wetrospective takes up and takes apart the linear, patriarchal, and authoritative conventions of archive-making impulses. Channeling them instead toward more rhizomatic readings and feminist relationalities, she upcycles her own archive of past performances in ways that constitute her concept of “bendy-time.” The “archive” performs in this exhibition at the same time as it makes sense of (as in making sensate and sensual) an artist’s 25-plus-years of performance art work—including all its material and immaterial remains, reminders, and affective labour. This exhibition demands of archives what we expect from performance: the live encounter of experience in a ritual of transformation. Taking past performances as cues and as clues, this exhibition is a polytemporal, feminist, and queer experience of an archive of possible futurities, open to forever accommodating the always-shifting communities of belonging that Dobkin’s performance practice entails and magically conjures.” ~Emelie Chhangur, curator

Jess Dobkin has been a working artist, curator, community activist, mentor and teacher for more than 25 years, creating and producing intimate solo theatre performances, large-scale public happenings, socially engaged interventions and performance art workshops and lectures. Her practice extends across black boxes and white cubes, art fairs and subway stations, international festivals, and single bathroom stalls. Jess is currently Curator of the Performing Archives stream of a multi-year SSHRC Partnership Grant entitled, Hemispheric Encounters: Developing Transborder Research-Creation Practices.

Art Gallery of York University (AGYU) is a socially minded public non-profit contemporary art gallery that is a space for the creation and appreciation of art and culture. It is an affiliated and supported unit of York University, with key funders including the Canada Council for the Arts, the Province of Ontario through the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council, foundations, embassies, other cultural institutions, and through our membership. Throughout its 32-year history, AGYU has always operated at the forefront of contemporary artistic, curatorial, and art institutional practices.

For more information, please visit: https://agyu.art/project/wetrospective/


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