SlideLuck CoCAShow: Heather Passmore
My projects typically explore the politics of taste, class, and art. Discomfort with the nexus of art, power, and knowledge leaves me keen to undermine art as a sphere remote from those without the requisite privileges for access. A concern with ascribed hierarchies of cultural value is manifest in my reconfiguration of quotidian, outdated, and discarded media. I seek to connect viewers to social and cultural stratification through the use of socio-historically laden materials such as the personal archive, and found snapshots of the “Bikini Project”.

My practice often registers the potential for critical autonomy outside the realm of elite art. Here I investigate how leisurely modes of insight outside bourgeois categories of competence and value may harbour disalienating potential through a general will to knowledge, self-representation, and creativity. I am especially interested in the gender dimension to these politics. I strive to nuance my considerations rather than reassert a dichotomy between high and the low taste. Many of my projects extend the notion of art as an everyday category of experience and popular practice in radical disalignment with consumer culture. I often re-valuate used media in order to highlight certain quotidian experiences and practices as potential sites of consciousness-raising, if only as a reconfiguration of unwanted material bearing the broken utopian promise of the commodity.

The “Bikini Project” consists of 294 eroded snapshots projected as a large-scale looping digital slide show. Log Salvor Erik Hammond discovered a photo album containing these snapshots while working in the waters of Howe Sound, Canada in the summer of 2002. He retrieved the floating album and donated this salvaged material to myself shortly after. Its previous history, and collector(s) remain unknown. Water has distorted the images, the vast majority of which are comprised of bikini-clad women at beaches around the world. Handwritten inscriptions on the backside occasionally indicate the name, date or location and the woman depicted, as in “Janis, Tribune Bay, Hornby Island”. The archive of consists of candid shots taken over the last fifty years.

© Heather Passmore
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