Jayce Salloum not the way things oughta be

Apr 29–May 27
MKG127 ⁠ accessible_forward
    Jayce Salloum, burning no house, thinking of and from here to elsewheres, the hood (dtes) to the Moria Refugee Camp in Lesbos today, 12-13,000 displaced – once again – from a ‘camp’ that was built to crowd 3,000 people and held 20,000 at one time, more than double-refugees, utter lack of respect for humanity, utter sheer lack of health-care, nothing provided, reports that tear-gas canisters fired by the police started the first fire, and utter anguish and desperation fueled the rage, lane off Gore St., Sḵwx̱wú7mesh + səíl̓wətaʔł land, aka dtes Vancouver, 8/31/20, 2020. From the series location/dis-location(s). Courtesy of the artist, © Jayce Salloum, 2020

Vancouver-based artist Jayce Salloum presents an installation of photography, drawing, and sculptures that reflect the pandemic moment of time. Loosely referencing DNA, waveforms, organs, entities, time broken down and strung together, he works through conditions and relations referencing both a previous life and one we are hurtling towards. In the following artist’s text, Salloum considers his motivations for the project.

Of Syrian or Lebanese ancestry, born and raised on others’ land—the Sylix (Okanagan) territory—and after years working elsewhere, I planted myself on the unceded stolen lands of the xʷməθkʷey̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and səlilwətaɬ. With these contentions and politics in place, I embrace zones of conflict and beauty within my work; the exhibition not the way things oughta be features the other side of my practice. The image/text works began through the collection of fragments, correspondences, and notes. As the times demand, much of this work is malleable, transformed for different tangible and virtual platforms.

My accumulation of photographs spans the first quarantines with their unforeseeable future—and the politics of fear, regression, pain, and (sometimes) promise and hope—until the present day. The pandemic of inequality that remains is pressurized, demanding an intimate and public response. Some of the works were produced with short notice, while others were painstakingly protracted, in an attempt to create something resonant. Is there more to a form that becomes a sutured manifesto disguised as poetic ramblings and rants out into the void, or is it vaporized in the milieu of quotidian indeterminate ennui? Sling-shotting between living contradictions eventually brings more pieces closer to near contiguity, into one slightly less fragmented corporeal entity, like a discombobulated soul within a quieted world.

What was learned from this close-distant experiencing? Was it a natural reaction to our stupidity, which has pushed us further apart than before? Will anything remain different? We can do better. But why is it taking us so long? Our values are exposed, our systems laid bare, and the emperors continue with their naked lies locked into place like an immoral compass, with racism inbred in the fabric of the constructed nation. Why did a virus have to appear to reveal how connected we all are? On the road to decolonization, there is much time and privilege to make up for. There is an onus on all of us who determinedly walk the long path of conciliation in this occupied nation. We exist in worlds that are willingly unprepared for this, and yet we are prepared for war. While responding to the crisis in the everyday, what comes next? How do we proceed in the now? On life support, tools ready, nature surpasses us all.

While sculptures stretch time by remaining still and lingering, photographs, in their persistent parsing, collapse time and space. Pictures are like storied beings, seeking trust, striving to complete the narrative, divulging this life of beauty and otherness—and sometimes the cruelty embedded in our e/very structure.

Presented by MKG127

Jayce Salloum – As if an itinerant geographer of conflicted territories, Salloum observes the world and creates images/texts to re-make meaning from. He tries to go only where he is invited or where there is an intrinsic affinity, his projects being rooted in an intimate engagement with place. A grandson of Syrian or Lebanese immigrants he was born and raised on others’ land, the Sylix (Okanagan) territory. After 23 years living and working elsewheres he planted himself on the unceded stolen lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw and səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ. Recognizing and acting on this is an everyday practice, but let’s face it, he could do a lot more.