Lou Sheppard. Photograph by Samson Learn.

Do rivers have the right to their own courses?
Can we hear our way to ecological justice?

Artist Lou Sheppard and exhibition curator Michael Maranda were in conversation to discuss the process, research and materiality of Rights of Passage, AGYU’s current exhibition. This commissioned sound and video installation by Shepard used the Toronto river systems as a starting point to imagine and assert the riparian rights of rivers to flow naturally, as well as the rights for subjects (both human and not) to access the banks of the river, its water, and its use for transportation. Sheppard’s work queered our understanding of ecology, using a form of ecological drag to give agency and rights to the environment.

Sheppard and Maranda both share an interest in environmental data and how it can be transformed into visual and sonic experiences that work beyond the accumulation of knowledge, delineating a path that is environmentally responsive.

Rights of Passage by Lou Sheppard was on view until Saturday, December 3, 2022.

Lou Sheppard is a Canadian artist, based on the South Shore of Nova Scotia / Mi’kma’ki. Sheppard’s site-specific artistic practice manifests in the form of interdisciplinary audio, performance, and installation-based works. Sheppard has exhibited across Canada, notably in the first Toronto Biennial at the Toronto Sculpture Garden in Toronto; at Simon Fraser University and Access Gallery in Vancouver, BC; at the Khyber Centre for the Arts in Halifax, NS; at PAVED Arts in Saskatoon, SK; and at the University of Moncton in Moncton, NB. He participated in the first Antarctic Biennale and the Antarctic Pavilion in Venice, Italy. Sheppard has been longlisted for the Sobey Art Awards in 2018, 2020, and 2021, and was an International Residency Recipient from the Sobey Art Foundation in 2018. Sheppard holds a BFA in Interdisciplinary Studies from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Sheppard is represented by IOTA Institute.

Michael Maranda is assistant curator, publishing, at the Art Gallery of York University. For the past thirty years he has been engaged with the visual arts sector in Canada as artist, organiser, administrator, curator, editor, advocate, publisher, critic, and, more recently, quantitative researcher. His Waging Culture survey has set the mark for advocacy-based quantitative research in the sector, recognised as a go-to source for socio-economic information on Canadian visual artists. He runs the publishing activities of the AGYU, and is a prolific commenter on social media.

Maranda was educated at the University of Ottawa (political science), Concordia University (photography), and the University of Rochester (visual and cultural studies). His work has shown internationally, primarily in artists book-related venues. For some deeply ironic reason, his rip-off of Ed Ruscha’s Twentysix Gasoline Stations was exhibited in several of Gagosian’s gallery spaces.

See also

Rights of Passage LP

Rights of Passage LP
vinyl LP
Oct 2023

Lou Sheppard “Rights of Passage” Vinyl LP launch

Lou Sheppard “Rights of Passage” Vinyl LP launch
Launch and performance
28 Oct 2023

Timothy Morton: Haunting Weirdness

Timothy Morton: Haunting Weirdness
Online lecture
23 Nov 2022

Lou Sheppard in conversation with Michael Maranda

Lou Sheppard in conversation with Michael Maranda
Online conversation
8 Nov 2022

Reciprocal Landscapes: Jane Mah Hutton

Reciprocal Landscapes: Jane Mah Hutton
in-person lecture
25 Oct 2022

Streams~

Streams~
Nuit Blanche
1 Oct 2022

Do Rocks Listen?

Do Rocks Listen?
workshop
17 Sep 2022

Scores

Scores
Rights of Passage
Summer 2022

Film stills

Film stills
Rights of Passage
Summer 2022

Exhibition views

Exhibition views
Lou Sheppard
16 Sep – 3 Dec 2022

Opening night

Opening night
Lou Sheppard
16 Sep 2022

Lou Sheppard: Rights of Passage

Lou Sheppard: Rights of Passage
exhibition
16 Sep – 3 Dec 2022

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