And all he wants in exchange is local knowledge of the buildings, and places, and people in the documents themselves.
The Grenfell professor, who has been teaching photography out of the VA program for about a year, will bring what he describes as a kind of tourist information booth-altered universe to the Corner Brook Museum on Sept. 30, as part of Nuit 150, an all-night art festival that will sprawl all over town.
The project, Échange (Exchange)/Post(e) — Corner Brook has seen Losier digging through public archives in Toronto in search of documents and images of Corner Brook and surrounding areas.
Through photocopying, printing, and sometimes altering the images he found, Losier will set up shop inside the museum, where the previously displaced images will be exchanged with festival-goers, for a short textual story or reaction of the people, and places in the images themselves.
Losier explainsed the project’s first go-around led him to Sudbury, Ont., a place where, he admits, he was a bit of an outsider.
He knew it was a gritty, post-industrial mining town, but he lacked the physical, experiential knowledge a local would have.
With Échange, Losier checked into the public archives in Toronto — and through prints, photocopies, and some abstraction on original documents, brought to Sudbury archival pieces of the town’s history, that had been previously stored and only accessible outside the town.
He then openly exchanged his prints and copies with residents for first-hand knowledge, not for any kind of monetary value. Instead, the residents gave him reactions and stories about the image they were purchasing — touching on what the image meant to them, and to the town.
“It was a way of opening up the project to the public, where usually archives are closed to the public, or repressed, or restricted in some way. It was about flipping that around and making them really open and accessible and kind of more informal,” said Losier. “Sometimes, some of the works really connect with people, sometimes people see an image and they say ‘oh my God I know where that was’, or ‘that building doesn’t exist anymore,’ there are some images where I’m really excited about them, but they don’t connect at all, no one wants to acquire them.
“It’s always exciting for me — there’s an element of chance.”
So far, Échange has been through four Canadian towns, setting up first in a quiet community mall in Sudbury, then to Dawson City, and then a small bar in Halifax.
For Nuit 150, the project comes to Corner Brook for the first time, which will be a setting that Losier says might have the most meaning for him.
Corner Brook has become home for Losier and his family, since they moved here about a year ago, but Losier says there are still aspects of the city, and about Newfoundland culture that he is still learning about.
Échange (Exchange)/Post(e) - Corner Brook will take place on Sept. 30 in the Corner Brook Museum. It will be a part of Nuit 150’s ongoing all-night art festival.