Born in Jamaica and based in Toronto, Camille Turner is an explorer of race, space, home and belonging. She is the founder of Outerregion, an afrofuturist performance company. Her interventions, installations and public engagements combine Afrofuturism and historical research and have been presented throughout Canada and internationally including at Dak’Art African Contemporary Art biennale in Dakar Senegal and Bamako biennale in Mali. Miss Canadiana, one of her earliest performance works, challenges perceptions of Canadianness and troubles the unspoken binary of “real Canadian” and “diverse other”. The Afronautic Research Lab is a futuristic reading room in which participants encounter erased histories. Sonic walks HUSH HARBOUR and The Resistance of Peggy Pompadour reimagine and evoke digital sites of Black memory. The Landscape of Forgettingis a walk created collaboratively with Alana Bartol to reveal the history of Black and Indigenous people enslaved in the Windsor area. Spare Parts, a collaboration with researcher Monir Moniruzzaman, Jim Ruxton and Heather Dewey Hagborg is a curatorial project that explores ethical issues arising from the growth of technomedicine and the corresponding expansion of the global market in human organs.
Camille’s most recent works include: Wanted, a collaboration with Camal Pirbhai that uses the trope of fashion to transform an archive of newspaper posts by Canadian slave owners into a series of contemporary fashion ads. Her collaboration with Cheryl L’Hirondelle on LandMarks2017 commissioned by Parks Canada and Partners In Art resulted in Freedom Tours, an alternative Thousands Islands boat tour and a procession honouring Mother Earth at Rouge National Park.
Camille has taught at various institutions such as University of Toronto, Algoma University and Toronto School of Art. She is a graduate of Ontario College of Art and Design and York University’s Masters in Environmental Studies program where she is currently a PhD candidate. Her work has recently been included in More Caught in the Act edited by Johanna Householder and Tanya Mars, Looking Beyond Borderlines: North America’s Frontier Imagination by Lee Rodney and Border Cultures by Srimoyee Mitra and Bonnie Devine. [camilleturner.com]
Artist: Camille Turner
The Afronautic Research Lab uses performance and social practice art to bring participants into contact with archival and documentary evidence revealing the roots of anti-Blackness in and beyond Canada. The Afronauts are inspired by the stories of the Dogon people of Mali. These space travellers left earth 10,000 years ago and have returned to their home planet to save it. They invite citizen researchers into their Afronautic Research Lab, a dark reading room where primary archival materials such as 18th century Canadian newspapers containing ads posted by Canadian slave owners can be contemplated using flash lights and magnifying glasses. An audio loop provides a sonic guide to the social history in which this evidence emerges. The lab enables a reflection on how the past has shaped the present and point to the future.