Christina Battle (Edmonton, Canada) has a B.Sc. with specialization in Environmental Biology from the University of Alberta, a certificate in Film Studies from Ryerson University, an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, and a PhD in Art & Visual Culture from the University of Western Ontario. Her research and artistic work consider the parameters of disaster; looking to it as action, as more than mere event and instead as a framework operating within larger systems of power. Through this research she imagines how disaster could be utilized as a tactic for social change and as a tool for reimagining how dominant systems might radically shift. She is a contributing editor to INCITE Journal of Experimental Media, and collaborates with Serena Lee as SHATTERED MOON ALLIANCE. She has exhibited internationally in festivals and galleries as both artist and curator, most recently at: Latitude 53 (Edmonton), The John & Maggie Mitchell Gallery (Edmonton), Harbourfront Centre (Toronto), Capture Photography Festival (Vancouver); Forum Expanded at the Berlinale (Berlin), Blackwood Gallery (Mississagua), Trinity Square Video (Toronto), Untitled Art Society (Calgary), 8-11 (Toronto), Nuit Blanche Toronto, Galveston Artist Residency (Texas); Studio XX (Montreal), Le Centre des arts actuels Skol as part of Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal (Montreal), Thames Art Gallery (Chatham, ON), Casa Maauad (Mexico City); and SOMArts (San Francisco).
For almost 20 years I have worked as a media artist, curator, arts administrator and educator and have been an active member of a number of communities. My practice is founded in a DIY ethos and I see culture as being entirely dependent on it if it hopes to remain current and progressive. As such, I consider organizing and collaborating to be active and critical parts of my practice, often with the goal of bridging conversation across disciplines. Primarily manifesting as video, installation, participatory, and curated projects, I consider artistic work to be a critical and effective way to illuminate the complex negotiations we find ourselves facing in society, and media art as uniquely situated to engage with contemporary culture as an urgent subject. I recently received a PhD in Art & Visual Culture from the University of Western Ontario where I situated my research and practice under a dissertation titled: Disaster as a Framework for Social Change: Searching for new patterns across plant ecology and online networks.
Multidimensional by definition, disaster is seen as a series of intersecting processes including social, environmental, cultural, political, economic, and technological, which are implicated not only in how disaster is caused but also in how it manifests, is responded to and overcome. Through this research I consider the ways in which disaster as both subject and framework might be utilized as a tactic for social change, and as a tool for reimagining how dominant systems might radically shift. Especially interested in how our engagement with media shapes our understanding and interpretation of information, this research focuses on thinking more critically about the tools of technology (especially that of the internet and new media technology) as part of contemporary language, and considering how information disseminated via online platforms operates within the framework of disaster. At the root of my approach is a focus on the role of collaboration, collectivity and conversation as strategies for tackling the pressing issues we face today.
My research expands beyond the impact of large scale natural disaster events, looking to disaster as action, as more than mere event, and instead as a framework operating within larger systems of power. The overarching question that my artistic work considers is: how might small gestures of artistic practice be utilized as tools for change? Through the generation of artistic works and curatorial projects, my approach relies on the premise that creating opportunities for new conversations around disaster has the potential to contribute to the reimaging of how dominant systems might radically shift. Strategies for actively working through this research manifest through the organizing and curating of film/video screenings, exhibitions and events, seen as a way to facilitate conversation and bring people together to engage in shared experiences. Through this part of my practice, I see my role as one of a facilitator who can help to shape space for others' voices to be heard, who can contribute to actively diversifying both artistic spaces and their audiences, and who can provide opportunities for critical engagement with conversations that might not otherwise occur within artistic institutions.
Previous Collective & Collaborative Projects:
re:assemblage with Scott Miller Berry [Ontario; 2016-2018]
MICE MAGAZINE [Toronto; 2016-2017]
Nothing To See Here [Denver; with Adán De La Garza] [2014-2016]
F A I N T I N G C O P S [Denver; with Adán De La Garza] [2015-2016]
The Perceptual Adventure Series [San Francisco; with Nate Boyce, Marijke Jorritsma & Kent Long] [2003-2005]
The League [Toronto; with Sara MacLean, Juli Saragosa & Michèle Stanley]
selected written things about my work:
Connecting Thru Grasses explores Prairie ecology and social issues, by Ashley Martin, Regina Leader-Post, Jan 23, 2021.
A Year of Relations by Noor Bhangu for Galleries West.
To Reciprocate All They Freely Offer by Mercedes Webb for C Magazine (issue 147 –Gather).
An essay discussing Today in the news more black and brown bodies traumatized the soil is toxic the air is poison by Gabrielle Moser was published in Esse Magazine – Surviving the End of the World: Colonialism and Climate Change in the Work of Christina Battle and David Hartt.
Mediated Disaster and Unmediated Climate Anxiety: A Conversation with Christina Battle and Jayne Wilkinson – in Other Places: Reflections on Media Art in Canada
"Questions for a Hillside" By Meg Walker (pdf) Exhibition Essay for the space between here and there (the yukon river) at the ODD Gallery.
NOW Magazine Toronto Nature’s fury: What Was Will Be probes communities’ experience of natural disasters review of the dearfield, colorado exhibition at Gallery 44 By Fran Schechter.
Artoronto.ca “Christina Battle & Kristie MacDonald: What Was Will Be” review of dearfield, colorado exhibition at Gallery 44 by Shellie Zhang, 2014
Blouin Artinfo Canada online, “Video Artist Christina Battle Finds Nothing on the News at TUFF” review of we’re not exactly sure what just happened by Mark Mann, 2013
Cinema Scope online, “Between the Walls: Images Festival 2013” Review of 'The Twelve Devil’s Graveyards Around the World’ (was titled fog vortex) exhibition at the Images Festival 2013 by Michael Sicinski, 2013
Christina Battle: Filing Memory – Catalogue of an exhibition held at the Foreman Art Gallery of Bishop's University, from September 15 – December 10, 2010. With texts by: Vicky Chainey Gagnon, Shawn Malley, Andréa Picard
Canadian Art online, “Ryerson Image Centre Sheds Light on Photo’s Role” Review of group exhibition including Archived Disasters [The Evidence] I.Bridge Collapse II. Unexplained Lights in Skies III. Sightings of Unknown Creature By David Balzer, 2012
Exhibition Publication for ARCHIVAL DIALOGUES: READING THE BLACK STAR COLLECTION curated by Doina Popescu and Peggy Gale at the Ryerson Image Centre, 2012
Strategies of the Medium II, “The Transformative Potential of Optical
Printing” (link to PDF) – curatorial essay & publication accompanying Printed Light exhibition by Chris Gehman, LIFT 2009
Behind These Walls: Contemporary Canadian Experimental Short Films. A special screening of contemporary Canadian and international film-based work presented as part of the media arts festival Espace [Im]média. Curatorial essay by Vicky Chainey Gagnon (pdf) October 1, 2009
“Christina Battle’s Alchemy”, Janine Marchessault (pdf) 2007 from CFMDC's Artist's Spotlight DVD series Study Guide