Mary Kavanagh is a Lethbridge, Alberta-based artist whose work explores the material evidence of war, weaponized landscapes, and the nuclear era. Through her art practice Kavanagh has examined the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, where the first atomic bomb was tested in 1945. Join us for a screening of Kavanagh’s 2020 documentary Trinity3, which addresses this site and its impact. Following the screening there will be a discussion between the artist and scholar Sara Matthews, whose research addresses the dynamics of conflict and social change.

Presented in partnership between the Faculty of Information and Media Studies and Museum London, this event builds from Mary Kavanagh’s work on view now in the exhibition From Remote Stars: Buckminster Fuller, London, Speculative Futures (March 5-May 15, curated by Kirsty Robertson and Sarah E.K. Smith).

Mary Kavanagh is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Art at the University of Lethbridge, where she teaches interdisciplinary art studio. She was awarded a Tier I Board of Governors Research Chair (2020-2025) for her work examining nuclear culture, weaponized landscapes, and the material evidence of war and conflict. Kavanagh’s artwork is exhibited across Canada and internationally, and she has contributed to numerous publications including Through Post-Atomic Eyes (McGill-Queen’s UP, 2020), and Occupying Forces (Prefix Photo, 2015). She is Principal Investigator of a SSHRC Insight Grant for her project, Atomic Tourist: Trinity, that explores nuclear anxiety in the twenty-first century. With projects in Canada, Japan, and the United States, Kavanagh’s interest in the veiled history of nuclear armament resulted in her immersive, multivalent exhibition, Daughters of Uranium (2019-2020). A publication of the same name features essays by cultural anthropologist, Peter C. van Wyck, and art critic, Jayne Wilkinson. Kavanagh is currently documenting uranium extraction sites in Canada.

Sara Matthews is Associate Professor of Global Studies and Communication Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. Her research and teaching are interdisciplinary and consider the dynamics of conflict and social change. Working primarily in the field of research-creation, her projects explore the relations between visual culture and martial politics as well as how communities craft creative modes of relationality and survival in response to practices of state securitization. In addition to her scholarly work, Sara curates aesthetic projects that render encounters with conflict and loss as new forms of futurity, materiality, and placemaking.

Image: Mary Kavanagh Installation view of Trinity3, Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, 2020, Two channel video installation. Image courtesy of the artist

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