Visual Art Installation on display in Ridington Reading Room

Come to the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre to view a work by UBC Graduate student in the Art History, Visual Art, and Theory (AHVA) department, Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in visual art, Benjamin Allard. The installation, In the database, there was no image for revolution, is currently displayed in the Ridington Reading Room. Read more about the work below.

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In the database, there was no image for revolution
Benjamin Allard, 2016


— Statement of Purpose and Charter of Principles

History is not an empty and homogenous time, temporal continuity has to be achieved only by much effort and power in order to convey a sense of intelligibility.

If the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre is fast to use the language of revolution to fashion itself, the UBC Archives Photograph Collection fails to use such political impulse to classify the university’s photographic history.In the database, there was no image for revolution, takes this institutional contradiction as a starting point to respond to the current UBC marketing campaign featuring archival images of campus.

In an historical moment when accessible education is threatened, when market interests increasingly dictate research goals and when corporate entities become seamlessly part of the university, we can ask ourselves the real impact of revolutionary language in our institution and find ways to question the mandate of higher education. By exposing dissent with the photographs of student activism, enlarging the blurred bodies of construction workers or the scars of buildings left on the landscape, this piece is an invitation to reflect on the Statement of Purpose of this Learning Centre.


The artist would like to acknowledge the generous contributions and support of Vanessa Kam, Deneige Nadeau, Raquel Baldwinson and Jordan Howell.

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