So how does a museum program when there’s nowhere yet to exhibit? This past weekend, the Remai Modern presented Supercommunity Live, a two-day conference with lectures and screenings. The program grew out of e-flux
’s Supercommunity, an 88-day online publishing experiment, which accompanies the 2015 Venice Biennale
. Aligned with the Remai’s promised mission, the theme “The Climatic Unconscious” aimed to stoke
the “crisis in the very idea of what constitutes humanity and nature.”
Saskatoon is, dare we say it, fertile ground for sparking a dialogue about humanism and the environment. After all, Saskatchewan (the province where Saskatoon is located) not only derives its capital from environmental extraction, but some 10.2% of its population are members of the First Nations people, an indigenous population active in advocating for their own human and land rights. “We are reliant on those resources for funding, so it’s quite provocative to do,” says Burke of the museum’s mission and the sort of events, like Supercomunity, that they intend to participate in. “We’ll have to face these questions when we open, as well,” Burke adds, “‘Where’s your money coming from? Is it dirty money?’” And Burke knows too well: there’s nary a clean economic link in today’s global infrastructure. So far, the building costs and collection have come from local philanthropist Ellen Remai, as well as additional support from the local and federal governments.