Clarke Mackey, keynote speaker at Affects of Site: Conference on Site Specific Art

Affects of Site: A Conference and Dialogue on the Future of Site-specific art practice, will further the impact of our highly successful exhibition of artists’ projects on a frozen lake by acting as a focal point for this important discussion of the practice itself and how other artists or collectives can create site-specific visual arts events in their cities and regions.

Clarke Mackey has been pushing at the boundaries between art producers and consumers for over four decades. Starting in the early 1970s when he received several “Artist in the Schools” grants from Ontario Arts Council to work with aboriginal children and prison inmates, Clarke has been researching and practicing what he calls “vernacular culture”: unofficial practices that fall outside of the conventional definitions for fine art and popular culture. In 2010 he compiled his research and experiences in a book called Random Acts of Culture: Reclaiming Art and Community in the 21st Century. The book makes links between very old forms of culture – before the industrial-commercial era – and recent experiments in relational and site-specific work.

Clarke is also an accomplished media producer. He has worked as a director, cinematographer, editor, producer or writer on over 50 film, television and new media projects. Many have won awards and critical acclaim. He began experimenting with interactive, computer-based video in the 1980s. His Memory Palace website (1997) made innovative use of media streaming long before Youtube. In recent years Clarke has been producing microbudget documentaries about community activism in Eastern Ontario.