SAW Video Media Art Centre
Ottawa, Ontario
April 26 – June 9, 2018

As the curatorial collective Under New Management (Su-Ying Lee & Suzanne Carte), we bring back those glory days of the video rental store. We invite gallery guests to enjoy the ease, simplicity, and nostalgia of walking down aisles full of potential viewing entertainment. But we’re not your typical video store. Far from it! Under New Management’s Video Store is a non-commercial venture that only carries artists’ videos, with a unique rental policy of non-policy and a pay-what-you-wish with what-you-wish program. Video Store is a project that employs all of the characteristics of a retail environment to serve the local community, while challenging the gallery’s role as an intermediary that delimits the viewer’s direct access to art and artists.

The video titles in stock are artists’ works procured through an open call for submissions. “Customers” are asked to pay what they wish, which can be either cash or a non-monetary exchange. This payment model asks that the renter reflect on the value of art and demonstrate their appreciation or criticism of the work. This compensation can come in the form of a written review, book, tool, drawing, or snack. Cold, hard cash works too, but we encourage the audience to contemplate a more engaged means of communicating worth. This feature is an experimental form of involvement, where artists have the opportunity to receive responses directly from viewers. In turn, viewers have an uncommon channel to the artists. In addition to payment, rentals are also based on the honour-system to remove barriers that exist due to membership requirements, deposits, and return policies.

Since 2013, the Video Store has travelled to the ODD Gallery at the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture in Dawson YT, Access Gallery in Vancouver BC, Third Space Gallery in Saint John NB, Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery in Sarnia, Union Gallery at Queen’s University in Kingston, New Gallery in Calgary, and SAW Media Art Centre in Ottawa. An earlier version of the project took place in a Toronto storefront in 2010. 

Under New Management (UNM) is comprised of the curatorial team Suzanne Carte and Su-Ying Lee, a collective of cultural producers. With over fifteen years each in the art industry, Carte and Lee have launched UNM to channel their expertise and test the roles of the artist and curator with notions of audience, place and space. Operating as a mutable entity, UNM reinvents roles and shifts boundaries to inspire production and engagement. Hybridizing exhibition-based practices, we explore experiential methods to examine the relationship between art and its vast milieu.