The first participant was Jane Corkin, founder of Toronto’s Corkin Gallery, which pioneered valuing photography in gallery settings. Corkin introduced a series of photos, most of which were the large-format work of photographer Thaddeus Holownia, depicting primarily the city’s Queen West neighbourhood in the 1970s through 1990s. Corkin describes Holownia as “a documentarian… interested in how a place changes and how time changes a place.” Corkin’s manifest nostalgia for a pre-globalization Toronto – and pre-gentrification Queen West – evident in her comments about the photos would possibly have been lost on non-locals or even younger Torontonians who may struggle to see the loss of a chicken market (in a neighbourhood now known for its 21st century cool) as any kind of loss at all, but it was certainly an attitude shared by several on the panel. This nostalgia for something authentic and dissatisfaction with generic non-places installed by global neoliberalism and franchise commerce is not unique to Toronto. What perhaps is unique about it in a Toronto setting is the city’s much longer-standing obsession with its own insecurity and fabled neurosis about ascending to the ranks of “world-class city.” – Kate Lawrie Van de Ven
Kate is a doctoral candidate in Cinema and Media Studies at York University. Her research explores Toronto’s many film festivals, their relationship to their urban communities and how different kinds of festival space impact understandings of Toronto as a particular kind of place: a festival city. Her broader interests include film festival cultures, media literacy, education and social justice; contemporary visual culture; and cinematic urbanism. She has published on spectacular representations of Paris and hotels and motels as cinematic purgatories as well as writing broadly for and about film festivals. She previously studied in the film departments at UCLA and Queen’s University. Please see more at Academia.edu .