Awarded the CONTACT Festival 2017 Burtynsky Grant.
Exhibiting now in CONTACT Festival at Black Cat Artspace from May 5 - 15
“Created across two cities (Zihuatanejo, Mexico and Toronto, Canada), A Telepathic Book is an uncanny look at the way we produce, share, and make connections between images. Rose and Joy Broadbent’s process plays on the unconscious resonances in and among images, acknowledging that there's a crucial aspect of seeing that only hidden parts of our minds see—what Walter Benjamin calls the 'optical unconscious.’ The book continues the Broadbent Sisters' practice of exploring shared experiences through a unique, two-spine design, inviting the viewer to turn two pages at once to see the simultaneous images." – The Jury (2017 Burtynsky Grant)
Summary of 'A Telepathic Book': For seventeen days the Broadbent Sisters used meditation, writing, visualization and art making to connect and telepathically send images to each other across two cities. From the Greek, ‘tele’ meaning “distant” and pathos meaning “feeling, perception, passion, affliction, experience”, telepathy is the transmission of information from one person to another without using any of our known sensory channels or physical interaction. The sisters created five parameters in order to practice this technique. Every day from February 1st to 17th, the sisters: meditated, went for a walk, took time to “send” & “receive” images through thought, wrote their reflections, and created one image for that day. After the completion of the experiment, they revealed their images to each other and paired each day to created this book of uncanny connections. All of the images on the left pages are created by Rose Broadbent, during her travel to the tropical town of Zihuatenejo, Mexico, and all of the right page images are created by Joy Broadbent, during winter in their hometown, Toronto, Canada. The book itself is a sculptural piece, attached by two spines reflecting the two sisters, opening in an unfolding experience.
Exhibition at Stephen Bulger Gallery, May 3, 2018
By Independent Curator, Tania Thompson
Most of us have had an experience where we simultaneously say or do the same thing as someone else, where some unnoticed signifier elicits the same reaction as our own from others who are seemingly separate from us. It is a reminder that we are not so individual. We share memories, sensibilities, social constructs, beliefs, culture, history…all of which form how we think and behave, and therefore how we communicate with each other. And so it is not remarkable that we would, from time to time, find our responses overlapping or duplicating - particularly to one willing to do semiotic detective work. Yet, it does make one wonder what the potential of this type of connection is or could be, and ask how these occurrences inform how we see the world and our relationship to each other? These are the questions The Broadbent Sisters pose in their work, looking to uncover a deeper understanding of how we relate to each other and what that understanding can offer.
As sisters, friends and creative collaborators, Rose and Joy’s intertwined lives have resulted in an uncanny attachment that transcends regular forms of interaction. It has become a central concern in their practice to investigate and experiment with non-verbal communication and try to strengthen their muscles of intuition, and, by doing so, create work that is an example of trust and generosity. One of the most provocative aspects of their work is their willingness to establish and occupy a vulnerable space on our behalf; to demonstrate the possible insights that can be discovered when we are open, giving, and willing to champion raw emotion over refined ideas. With A Telepathic Book, the Broadbent Sisters continue to experiment with the depths of intuition and attunement, testing what might be uncovered when we explore the reaches of shared experience.
The result is a book that clearly evidences the sisters’ similarity. But it is more than that. A Telepathic Book invites us to consider how to search for connection and experience what it feels like when we find it. It is a meditation on aesthetics, prompting us to compare composition, pattern, mood, shape and colour. It is also a winning example of the exhilaration one experiences when similarities are discovered. It is at this point the connection extends beyond the two sisters and we, as the viewer, feel included and can experience the connection for ourselves.
What does it mean to be connected? For most of us, connection is a way of feeling that we are not alone, that we are part of something bigger than ourselves; that our life has meaning beyond our personal experience. Whether this is true or real, there is value in the feeling. It is comfort. It is a sense of belonging. It is empathy. And herein lies the bond the Broadbent Sisters seek to achieve.