Amongst the algorithmic pulsations that remap informational networks at the whim of any giant tech company, hip hop culture in Canada produces ways of knowing (and being in) the world that continually disrupt the status quo. Self-styling, attitude, and linguistic ingenuity are but three ways in which the urgent spirit of hip hop culture exceeds the various mediums aimed at capturing and commodifying this highly innovative and often intangible culture.
Guided by a sense of rawness – an unsanitized speaking of truth to power – hip hop culture refuses institutional containment and thrives outside of formal settings which are often used to confer importance; hip hop has no use for such pedestals. The inherent and purposefully self-critical nature of hip hop ensures that it is both a widely appealing form for youth protest as well as a self-calibrating system of quality control.
Everything Remains Raw highlights the resilience of hip hop and asks why this supposed ‘fad’ has not faded away? The photograph, as archival document or commissioned photo journalism, guides this exhibition’s exploration of the mechanisms and tactics that allow hip hop in Canada to continually replenish its freshness, leading us to print culture, subversive engagements with technology, and the interdisciplinary entanglements of the undisciplined. Photographic works from 1992 to 2006 by Michael Chambers, Sheinina Raj, Demuth Flake, Patrick Nichols and Stella Fakiyesi provide the vehicle for a deep dive into a variety of visual works that challenge archival classifications of hip hop and crack open the discrepancies of Canadian historical practices.