In Defense of the Poor Image

Elyse Longair




About the Artist

Elyse Longair is an emerging artist currently completing her MFA student in the Interdisciplinary Art Media & Design program at OCAD University, Canada. Her work has been included in group and solo exhibitions nationally. In 2010, she was an artist in residence at The Banff Centre for the residency 10 Figures in a Mountain Reprise with Silke Otto Knapp, and Jan Verwoert, receiving the RBC Youth Excellence Scholarship. Presently, Elyse is an RBC Emerging Artist at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery. Primarily working in collage, her work aims to explore how fragmented worlds of a reconstructed past may question our notions of time and reshape our thinking of the future.

About the Works


Through architectonic collage, this series aims to represent an alternate future from the past that may forward our consideration and caring for the future. My interest is in a theory of simplified images, within a world that privileges complexity and hyper-curated images that define the spectacle. The theoretical spectrum that I use to examine the simple image focuses on a history of visual thinkers, most notably Walter Benjamin, Guy Debord, Jean Baudrillard, and Hito Steyerl. I extend key theorist Steyerl’s 'poor image' and suggest the simple image as a new construct to value images with. The simple images encourage us to rethink and reflect on the role of imagination, opening up new possibilities for imagined futures. The content and the significance of my research-creation explores these notions through collage and directly informs my research questions: In our hyper-saturated post-produced world, what is the function of the simple image? Can fragmented images of the past, constructed through collage, challenge our notions of time and focus our thinking about the future? I propose that if we recontextualize and reimagine past futures, ideas of our present and future may be questioned. Our focus needs to shift from predicting the future to imagining creative alternative futures.





Ryerson Department of  Architectural Science Toronto, CA.
Ryerson Department of  Architectural Science Toronto, CA.