Carsten Höller: experiments in perception and decision-making

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Published on : 2015-07-15 12:08:14

Carsten HllerIsomeric Slides2015 dLEVEN.jpg
Carsten Höller, Isomeric Slides, 2015 during installation of Carsten Höller_ Decision at Hayward Gallery, Courtesy the artist and LUMA Foundation. Photo David Levene

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Carsten Höller, Divisions (Wall Painting with Aphids), 2015 © Carsten Höller. Installation View Carsten Höller l Decision, Hayward Gallery, London 2015. Courtesy of the artist and Massimo De Carlo, Milan. Photo © Linda Nylind

Carsten HllerThe Forests.jpg
Carsten Höller, The Forests, 2002_2015 © Carsten Höller. Installation View Carsten Höller l Decision, Hayward Gallery, London 2015. Courtesy of the artist and Air de Paris. Photo © Linda Nylind

The show to see and experience in London at the moment is Carsten Höller: Decision.

Carsten Höller likes to unsettle, upset, delight and surprise. You get out of one of his shows and feel like you've lived through 'something' new and totally unexpected. The Hayward retrospective is an experiment, from the perspective of the artist but also from the one of the visitor, in perception and decision-taking: are you going to enter through the doors on the right or on the left? Will you dare to be harnessed to a flying machine? Will you ingest one of those curious little pills that are dropped from the ceiling? Or will you just watch and see what other people chose? And in the end, will you conclude that this was fun but a bit shallow or that it was thought-provoking and enlightening? Is this art or just entertainment?

The exhibition is what you would call a crowd-pleaser (although the £15.00 entrance ticket is definitely not crowd-pleasing.) Which in conservative art speak is a bit of an insult. It shouldn't be. Because art doesn't need more snobs and because if gigantic slides, bouncy Stonehenge and rain rooms are what it takes to get everyone to experience and discuss contemporary art, that's good enough for me.

Carsten HllerDecision Corridors Linda Nylind-1.jpg
Carsten Höller, Decision Corridors, 2015 © Carsten Höller. Installation View Carsten Höller l Decision, Hayward Gallery, London 2015. Courtesy of the artist, Photo © Linda Nylind

The first decision you take is whether to access the show by the entrance on the right or the one on the left. I chose the left one and very quickly regretted it. I found myself in the darkness of a long, a very very long steel corridor. It sometimes goes up, sometimes down, it bends to the right or to the left. With each step, i was wondering whether i should keep on walking or whether i should just hurry back to where i came from and take the other entrance (which takes you to a similarly awful corridor if i understood correctly.)


Carsten Höller, Flying Mushrooms, 2015 © Carsten Höller. Installation View Carsten Höller l Decision, Hayward Gallery, London 2015. Courtesy of the artist, Photo © Linda Nylind

Now of course i find it funny so i'd recommend the experience to anyone because one day, i promise, you finally reach the end of the tunnel and find yourself in a room inhabited by huge hallucinogenic mushrooms. They are mounted on a mobile and you're invited to push them around. And every single adult but me thought it was jolly good fun to push a bar and make the mushrooms turn.

Next, please!

Carsten HllerPill Clock 2011_.jpg
Carsten Höller, Pill Clock, 2011-2015 © Carsten Höller. Installation View Carsten Höller l Decision, Hayward Gallery, London 2015. Courtesy of the artist, Photo © Linda Nylind

Right after the red and white mushrooms, you encounter a growing pile of red and white little pills. Every three seconds, a little capsule drops from the ceiling. You're actually free to pop one with water from the nearby mini sink. There's no information about what is inside the pills. That's part of the experiment, of course, it's another decision you have to take.

Carsten Hller, Upside Down Goggles .jpg
Carsten Höller, Upside Down Goggles, 2014 © Carsten Höller. Installation View Carsten Höller l Decision, Hayward Gallery, London 2015. Courtesy of the artist, Photo © Linda Nylind

People were queuing to try the Upside Down Goggles. The goggles are based on an experiment carried out by George Stratton in the 1890s. While studying the perception in vision, the psychologist wore special glasses which inverted images up and down and left and right. He found that after 4 days wearing them continuously, his brain started to compensate, and he could see the world the right way up again.

Höller's perception-altering goggles are very disorientating. You feel a bit seasick and unsure of your steps.

Carsten Höller, Two Flying Machines, 2015 © Carsten Höller. Installation View Carsten Höller l Decision, Hayward Gallery, London 2015. Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian Gallery. Photo © Ela Bialkowska

Carsten Höller, Two Flying Machines, 2015 © Carsten Höller. Installation View Carsten Höller l Decision, Hayward Gallery, London 2015. Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian Gallery. Photo © Ela Bialkowska

More queuing! This time to be harnessed to one of the Two Flying Machines. You can pretend you're Icarus flying over the Waterloo Bridge. Except that you're just dangling from a big arm and slowly rotating while other visitors and the odd guy on the top the double deckers are pointing at you.

Carsten 2014 and Reflections On Her EyesReflections On My Eyes.jpg
Carsten Höller, Dice (White Body, Black Dots), 2014 and Reflections On Her Eyes, Reflections On My Eyes, 1996_2015 © Carsten Höller. Installation view Carsten Höller_ Decision, Hayward Gallery, London, 2015

Carsten Höller, Half Mirror Room, 2008_2015 and Snake, 2014 © Carsten Höller. Installation View Carsten Höller l Decision, Hayward Gallery, London 2015. Courtesy of the artist. Photo © Linda Nylind

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Carsten Höller, Dice (White Body, Black Dots), 2014. Installation view Carsten Höller_ Decision, Hayward Gallery, London, 2015. Courtesy the artist

The top floor of the Hayward also houses Half Mirror Room, a room with floor-to-ceiling mirrors positioned at 90-degree angles to one another, another disorienting experience. How big is this room really? Are these mirrors or is this another of Höller's tricks to play with our perception? In the middle of the room is a super big dice. Instead of black dots, it has holes for children to crawl through.

Carsten Hller Two Roaming Beds Photo.jpg
Carsten Höller, Two Roaming Beds (Grey), 2015. © Carsten Höller. Produced with Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm, and HangarBicocca, Milano. Installation view_ Carsten Höller_ Decision, Hayward Gallery, London, 2015

Carsten Hller Two Roaming Beds Thyssen-Bornewmisza Art Cont.jpg
Carsten Höller, Two Roaming Beds (Grey), 2015 and Half Clock, 2014 © Carsten Höller. Installation View Carsten Höller l Decision, Hayward Gallery, London 2015. Courtesy of the artist and Thyssen-Bornewmisza Art Contemporary

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Carsten Höller, Two Roaming Beds (Grey), 2015 © Carsten Höller. Installation View Carsten Höller l Decision, Hayward Gallery, London 2015. Courtesy of the artist, Photo © Linda Nylind

Meanwhile, two self-navigating robotic beds are quietly gliding around one of the gallery spaces. The beds move in relation to each other, using radio beacons and a laser. During the day, a big sign informs you that you shouldn't touch them but if you have £300 to spare, the beds are yours to sleep in at night. I read that for that price, you also get "dream-enhancing toothpaste."

Carstensomeric Slidesluma.jpg
Carsten Höller, Isomeric Slides, 2015 © Carsten Höller. Installation View Carsten Höller l Decision, Hayward Gallery, London 2015. Courtesy of the artist and LUMA Foundation Photo © Linda Nylind

Carsten Höller, Isomeric Slides, 2015 © Carsten Höller. Installation View Carsten Höller l Decision, Hayward Gallery, London 2015. Courtesy of the artist and LUMA Foundation Photo © Linda Nylind

Höller's shiny Isometric Slides are a very efficient marketing ploy to lure you into the building. They are also the last episode of your journey into the exhibition. You get to climb to the top of the space with a fabric bag and then merrily slide all the way back to normal life.


The catalogue is pure Höller. It takes the form of two books wrapped in glossy white paper. Two because it forces you to decide which one to read first. One of the books contains new short stories by six writers - Naomi Alderman, Jenni Fagan, Jonathan Lethem, Deborah Levy, Helen Oyeyemi and Ali Smith - responding to the theme of decision-making. The other one focuses on the show itself with a photographic interpretation of the multiple ways of experiencing Höller's immersive exhibition and an interview in which the artist talks to curator Ralph Rugoff about participatory art, proprioception, machines for meditation, and aphid's non-sexual mode of reproduction. I haven't looked at the short stories yet but i greatly enjoyed reading the interview.

Decisions is at the Hayward Gallery in London until 6 September.
If you're in London this weekend, do check out the programme of Hayward's performance day on Saturday 18 July, as part of their exhibition Echoes & Reverberations.

As usual, i took some pretty bad photos at the show.

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Shakil Akram Khan: Live and Love

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Published on : 2015-07-13 01:00:00


Shakil Akram Khan: Live and Love

Dates: Current to September 18

My stained-glass like design is a tessellation that is made out of two simple words that convey the message of peace and harmony for all humanity. The words are 'LIVE' and 'LOVE'. The word tiles are made out of the full spectrum of colours denoting the beautiful differences between people but they are identical in shape which symbolizes that in essence we are equal and fundamentally the same. The words fit together perfectly without leaving any gaps. This symbolizes the fact that all humanity is one united family and that we are very close to each other. The words can be read right-side up and up-side down conveying the message that this feeling of universal brotherhood is held by all people even those from the opposite side of the world.


Stantec Window Gallery
24 Spadina Avenue Toronto, ON


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Queen West Yacht Club 2015 Social Calendar

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Published on : 2015-07-12 01:00:00



Programming by Dean Baldwin and Su-Ying Lee

Collaborators participate in a calendar of summer events hosted within the exhibition DEAN BALDWIN: Q.W.Y.C.

For the final farewell to 952 Queen Street West, artist Dean Baldwin, a long time practitioner of convivial scenarios, establishes the Q.W.Y.C., a fictitious yacht club and social venue in situ at MOCCA on the occasion of its closing exhibition.

Sunday, July 12 & Sunday, July 26, 4-6pm
SCHOOL: Colonial Foodstuffs and Cannibalistic Feminisms
(Part of Eating Bodies: Towards a Consummate Consumption)

Sunday, July 12, 4-6pm: Colonial Foodstuffs
Sunday, July 26, 4-6pm: Cannibalistic Feminisms

SCHOOL is a series of informal school-type seminars for people of any and all educational backgrounds. The sessions will revolve, in all sorts of ways, around food, and will involve special guests and gustatory treats in solid and liquid form.

Eating Bodies: Towards a Consummate Consumption
Facilitated by cheyanne turions and Leila Timmins

What else is food, beyond nourishment? This summer session of SCHOOL will focus on the social and aesthetic aspects of food, where eating is considered as act with repercussions beyond the fulfillment of a basic need. Drawing on texts that operate outside of the sentimentality and machismo pervasive in much food writing, taste will be explored as something conditioned by class, gender, culture and history. Born of a desire to indulge and critically interrogate our tastes, especially as they resonate outward from our own plates, we hope to use food as symbol for human relations, exploring patterns of interaction between and within societies.

SCHOOL is organized by Jonathan Adjemain and Xenia Benivolski and co presented with No Reading After the Internet.


Sunday, July 12, 6:30-8pm
Steve Gurysh & Craig Fahner Olympic Flame BBQ

6:30-7pm: Screening of How to improve the World (you will only make things worse)
7-8pm: BBQ

A radioactive wand is waved, an Olympic flame is beamed across the sky, and a coal mine burns forever beneath the Earth. A history of energy proceeds not just through rational gestures, but through the stuff of magic, of stealing from the gods.

In How to improve the world (you will only make things worse), Craig Fahner and Steve Gurysh draw from the genealogy of energy to enact a magical circuit, transporting a flame across time and space. Referencing such events as the 1976 Montreal Olympic torch relay, this work remystifies technological process into Promethean ritual, highlighting the absurdities of the Modernist spectacle.

After the screening we will serve BBQ prepared on the Olympic flame.

Co-presented with 8/11

Sunday, July 19, 4-6pm
Basil AlZeri: اهلا و سهلا سعاد وشافع / Welcome Suad and Shafi: A pot luck party

Basil AlZeri's parents, Suad and Shafi, are visiting Canada for the first time. In honour of this occasion, AlZeri is hosting a pot luck party and performance at MOCCA to introduce his parents to residents of the city and the Toronto Arts Community. Please bring something to share, if you are able, and join Basil in this extension of hospitality and family.

AlZeri's mother Suad has worked on a number of food based projects with him. On her visit to Canada, Suad is expecting to encounter a lot of animals and insects. In anticipation, she asked her son to spray his garden, porch, entrance and all window frames with insecticide and disinfect his home, although AlZeri's parents may not stay with him.


Friday, July 24
Diane Borsato: Museum Arrangements

Diane Borsato will be producing Sogetsu-style Ikebana flower arrangements using objects and left-over materials from museum installations and receptions.

She will be working on the ephemeral sculptures in the gallery on Friday July 24. The arrangements will be on view for approximately one week following their construction.

Tuesday, August 11, 5-7pm
The League of Women of Great Personal Charm and Wit, Exemplary Whiskey Drinkers, Feminists, Defenders of the Earth, Citizen Smokers, Survivors of Many Neglects and Troubles

Join the scotch club TLWGPCW for the apéro, to discuss art and politics over a glass of irresistible malt.

Please RSVP with Maryse Larivière at

Sunday, August 16, 3pm
Walter Scott – A Home Underground: A Wendy Meta-Fiction

In Wendy's favorite feminist sci-fi book, A HOME UNDERGROUND by Kate Ecker, an armoured space-traveller, on the run from her past, collides with earth and burrows underground to begin writing her 2000-page book. Wendy, feeling trapped, bored and alone in her hot, sticky sublet in L.A, falls into the comfort of this acrid fiction - until the lines between her reality, the novel, and our collective fictions begins to blur. A live, two-person performance at MOCCA, featuring voices, images, and sound.

Wednesday, August 19, 6pm
Henri Fabergé: Feint of Hart

A site-specific performance created by transmedia storytelling artist Henri Fabergé in collaboration with Kayla Lorette and Miguel Rivas. Join General Headmaster Abner Lorette and the cadets of Boyce Naval Academy for a performance of music and improvised comedy, re-contextualizing the installation within the world of the 2010 cult favourite “punk rock soap opera” Henri Fabergé’s Feint of Hart.

Artworkers Retirement Society
Kaye and Paul Beeston
Jane Humphreys and Ron Lalonde
Julia and Gilles Ouellette
Eb and Jane Zeidler
Paul and Mary Dailey Desmarais
Bonnie and Hart Hillman


Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art
952 Queen Street West Toronto ON | 416.395.0067 |
Gallery Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 11-6
Admission: PWYC
Media Inquiries: Mark Savoia | 416.395.7490 |

All programs and activities of the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art are supported by Toronto Culture, the Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, BMO Financial Group, individual memberships and private donations.

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Group Exhibition: SHOW.15

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Published on : 2015-07-11 01:00:00



Exhibition: July 11 – August 29
Joint Friday Night ART Live Summer Party: Friday, July 17, 7:00pm with Here and Now: The Art of Gary Taxali, Design at Riverside
Idea Exchange | Queen’s Square, 1 North Square, Cambridge, ON

Seats available on bus from Toronto to Cambridge for opening night on Friday, July 17!
Departing from the Drake Hotel (1150 Queen St W, bus parked on Beaconsfield Rd) at 5:30pm sharp.
Returning to Toronto at the Drake Hotel at 11:30pm (Departing from Cambridge at 10:00pm sharp).
RSVP to Cherie Fawcett, Gallery Assistant at
Seats are $5, funds are collected on the bus.

Now in its 6th year, SHOW.15 brings together emerging artists from across Ontario whose works, processes and preoccupations are the newest and latest in the ever-changing world of contemporary art. The exhibition is exclusively dedicated to those new on the scene, and gives a necessary and well deserved voice to the most ambitious and dedicated.

Selected from an open call for submissions, the 15 artists chosen for SHOW.15 shed light on what’s happening today and what Ontario will have to offer to the world of contemporary art in the coming years. It is a clear marker of the pulse of the current art scene in its broadest terms.

Franco Arcieri (Toronto, ON)
Jessica Bell (Ottawa, ON)
Danièle Dennis (Toronto, ON)
Samuel de Lange (Toronto, ON)
Juliane Foronda (Toronto, ON)
David Hanes (Toronto, ON)
Monika Hauck (Guelph, ON)
Stefan Herda (Toronto, ON)
Daniel Griffin Hunt (Toronto, ON)
Nicole Levaque (Hamilton, ON)
Kristine Mifsud (Toronto, ON)
Tegan Moore (London, ON)
Jasmine Reimer (Guelph, ON)
Miles Rufelds (Ottawa, ON)
Polina Teif (Toronto, ON)

Curated by Iga Janik

Image: Polina Teif. Plastic Bag (Selection Brand), 2013. Courtesy of the artist.

1 North Square, Cambridge, ON N1S 2K6
T: 519.621.0460
Mon - Thurs 9:30 – 8:30pm
Fri - Sat 9:30 – 5:30pm
*Sun 1:00 – 5:00pm
*Closed on Sundays from May 17 – September 6

Admission is free; all are welcome.
For more information, visit, call 519.621.0460 or follow on Twitter @IdeaXchngART.

Media Contact:
Tamara Neill
Publicity and Promotions Specialist
Idea Exchange
1 North Square, Cambridge, ON N1S 2K6
T: 519.621.0460 x187


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Group Exhibition: Waterfall

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Published on : 2015-07-10 01:00:00


Studio 109 Presents


July 10 - August 23
Opening: Friday July 10, 5 - 8 pm
Closing Party: Sunday August 23, 12 noon

Curatorial Statement

"Since antiquity waterfalls have been depicted to express the wild spectacle of nature. In more recent times falling water has been used to help fuel our daily activities and devices from fountains to waterwheels and clocks. Present day electrical grids, many of them fuelled by the force of falling water, helps to supplement the tremendous amount of energy needed for gadgets and electronic networks. In art, we see more recent iterations of waterfalls by such contemporaries as Pat Steir and Olafur Eliasson, each having their own take on the power and aesthetics of falling water. The connection to water and its transition from river to lake to ocean, is akin to our personal journeys and brings together six artists who refer to this force of nature: Marie Bohm, Troy David Ouellette, Geordie Shepherd, Amy Klinkhamer, Geri Binks, and Lynn Gilbert."

For more information go to...

or contact Marie Bohm at

Studio 109 is located at 109 Main St, Thedford, ON

Gallery Hours
Thurs - Sun, 12 - 5 pm, and by appointment



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Centre3 for Print and Media Arts presents: Pop-Up Shop and Art Match Along Barton Street E.

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Published on : 2015-07-10 01:00:00

Centre [3] for Print and Media Arts presents:
Pop-Up Shop and Art Match Along Barton Street E.
During the Pan Am Games between Lottridge and Barnsdale

Curated by Rita Camacho Lomeli, Jim Riley, Ingrid Mayrhofer
Run Date from July 10 to July 26, 2015
Opening reception: Friday July 10, 2015 (7:00 to 10:00 p.m.) at 749 A Barton St. E


What do the upcoming 2015 Pan Am Soccer Games have to do with contemporary art?

Centre[3] for Print and Media Arts is a “proud IGNITE community partner” on Hamilton’s cultural program for the games. From July 10th to the 26th Centre[3] – with support from Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council and Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Recreation, and the City of Hamilton – will present visual and media arts installations and a hands-on multi-arts event in the Sherman neighbourhood on Barton Street East. The program includes Pop Up Shop - an exhibition showcasing visual and media artists from our region and from across Ontario, and ArtMatch - a community based event with performances and hands-on printmaking, poetry, music and dance. These cultural activities will take place within walking distance of the soccer stadium, along Barton Street from Barnsdale Avenue to Prospect Avenue.

Pop Up Shop Visual Artists invite the audience to window shop at the seven window display interventions at various locations on Barton Street, available for viewing 24/7. Rita Camacho Lomeli, who has experience in bringing art projects to “non-gallery spaces”, will curate this section. Participating artists from Hamilton and other parts of Ontario include Brendan Fernandes, Erik Jerezano, Amelia Jimenez, Fiona Kinsella/ Vesna Trkulja-Stevens, Steve Mazza, Shelley Niro and Dianne Pearce. These artists will use the shop windows as a tool of exhibition and display.

Pop Up Shop Media Arts consists of three installations at 749A Barton Street East on view for three consecutive weekends from July 10th to July 26th. After the July 10th opening, the installations may be viewed on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 6 pm. Jim Riley, the curator of the exhibition, has roots on Barton Street that date back decades. June Pak’s installation will feature the sights and sounds of a stadium crowd. David Bobier, a new-media artist, will incorporate the sounds of Barton into a tactile vibrating artwork. Camille Turner, who grew up near Barton Street, will gather some of the oral history of Barton Street to incorporate into her artwork.

To conclude the weekend opening event, Art Match will take place July 12th from noon to 3 pm, at St Anthony of Padua Church on Barton Street at Prospect. The afternoon invites neighbours and visitors to celebrate soccer through the arts. Coordinator Ingrid Mayrhofer, is a visual artist and soccer fan, who has extensive experience working with communities in Hamilton and abroad. Ingrid has invited artists Matt McInnes, Klyde Broox, Kojo Easy Damptey and Alex Menjivar (Sound Effect Crew), to engage neighbours and visitors in hands-on printing of t-shirts and flags, as well as poetry and dance. The ArtMatch team will lead a parade on Barton Street to view the visual and media arts installations, and finish with an after-party at 749A Barton Street East, from 5 to 7 pm. Matthew Green, City Councillor of Ward 3, will bring words of greeting at 2 pm.

Opening Weekend Schedule:

Friday, July 10, 7 – 10 pm: Kick-off opening reception at 749A Barton Street E.

Saturday, July 11, 12 – 6 pm: Art & Craft Fair at 749A Barton Street E.

Sunday, July 12, noon – 3 pm: ArtMatch – hands-on t-shirt printing, music, poetry, dance, and food, at Saint Anthony of Padua Church Performance 2:00 pm, followed by a parade at 3 pm along Barton Street to the art installations, and after-party at 749A Barton Street E, 5 – 7 pm

Exhibitions run July 10 – 26:

Visual Arts Installations in storefronts along Barton Street between Barnsdale and Lottridge are on view 24/7

Media Arts Installations are on view at 749 A Barton St. E on weekends: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 6 pm.


Artist Contact
Brendan Fernandes (Newmarket)
Erik Jerezano (Toronto)
Amelia Jimenez (Toronto)
Fiona Kinsella (Hamilton)
Steve Mazza (Hamilton)
Shelley Niro (Brantford)
Dianne Pearce (London)
June Pak (Toronto)
David Bobier (Thorndale)
Camille Turner (Toronto)

Curator Contact
Rita Camacho Lomeli
Jim Riley
Ingrid Mayrhofer

Media Contact:

Centre[3] for Print and Media Arts
173 James St. N,
Hamilton, ON. L8R2K0

Monday - Friday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Saturday 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.


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Group Exhibition: A minimal doubt

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Published on : 2015-07-10 01:00:00

Vincent Chevalier, Still from “GPOY Fountain (After Bruce Nauman),” 2012, Animated GIF

A minimal doubt

Curated by Adam Barbu
Featuring works by Vincent Chevalier, Shan Kelley and Andrew McPhail

July 10 – 19, 2015
Vernissage: July 10, 7:00 -10:00pm
Videofag: 187 Augusta Avenue, Toronto, ON


Bringing together recent works by Vincent Chevalier, Shan Kelley and Andrew McPhail, A minimal doubt explores themes of loss, desire and slowed-down futurity by placing minimalism in dialogue with HIV/AIDS today. These artists animate cross-sectional readings on poz status and aesthetic value, introducing a potential deferral of ‘self-knowledge’ through queered forms of language and text.

A minimal doubt moves away from older modernist aesthetic principles that emphasize the absolute importance of material consistency and the decisive, specific use of form. Instead, it explores the contingent formalisms that belong to everyday experience, a shift that introduces a certain unraveling identification of the [queer] speaking subject. Here, the title and working concept for the exhibition - a minimal doubt - expresses a particularly useful tension. When we state that doubt is minimal, it evokes a kind of implicit hope. At the same time, the utterance of this term points to a kind of productive skepticism whereby the forces of inaction, obsolescence and ambiguity remain at the center of the discussion.

This exhibition is not meant to offer an essentialist account of the contemporary HIV/AIDS experience, or even to ground it in familiar, detached narratives of queer resistance. Rather, it underlines a deconstructive sensibility that reaches beyond the logic of ‘queer representation’ – namely, the discursive reproduction of a consistent, entrenched brand of identity that depends on the assumption of a shared script of intergenerational struggle.


187 Augusta Avenue
Toronto, Ontario
M5T 2L4

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OpenSurgery, a DIY laparoscopic surgery robot

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Published on : 2015-07-09 09:26:57

Frank Kolkman, OpenSurgery, 2015

Frank Kolkman, OpenSurgery, 2015

Robots are transforming surgery. The Da Vinci Surgical System, for example, allows long and complicated procedures to be performed with super human precision and dexterity. All while decreasing patient trauma and providing a more comfortable experience for the surgeon.

Costing up to $2.000.000 however, a surgical robot represents large capital investments and only becomes cost effective after intensive use and thus fits into a more "market driven" concept of healthcare that indirectly contributes to the overall rising medical expenditures.

da_Vinci_action_024003 5x7_150dpi.jpg
A surgeon sitting in an ergonomic control console, a few meters removed from the operating table, uses specialized joysticks to control a variety of tiny surgical instruments attached to robotic arms

One of the corollaries of expensive professional healthcare is the rise of communities of uninsured Americans who share videos on Youtube to demonstrate how they performed medical hacks on themselves.

Henry Knoll, How to make your own dental fillings to performing minor amateur surgery, $5 DIY Cosmetic Dentistry, 2009

Designer Frank Kolkman, a new graduate of the Design Interactions course at the Royal College of Art in London, wondered if a compromise could be found. His OpenSurgery project investigates whether building DIY surgical robots, outside the scope of healthcare regulations, could provide an accessible alternative to the costly professional healthcare services worldwide.

There have been several attempts within the robotics community to come up with cheaper and more portable surgical robots. The RAVEN II Surgical robot, for example, was initially developed with funding from the US military to create a portable telesurgery device for battlefield operations. The machine is valued at $200.000 and all of the software used to control the RAVEN II has been made open source. However, The Raven doesn't have the (often costly) safety and quality control systems in place, required by regulation to allow it to be used on humans meaning that it might take a while before the RAVEN II will be fully embraced by regulatory and commercial worlds. In any case, most medical hacker communities would still be unable to afford its $200.000 price tag.

Frank Kolkman, OpenSurgery, 2015

Frank Kolkman, OpenSurgery, 2015

For the past five months, Kolkman has thus been trying to build a DIY surgical robot for around $5000, by using accessible prototyping techniques like laser cutting and 3d printing and by sourcing as many ready-made parts as he could find.

Designing a surgical robot that could perform laparoscopic surgery (a surgery so minimally invasive that it is also called keyhole surgery) presents a number of challenges. The designer found an answer to each of them:

- the many laporoscopic tools that the robot would have to handle can be ordered directly from their Chinese manufacturers using Alibaba.
- these tools are usually sterilized in an autoclave, a machine that uses high pressure and hot steam that is not very likely to be accessible to many people. The bulky machine could be replaced by a domestic oven (for stainless steel instruments) or a microwave (for plastic parts.)
- Kolkman also replaced the trocar, a medical device that functions as a portal for the subsequent placement of other instruments, with a design that uses 3d printed parts controlled by DC servo motors that rotate around a central pivotal point.

Opensurgery_Domestic sterilization.jpg
Frank Kolkman, OpenSurgery (domestic sterilization), 2015

The electronics to control the robots were copied from designs used in 3d printer communities, while the software was build with Processing.

The main challenge the designer encountered however was intellectual property. In a bid to make the project open source, Kolkman tried to develop his own mechanisms. Unfortunately, it appeared that most of the fundamental concepts that allow robotic surgery have already been patented. Fortunately, he also found out that as long as you make parts protected by intellectual property in private and for non commercial purposes they are theoretically exempted from patent infringement.

Frank Kolkman, OpenSurgery, 2015

After five months of iteration, the robot does move. The designer concludes:

And based on my experiences the concept of a DIY surgical robot is surprisingly plausible. If you would be able to build a community of makers who bring the same amount of attention and dedication to building surgical tools as they do to designing 3d printers and cnc machines these days, I believe accessible DIY surgery equipment would be within reach.

And of course you still need a trained surgeon to operate the machine.

Frank Kolkman, OpenSurgery, 2015

Frank Kolkman, OpenSurgery, 2015

Frank Kolkman, OpenSurgery, 2015

Frank Kolkman, OpenSurgery, 2015

Frank Kolkman, OpenSurgery, 2015

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Karen Tam | Matthew Hayes

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Published on : 2015-07-09 01:00:00

July Openings at Artspace

Karen Tam - Terra dos Chinês Curio Shop
Matthew Hayes – Please Do The Needful

July 9 – August 22, 2015

Opening Reception July 9, 7-10pm

378 Aylmer Street North
Peterborough, Ontario

Please join Artspace on Thursday July 9, 2015 from 7 to 11pm as we celebrate the opening of two new exhibitions: Karen Tam – Terra dos Chinês Curio Shop and Matthew Hayes – Please Do The Needful. Both artists will be in attendance.



Karen Tam
Terra dos Chinês Curio Shop
Gallery 1

Karen Tam’s Terra dos Chinês Curio Shop is an a body of work that challenges the corporeal relationship of place, its history, and asscoaieted community. Specifically, Tam challenges Westerners to unpack their relationship with Chinese kitch, the roots of which are stepped in Orientalist imagery.

Filled with fabricated and found curios, fakes and authentic objects, and a mixture of everyday items with antiques, the large-scale installation welcomes viewers into a DIY chinoiserie, styled after the exoticized spaces of San Francisco or New York Chinatown curio emporiums of the 1930s and 1940s. These curio shops emerged in early 20th century Chinatowns as an economic niche which, through the use of material culture, served to generate income and mediate interactions with non-Chinese instead of relying exclusive on the local Chinese customer base. Terra dos Chinês Curio Shop comes out of Tam’s interest and research into trade routes, fakes, commodities, trinkets, authenticity, contemporary Asian “knock-off” culture, and the roots of Chinese curio shops. The fabricated objects within the installation are based on East Asian and chinoiserie objects commonly found in museums, private collections, and auction houses, but instead are rendered using everyday materials and methods. Seemingly genuine jade ornaments are sculpted out of soap, porcelain dinnerware are fashioned out of papier-mâché, and silver objects created out of aluminium oven-liner trays. Terra dos Chinês Curio Shop actively subverts the pre-ascribed expectations of the viewer, while calling into question the self-exoticization of Asian culture.

Karen Tam is a Canadian artist whose research focuses on the various forms of constructions and imaginations of seemingly opposing cultures and communities, through her installation work in which she recreates spaces such as the Chinese restaurant, karaoke lounges, opium dens, curio shops and other sites of cultural encounters. She has exhibited her work in solo and group shows throughout Canada, Europe and the USA since 2000, including at venues such as The Drawing Center (New York), Victoria & Albert Museum (London), Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery (UK), CUE Art Foundation (New York), Chelsea Art Museum (New York), Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, University of Toronto (ON), New Art Gallery of Walsall (UK), and the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Past residencies include the Deutsche Börse Residency at the Frankfurter Kunstverein (Germany), RONDO Studios (Austria), Djerassi Resident Artist Program (California), Breathe Chinese Arts Centre (Manchester, UK), Irish Museum of Modern Art (Dublin), Centre A (Vancouver), 501 Artspace (Chonqing, China), and most recently, Impressions Residency at the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts. She has received grants and fellowships from the Canada Council for the Arts, Conseil des arts du Québec, Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada, Fonds de recherché sur la société et la culture de Québec, and Fonds pour la Formation de Chercheurs et l’Aide à la Recherche.

Tam holds a BFA cum laude from Concordia University in Montréal and a MFA in Sculpture from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She lives and works between Montréal and London where she received a PhD in Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths (University of London) in 2014. She is a contributor to Alison Hulme’s (ed.) book, The Changing Landscape of China’s Consumerism (2014), and to John Jung’s book, Sweet and Sour: Life in Chinese Family Restaurant (2010).



Matthew Hayes
Please Do The Needful
Gallery 2

For nearly a year Matthew Hayes worked for an online payment processor in Halifax, Nova Scotia, which catered largely to individuals living in developing nations. As a competitor to Paypal, the company provided online transaction processing for a variety of businesses, most notably a number of multi-level marketing sellers, otherwise known as pyramid schemes. Hayes provided online support to customers through a “support ticket” system, whereby a customer could submit a “problem” ticket, detailing their issue in the hopes of finsing a solution. Over a period of several months Hayes collected the text from a number of these tickets, based on their surprising content – all of them are absurd, many are humorous, and some are unsettling. Please Do The Needful is a phrase Hayes encountered almost daily. A throwback to India’s colonial days, it indicates an imperative of action, but remains unaccompanied by any detailed instructions or guidelines for how such action should be performed – indeed, what the problem is at all. Using this phrase as a metaphor, Please Do The Needful represents the barriers to and limits of cross-cultural communication, raising questions around the effects of globalization and neocolonialist business practices, and the ethics and efficacy of online interaction.

Compriosed of a selection of appropriated and anonymized text from these support tickets, each of the poster-sized reproductions is headed with the word “Problem”, and then attempts to provide a “Solution”. Ranging from simple to more complex problems, each subsequent reposnse becomes increasingly bizzare, highlighting the outwardly problematic nature of the interaction.

Matthew Hayes is an emerging Peterborough-based filmmaker, academic, and artist. Primarily using video and archival material, his work explores the boundaries between fiction and nonfiction, documentary objectivity, and communication and ethics. He has his BA and MA in Anthropology, and is currently working towards his PhD in Canadian Studies at Trent University, his research for which will explore Canada’s UFO archive. Please Do The Needful is his first solo exhibition.


If you have any questions please contact:

Jon Lockyer


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Marc De Pape: The Chime

Feed : Akimbo exhibitions feed
Published on : 2015-07-08 01:00:00


Marc De Pape
The Chime
July 8 – August 8, 2015

InterAccess is proud to present Marc De Pape’s The Chime live in-gallery this summer. A unique generative instrument, The Chime measures 27 parameters using 18 sensors, assembled to poetically translate the impulses and flows of its surroundings into music. This is the first time The Chime will appear live alongside a selection from De Pape’s visual album, Scoring The City. Featuring original data recordings taken from various installations of The Chime across Toronto, these videos capture the idiosyncrasies occurring on street level and display the generative capacity of landscape.

Inspired by Georg Simmel’s notion of the blasé (an indifference towards the difference between things), De Pape explores the relationship between sensing technology and the routines of everyday life. Just as a traditional wind chime creates sound out of air currents, The Chime reinterprets the city into unique sonic arrangements through elaborate sensor mapping and data visualization.

Originally designed to record data for future playback, The Chime’s live installation presents an immediately responsive composition. Visitors to the gallery will experience delight—and resist the blasé—as The Chime translates their presence and interaction into beautifully composed music.

Join us for the opening reception at InterAccess on Wednesday, July 8 from 7-9pm. The artist will be in attendance.

Marc De Pape is a creative technologist interested in creating novel interactions and unique representations of data. Prior to completing a Master’s in Design in Digital Futures at OCAD University, De Pape studied Computation Arts at Concordia University. Between studies De Pape directed music videos (including Tegan and Sara’s Alligator) in addition to working as a Video Producer and Audio Visual Specialist at the Royal Ontario Museum. He currently works as an Experience Designer, exploring the spaces where people and technology meet.

Exhibition-related events at InterAccess

Opening Reception
Wednesday July 8, 2015, 7-9pm.

Brunch Conversation Series
The Sound that Place Makes
Saturday, July 11, 2015, 12-2pm

Join artists Marc De Pape and Michael Trommer in conversation at InterAccess. Over a catered brunch, the artists will discuss the ways that location, space, and place-making are addressed and disseminated within their practices.

The InterAccess brunch series was recently named a Canadian Art Must-See.
Space is limited. Visit for tickets. $15 / $10 students.

Gallery Hours

Please note that our gallery hours have changed!

Tuesday - Saturday, 11-6
Open until 8pm each Wednesday
Admission is always free

For more information, contact:
Marissa Neave, Programming Coordinator
416-532-0597 ext. 21

Marc De Pape, The Chime, 2013, 18 sensors within an acrylic enclosure, sound, video. Courtesy the artist.


Founded in 1983, InterAccess is a public gallery, educational facility and production studio dedicated to the creative use of technology, electronic art and new media culture. Our programs support art forms that integrate new technologies, from conception and development to exhibition and discussion. We provide a public forum for the development of practices involving interactivity, networked and remote connection, and the interface of the physical and the virtual. InterAccess is regarded as a preeminent Canadian arts and technology centre.

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