No Centre, No Limits: Artists on Creating and Exhibiting in Digital Environments
In the experiential online exhibition, THERE IS NO CENTRE, the visual language of gaming is adapted to explore how the presentation of an artwork in a digital environment shifts the viewer’s role as a player and challenges traditional exhibition-making norms. In adopting the first-person player perspective, THERE IS NO CENTRE considers the accepted norms and familiar mechanics of contemporary video gaming, such as choice-based moments, goal-less exploration, and even “loot boxes.” This approach enables a meta-awareness of the medium specificity of online exhibitions. The exhibit features works by Thoreau Bakker, Milumbe Haimbe, Elizabeth LaPensée and Weshoyot Alvitre (et al.), Adrienne Matheuszik, Tom Sherman, Fallon Simard, and Xuan Ye.
About the Artists
Katie Micak is a hybrid professional with curatorial, research and artistic practices focused on technology’s effect on space, relationships, emotional states and our collective understanding of shifting realities. She is one of the founding members and returning curators of Vector Festival. Vector Festival began as an independent initiative highlighting video game-based artwork as a mode of research and personal expression. Vector Festival is now part of the Toronto based ARC, InterAccess’ annual programming, and now showcasing a broad range of digital art across diverse presentation platforms.
Micak has worked as Gallery Director of Spark Contemporary Art Space (Syracuse, NY) and Propeller Gallery (Toronto), as Digital Media Presentation Specialist at the Phillips Collection (Washington, DC), curated the Toronto Kids Digital Festival, and recently as curator and artist residency coordinator at the Living Arts Centre for the City of Mississauga. As an educator, Micak has developed and delivered courses for Syracuse University in the department of Transmedia, and at Brock University in the department of Communications, Popular Culture, and Film. She has also held teaching academic positions at OCAD University and Western University in visual arts. She holds an MFA from Syracuse University in Transmedia: Video Art, and an MA in Digital Futures from OCAD University.
Thoreau Bakker is a Toronto-based artist and academic. Initially a sculptor, Bakker engages with digital fabrication artworks for public space and how physical objects shift to digital spaces. Bakker is a PhD candidate in the Media & Design Innovation at Toronto Metropolitan University, and is currently exploring social interaction in online multiplayer video games as a subset of virtual environments, searching for alternatives to combat based game affordances, in hopes of making virtual environments welcoming and accessible.
Adrienne Matheuszik is a mixed Jamaican & settler-Canadian interdisciplinary artist in Toronto. Adrienne has had unsupervised access to the internet since she was nine years old. Adrienne uses computers to make art — video, physical computing, creative coding & 3D design — which usually result in interactive installations, augmented reality, short film and video. Her work explores ideas of representation & identity online and IRL. She is interested in speculative futures and using sci-fi to examine the possibility of the post-colonial.
Adrienne has an MFA from OCAD University from the Interdisciplinary Masters of Art Media and Design Graduate program (2019), and a BFA from University of Ottawa with a specialization in New Media Art (2014).
Tom Sherman is an artist and writer. He works across media (video, radio, performance, print and the Web). From a phenomenological perspective, he is obsessed with tracking perception and experience through description and to this end he authors all manner of texts. He represented Canada in “Canada Video” at the Venice Biennale in 1980, and for over five decades his interdisciplinary work has been featured in hundreds of international exhibitions and festivals, including the Vancouver Art Gallery, National Gallery of Canada, Museum of Modern Art (New York), Whitney Museum of American Art, Documenta X, Ars Electronica, Tate Britain, the Impakt Festival, Kassseler Dokfest, and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid. In 1997 he founded Nerve Theory, a recording and performance duo with Viennese musician and composer Bernhard Loibner, and has been a contributor to many radio art programs on Kunstradio, the Austrian Broadcasting System, and other radio venues internationally from 1997 to 2021. He has published extensively, including Cultural Engineering, National Gallery of Canada, 1983, and Before and After the I-Bomb: an Artist in the Information Environment, Banff Centre Press, 2002. He received the Bell Canada Award for excellence in video art in 2003, and Canada’s Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Art in 2010. Sherman is professor emeritus in the Department of Film and Media Art at Syracuse University.
Fallon Simard is an Anishinaabe-Metis interdisciplinary, artist, filmmaker, educator and policy writer from Couchiching First Nation in Grand Council Treaty #3 Territory. He is an interdisciplinary artist, research fellow at the Yellowhead Institute, policy analyst at the Chiefs of Ontario, and Owner of Contrary Company. His professional appointments enable research into social policy fields such as gender identity, mental-health, child-welfare, and mortality. The experience in these fields propels Simard to create artwork that directly investigates policy and theory in these areas through video, illustration, and memes. Thirza Cuthand in a review in Canadian Art describes Simard’s work “as firmly situated within a strong history in Canada of experimental Indigenous video art. Their experimental, politically charged work gets to the heart of issues of Indigenous sovereignty and struggle.” Simard graduated from OCAD University through the interdisciplinary Masters of Art, Media and Design program. He has exhibited at the Art Gallery of Peterborough, curated for the Queer Art Festival in Toronto, written policy for the Yellowhead Institute at Toronto Metropolitan University and participated in Plug In ICA’s Summer Institute.
Xuan Ye 叶轩 works across various contexts of art, music, design and technology. Their works cohere around hacking-informed noisemaking, the erratum and the untranslatable. They make bots, edibles, digital neon signs and other multisensory networked experiences synthesizing language, code, sound, body, image, data, light, and time.
The artist has appeared internationally at the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art (CN), the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto Canada, Venice Architecture Biennale (IT), Fonderie Darling (CA), the Art Gallery of Ontario (CA), Inside-out Art Museum (CN), the Goethe-Institut (Beijing & Montreal), ArtAsiaPacific, KUNSTFORUM (GE), among others. They have performed at numerous experimental music festivals and DIY shows as a musician. Their live performances and releases have received critical accolades from Bandcamp, Musicworks and Exclaim!.