On Thursday, 23 February, the MacKenzie Art Gallery is excited to debut an art exhibition presented as a playable video game.
Curated by artist and researcher, Katie Micak, THERE IS NO CENTRE is the first in a series of digital exhibitions. This series will be the inaugural projects created through the MacKenzie Art Gallery’s Digital Exhibitions Toolkit and Art Installation Launcher (DETAIL)—an in-development collection of resources for creating a new field of art exhibitions for digital platforms, conceptualized by Digital Exhibitions Consultants Cat Bluemke and Jonathan Carroll, and funded by the Canada Council for the Art’s Digital Strategy Fund. THERE IS NO CENTRE is unique in resembling and functioning like a video game, available to play within your browser, questioning and expanding the boundaries of both digital art and videogames by positioning audience members as players.
Inside the video game exhibition, the show features seven Canadian and Indigenous artists exploring a variety of digital media, including artists Thoreau Bakker, Milumbe Haimbe, Elizabeth LePensée, Adrienne Matheuszik, Fallon Simard, Tom Sherman, and Xuan Ye. Visitors enter the fictitious gallery space in a custom virtual “lobby” before moving on to explore the different works, accessed by riding a directionless elevator. Composed of seven levels, one for each artist’s solo exhibit, these custom digital environments allow guests to explore, interact, and play with the artworks they encounter—including video games, memes, 3D sculptures, Virtual Reality (VR) landscapes and video art.
THERE IS NO CENTRE investigates how contemporary art can be presented in diverse ways and challenges our expectations of how we engage with artwork, while exploring themes of translation, speculation, and consumption in relation to the properties of digital media. As guests navigate through several interactive levels, this online-only exhibition embraces the expanded potential of art presentation in digital spaces and explores the possibilities of virtual space beyond the gallery. The exhibit will be available online through the MacKenzie Art Gallery’s digital projects portal on their website until 24 May 2023.
On Thursday, 23 February from 6 – 7 PM (CST), curator Katie Micak will give a virtual tour of THERE IS NO CENTRE over livestream via Facebook, YouTube and Twitch, discussing the exhibition, and the potential of digital media as it intersects with traditional modes of viewing.
ABOUT KATIE MICAK
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, which started 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 showcases a broad range of digital art across diverse presentation platforms. Micak has also worked as Gallery Director of Spark Contemporary Art Space (Syracuse, NY) and Propeller Gallery (Toronto), worked as the Digital Media Presentation Specialist at the Phillips Collection (Washington, DC), curated the Toronto Kids Digital Festival, and recently worked 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.