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Bunker 2 Contemporary Art Container
346 Campbell Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M6P 3V9
Maya Ben David
Tough Guy Mountain
Since the 1960’s and up until our current (post) digital age that contemporary art has flippantly fixated on and hastily flown past, the number of video artists have increased dramatically. Often times, for reasons spanning artistic autobiography to counter-cultural critique, artists have created digital personas or alter-egos that live within virtual worlds. Artists Rachel Maclean, Tabita Rezaire, Tough Guy Mountain, Maya Ben David, Jeremy Bailey, Bridget Moser, and Dennis Day all typify different approaches to digital selfhood, and the opportunities that exist for critique to be explored via virtual identities.
Due in some part to the democratization of video-editing and developing software and the ever increasing availability of production equipment, artists now, more than ever, have ample opportunity to become 2-dimensional virtual subjects within their own practices. Many of these artists have pinched the nerve of current digital/real identity tensions that originate from the friction of Internet representation. Through various doppelgängers, the included artists exemplify the difficulty of veracity in our electronic selves.
Although new technologies and media may typify contemporary video artists, alternative personalities that are performative in nature have always been integral to certain video practices. Often involving identity construction, satirical socio-political stand-ins, and externalized subjects that can critique mainstream or traditional culture away from the artists’ own self, artist-created alter-egos have the ability to act as powerful agents for contemporary discourse. North American society is dominated by virtual representations of the self through social media. Each artist’s digital persona epitomizes our own ability to curate our digital image, disassociating and confusing the real from the cyber self. Symptomatic of our current 21st century state of constant virtual representation, the collection of artists symbolize the difficultly in separating ourselves from our online personalities while also showcasing how powerful these disassociated avatars can be when truly used for political and critical avenues.
As part of The Wrong Biennale, the exhibtion will be available for view in gallery and on bunker2.ca
Image: «Memory Foam», Bridget Moser, 2015
Rachel Maclean has had solo exhibitions at the Zabludowicz Collection, London (2014), Edinburgh Printmakers (2013), Collective Gallery, Edinburgh (2013), Trade Gallery, Nottingham (2013) and Generator Projects, Dundee (2012).Her work has also been shown at the State Museum of Urban Sculpture, St Petersburg, Russia, Tramway, Glasgow, Kunstarkaden, Munich, Germany, Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh, the Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh and as part of Glasgow International Festival. Maclean was selected to represent Scotland in Venice at the 57th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale
Tabita Rezaire is a French — of Guyanese and Danish descent — video artist, health-tech-politix practitioner, and Kemetic/ Kundalini Yoga teacher based in Johannesburg.
Tabita’s practices unearth the possibilities of decolonial healing through the politics of technology. Navigating architectures of power — online and offline — her work tackles the pervasive matrix of coloniality and its affects on technology, sexuality, health and spirituality. Through screen interfaces and energy streams, her digital healing activism offers substitute readings to dominant narratives decentering occidental authority and preaches to dismantle our oppressive white-supremacist-patriarchal-cis-hetero-globalized world screen. Tabita is a founding member of the artist group NTU, half of the duo Malaxa, and mother of the house of SENEB. She is represented by the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg
Jeremy Bailey is a Toronto based Famous New Media Artist. Recent projects include performances for Rhizome's Seven on Seven in New York, The Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and Tate Liverpool. Recent exhibitions include solo exhibitions at Transmediale in Berlin, and group exhibitions at Mediamatic in Amsterdam, Museums Quartier in Vienna and Balice Hertling in Paris. Recent commissions include projects for FACT in Liverpool, Turner Contemporary in Margate UK, and The New Museum in New York.
Tough Guy Mountain is an ongoing project focusing on the glories, trials, and absurdity of late capitalism. As an artist collective of over a dozen members, TGM creates “total works of art”, presentations of capitalist aesthetic and consumer culture. TGM creates narrative performances where the collective plays a fantastical corporation that treats Art as another client. Tough Guy Mountain has received funding from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Toronto Arts Council, the AGO, and OCAD University’s Social Innovation incubator.
Bridget Moser is a performance and video artist whose work is suspended between prop comedy, experimental theatre, performance art, absurd literature, existential anxiety and intuitive dance. She has presented work in venues across Canada, including the Art Gallery of Ontario, Mercer Union, Gallery TPW, The National Arts Centre, MSVU Art Gallery, and Western Front. She has presented projects throughout the US and Europe and has been a resident artist at The Banff Centre and at Fondazione Antonio Ratti in Como, Italy. Her work has been featured in Canadian Art, C Magazine, Visual Arts News, Artribune Italy, The Dance Current, NOWNESS, and a collaborative publication with other FAR residents published by Mousse Magazine.
Maya Ben David (MBD) is a Toronto-based Jewish-Iranian Anthropomorphic Airplane. Working in video, installation and performance, she creates worlds and characters that aid her ongoing exploration of anthropomorphism, cosplay and performative personas. Ben David presents the origin stories of her characters in the form of video and performance, and expands on them via her online presence. They often inhabit alternate universes accompanied by nostalgia, such as the worlds of Pokémon and Spiderman. In addition, Ben David also plays a character called MBD who is known for having multiple feuds with her many alter egos as well as the art world. Most infamously, MBD has ignited online feuds with artists such as Jon Rafman and Ajay Kurian.
Dennis Day was born in Grand Falls, Newfoundland in 1960. He studied classical music and psychology before graduating in media-based art from the Ontario College of Art in Toronto. He has produced numerous video works known for their strong use of editing, rich colours and humour. He has won a number of prizes including the CALQ award in Quebec (2002), the Bulloch Award for Best Canadian Film at the Inside/Out Festival in Toronto (1997), and the VideoFest Award in Berlin, Germany (1995). He has participated in numerous gallery and museum exhibitions including the Museum of Modern Art and the National Gallery of Canada. Television broadcasts include: PBS (USA), TV Ontario, CBC, Vision TV (Canada), NHK (Japan) and Canal Plus (France).