2005

siren(s) | P. Roch Smith | November 11 to December 10, 2005

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Audio funneling down through three heating ducts in the gallery gently beckon small bronze GI Joe figures to their vents. Conversations recounting memories of the sudden death of a family member are attentively listened to by these dwarfed figures. The artist uses the trope of the house in this installation, as a larger metaphor for the memories we house within ourselves. siren(s) is a very personal exhibition for Smith.

“The death of my father when I was fourteen and more recently of my baby daughter have deeply informed my art practice. Death and the attendant memories which speak to loss are inseparable from my personal and artistic self.” – P. Roch Smith

Fittingly opening on Remembrance Day at 8pm, this exhibition runs until December 10 in TRUCK’s main space located in the basement of Calgary’s historic Grain Exchange building.

The Time Machine | Chad Van Gaalen, Mark Feddes and Eric Hamelin | September 2 – October 1, 2005

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The often illusive and ever popular, Chad van Gaalen, in collaboration with Mark Feddes and Eric Hamelin show a dynamic combo of drawing, painting, musical performance and other treats that bring a new meaning to “multi-talented.” The exhibition runs from September 2nd to October 1st, with a reception and artist performance at 8pm, September 2nd. Opening Reception will occur September 9th at 8pm as part of ArtCity.

“The solitary hunter of the Rocky Slopes, Eric Hamelin, is one of the Earth’s rarest species! With almost no vision but sympathy for all humankind, Chad van Gaalen reports on the battlefront while monstrous tidal waves inside Mark Feddes’ brain prevent him from communicating in any other way! Together they form THE TIME MACHINE!”

Strange Bedfellows | Karina Kalvaitis & The Lions | July 8 to August 6, 2005

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“…the relationships created by the drawings of The Lions and the sculptures of Karina Kalvaitis could be considered a little out of the Ordinary. Reminiscent of the fictional places, daydream wanderings, imaginary friends, and sometimes sinister acts of childhood, their artwork is shared world where small stubby pastel pink beasts are half submerged in a block of wood and penguin-like clowns (or are they penguins in clown suits?) waddle in arctic icescapes.”

Beyond the scope | Scott Carruthers | June 3 to June 30, 2005

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Goodbye Cruel Dream World

"Stupid piece of junk" he said, rattling the broken canister. Anubis was riding an elevator up to the thirteenth floor for a long walk to nowhere, but he was convinced into taking a short detour for a few cocktails. "Not like we're in a big rush or anything". The only problem was extracting a bit of loose change to foot the bill. "If anyone asks, God sent me". He had swollen eyes, an amiable lopsided grin, electrodes embedded in his skull, and thin Goyaesque needles pushed under his fingernails.

Lord knows how hard it is when deities appear to you in dreams, much less in waking life. I know that if this were a simple matter of abstract expressionism, I could state my case in terms of countervailing polytonalities, but he avoids the chromatic palette and divines mere figures on a stark background. Fuck.

Dreams are so annoying. Are they all real? Are they all lies? Look within your heart: every damn night our grey matter produces a massive pile of data, most of which is discarded upon waking: is it valid? Does it have a potential 'value' in our lives? Is God telling us something, or is he just pulling chains, reiterating nebulous bits of dust?

As those hoar-encrusted sages of old have futilely attempted to remind us repeatedly throughout history, we are mere bits of a mindless unthinking whole, grinding inexorably down a path of human folly, erecting massive pyramids along the way which inevitably rot, and torturing our fellow humans in the process.

Scott Carruthers' drawings speak through our dreams of history: his grids and panels delineate what might appear upon casual observation to be an alternate document of human civilization. Upon closer observation they reveal an interpretation of the true history of human civilization: mankind in all his glory: monkeys with guns, in the service of an enduring ritual of dominance, subjugation, and degradation.

Carruthers re-creates the fragile first moments when language choked out of us, from when we first came together from disparate hunter-gatherer tribes to form organized hierarchical societies, from when we first worshipped gods, from when we first experienced confidence and delight in the new technologies with which we could more efficiently exploit each other.

Scott Carruthers evokes the age we live in now.

- Egon Von Bark, Toronto

Rounding Error | C0C0S0L1DC1T1 | April 29 to May 28, 2005

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C0C0S0L1DC1T1 challenges the belief that we experience media as an in-situ reality, passively sitting by while we blindly immerse ourselves in the manipulated. In popular culture, we collectively fool ourselves into thinking we are passive observers. As we watch and listen, our histories and emotions filter the world as it is re-presented, twice removing us from the actual, again pushing us into the virtual. Time itself loses meaning as histories combine with the current, melding to form a new “contemporary.”. We bring our own relevance to the mish-mash of the out of context, the dated, the raw, and the foreign. In the same way, C0C0S0L1DC1T1 artists often use unrealized ideas, blueprints and designs from throughout history to create a “C1T1” that reflects the ambiguity in our lives.

As with all urban structures or systems, this Rounding Error (?) becomes a collaborative experience as the artists strive to bring into focus their understandings of our urban world. Video and audio remixing are utilized to manipulate and restructure how we record our surroundings and events. These digital tools may also be, “digital structures of sound and video that don't meet the safety code ...whose floors and walls dissolve when we are there.”. This re-mixing, extending and layering can also create the sense of rawness or dysfunction that truly living in the present can bring.

-Kari McQueen (Calgary)


C0C0S0L1DC1T1

Based in Manchester, UK; Paris, France and Montreal, Canada, C0C0S0L1DC1T1 is a sound, video and Internet art collec- tive that produces digital audiovisual artworks. They commission international sound & music artists and video/animation/Internet artists to collaborate on DVD/CD productions and Internet based projects. C0C0S0L1DC1T1 curates performance programs and exhibitions for festivals, museums and galleries around the world. Rounding Error is a selection taken from three years of projects produced through the C0C0S0L1DC1T1 label.

Consumptuous | Shelley Miller | March 25 to April 16, 2005

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Who really likes cake? When attending a function with a cake present, do we eat it because we love cake, or is it eaten as an acknowledgment of its presence? While a cake more often than not sits half-eaten, losing its sugary allure by the second, only to be inevitably thrown away (regrettable only to whoever made it), we simply cannot celebrate without a cake. Whether eaten or not, a cake must be present. Birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, etc, these sugary slabs and lumps are meant to dazzle, to entice, to inveigle. The cake is not meant merely as a dessert, rather, it is meant to declare, “This is an extraordinary event, else why would I be here?”

Ours is a society of indulgence. We will spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a beautiful, delectable creation simply for show, for aesthetics. This culture of excess is a concern presented in Shelley Miller’s Sumptuous Still Life series. In her photos, Miller references Dutch still life paintings of the 16th and early 17th century, with their contemplations of luxury and excess, wealth and waste. Much the same way that Willem Claesz Heda’s Breakfast Piece (1594-1682) indicates moral turbulence through its teetering tableware and half-eaten oysters, Millar’s compositions of expensive, luxury objects made from cake and left half-consumed, point to a more immediate, contemporary form of societal disarray. We are no longer a civilization contemplating what to do with our excess. Rather, what can’t we do with it? We can drive it, smoke it, decorate it, even eat it. Perhaps the act of eating a Porsche is the best illustration of our gluttony turned to an incessant monstrosity.

Yet while observing this degradation of luxury, Miller also self-consciously participates in what she condemns. What could be more useless, more void of necessary function than a picture? Perhaps, in comparison to the still life paintings, one could say that Miller’s work “is deliberately built on paradox, and that the conflict between world-rejection and world ensnarement is in fact its governing principle.” [1]

- Sarah Adams (Calgary, AB)

[1] Norman Bryson, Looking at the Overlooked: Four Essays on Still Life Painting (Harvard University Press, UK,1990), p 117.

One Month | Don Simmons | February 18 to March 19, 2005

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31 Sentences For One Month

I approach One Month thinking through bodies and institutions.

A few months ago I showed the students in my sculpture class Miranda July’s performance/video The Amateurist. I thought the way she manifested split or mediated subjectivity might be interesting to those engaged in the study of space. Through choice use of wigs, costumes, language and editing July doubles as two characters. They inhabit separate rooms. One observes and instructs the other. The other receives instructions and is observed. Through the use of surveillance technology and a specialized language of management jargon, the watcher appears to be framing the watched. Sometimes, however, the observed propels obscene body language towards the observer. It becomes unclear whose language is framing whom.

About half way through viewing the 14-minute work with the students, I became increasingly conscious of their body language. I read it as alternating between boredom, uneasiness, agitation and incredulousness. It was as if what was going on in the classroom was a doubling or re-enactment of July’s surveillance scene. When the video was over, we tried discussing different ways of reading it. I continued to wonder how one might present or perform the fluctuating architecture of power relationships without consequently implicating viewers.

July’s work articulates the ways individual women internalize and act out power structures. But it is the performances themselves that delight, horrify and otherwise captivate me. The ‘bad’ acting gets under my skin. I recognize these women. They play out their alleged roles within institutional frameworks, using cunning (or busywork) to carve out more, better living space. I receive them through a mix of empathies and accessories. They know how to use style as intelligence. Hysteria as agency.

Clowns and drag artists are also busy agents, almost always up to something. It is rare to see a clown or a drag artist not performing. It is difficult to imagine them not conscious of being looked at or interpreted, which makes me conscious of my own process of looking, of performing. I can’t decide if One Month is full of sadness, ecstasy, identity politics, play, incarceration, decoration, alienation, social catalysis, public or private space, surface or depth, art or life. It holds me long enough to change my mind. As Judith Butler writes, “Perhaps only by risking the incoherence of identity is connection possible.”[1]

[1]. Judith Butler, The Psychic Life of Power: Theories of Subjection. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1997, p. 149.

 - Joanne Bristol (Banff, Alberta)