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Streaming Alterity


Curated by Pamela Edmonds and Carla Garnet


Streaming Alterity explores the recent histories of feminist activism, anti-racism, animal drag, and the poetics of personal journeys, featuring selected works by Rebecca Belmore (Vancouver), Emelie Chhangur, Johanna Householder, Pamila Matharu (Toronto), Nadia Myre (Montreal), Natalie Wood, and Christina Zeidler (Toronto). Shown in juxtaposition, these works put into play terms like “alterity” or “otherness” and "critical pedagogy," signifying a balance between theory and practice. Using the language of exhibition to investigate relationships between video and sculptural artworks, Streaming Alterity looks at received notions of "otherness," offering a means to (re)negotiate and subvert binary opposites in modernist culture including order/chaos, nature/culture, mind/body, reality/illusion, high art/low art.


Rebecca Belmore’s Untitled is a three part self-image work that re-presents the classical reclining figure as one bound in cloth and suspended in stasis, disrupting our otherwise passive gaze by asking viewers to reflect on their practice of looking. Similarly, Emelie Chhangur’s video PASSING FOR WHITE; PASSING FOR BLACK IN SÃO PAULO, acknowledges how fully one relies on performance for the maintenance of political and cultural structures. In this work the artist, a first generation Canadian who passes for black in her home country, finds herself passing for white in Brazil. Christina Zeidler engages humour to investigate the notion of alterity in Machine Guts, a video that features a deer in a business suit typing away at a computer while a voice-over narrates the story of Anne, a bored retail worker. Johanna Householder also employs irony in her multi-media work A New Hope. Here Householder restages a famous cry for help from a kidnapped rebel princess with a companion video in which an anachronistic Princess Leia contemplates her own mortality.

Working with youth as artistic collaborators, Pamila Matharu combines critical pedagogy with contemporary art strategies to question the stereotypical roles of artist and teacher – blurring the boundaries that exist within each institutional role. Her installation Future Utopias comprises a large pedagogical map (The Possession of the World Powers, dated 1914), two antique school desks, a text publication also titled Future Utopias, classroom silhouettes, and The Future of Humanity a song composed to play within the fictive space. Wish by Nadia Myre is excerpted from a larger installation entitled The Motion of Grandmothers’ Circle. Myre’s time-based work consists of two digitally-manipulated sequences that operate as active prayer, articulating the artist’s attempts to physically hurdle over gaps of time and memory. Here the simple reduction of Myre’s body to an inky shadow is more than uncanny; by staging her performance in a colonial schema where the spectrum of skin colour is reduced to a binary of white (erroneously signifying the absence of colour) and black.[1]  Natalie Wood’s work Will asks a question. Her video installation references Pat Parker’s poem Legacy, which reveals the important role that “wishes passed from one generation to the next” can have on our ability to create and engage in forms of resistance.




[1] Rhonda Meier, Nadia Myre: Cont[r]act, except from the essay “Bearing It,” Dark Horse Publications, Montreal (2004), p. 15.

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