20/9/17

Writing:
on JESSICA GROOME

SOFT GLOVE, Erin Stump Projects 




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15/9/17

Writing:
on KATHLEEN RITTER

In Broad Daylight, Visiting Artist Exhibition at Open Studio


The Pickpocket & The Sloth [i]

The Pickpocket is a butterfly.[ii]
The Sloth is a screen.[iii]
The Pickpocket trades in razzle-dazzle.
The Sloth shifts shape and changes colour.
The Pickpocket can turntwo into three and three into two.
The Sloth develops states of interdependence.
The Pickpocket shows up in spit-shined shoes and rolled up sleeves.
The Sloth wears a cloak of moth-eaten rags.
The Pickpocket exposes itself to a state of constant spectacle, a name splashing across headlines.
The Sloth is embedded in a thicket of covert operations, waiting.
The Pickpocket performs pirouettes. 
The Sloth moves with deliberate restraint.
The Pickpocket cuts itself up into separate entities.
The Sloth accumulates methods of disguise and suppression.
The Pickpocket is deceptively visible.
The Sloth is bafflingly ambiguous.
The Pickpocket is an artist.
The Sloth is a camoufleur.[iv]


[i] The semiotics of visibility evolve as a dance between perception and deception. While this negotiation is enacted across numerous conditions and species, each occasion relies on a process of encounter wherein the aim of both entities is endurance – the power to persist. In this spectrum of activity, the pickpocket and the sloth provide useful archetypes to understand the self-perpetuating co-evolution between surveillance technology and obfuscation.

[ii] The pickpocket is a creature that relies on tricks of the eye and slights of hand. It uses powers of fascination, diversion, and disruption to detract from areas of weakness and vulnerability. When its body seems to breakup into apparently unconnected objects, its goal is confusion not concealment. As such, it becomes difficult to determine the edges of its subjectivity or the limits of its control. Try to focus on the flashing scales of an iridescent boa constrictor. Recall early twentieth-century attempts to confound long-range missiles with zebra stripes. Consider the dissimulating consequences of a politician’s blatant and excessive lies. Conspicuously, it hides in plain sight and is thus highly adapted to a variety of environments.

[iii] In contrast, the sloth’s concerns are endemic. Its survival is conditional and subject to its surroundings. Utilizing methods of crypsis such as resemblance, withdrawal, countershading, and post-production, it virtually obliterates its own presence. Its acts are intensely relational: Rock ptarmigans’ seasonal plumage; a Polish sniper in a ghillie suit made of straw; developments in pixelated camouflage against a world increasingly covered in a fine layer of digital snow. Pay attention to IP addresses, 4chan, and reddit. Like money, it is made visible in terms of aftereffect.

[iv]This short text was developed in response to Kathleen Ritter’s ongoing research into disruptive camouflage patterns used on naval battleships during World War I and the labour of the camoufleurs that painted them. In particular, it is informed by the work of two men named Thayer, father and son, artist and accomplice, Abbott and Gerald. Their groundbreaking 1909 text, Concealing Coloration in the Animal Kingdom, outlined various protective strategies found in nature. Notably, they were first to describe the use value of dazzle or high-contrast patterning, particularly by birds and butterflies. With the advent of war, they expanded their research across species to describe potential military applications for their findings. For example, they petitioned the British Navy to paint their fleet white to blend into the North Atlantic’s overcast skies. And while their contemporaries ridiculed their work for its supposed wild universalism (imagine the pink plumage of a flamingo veiled against the setting sun as evolutionary tactic), it has been increasingly corroborated by the scientific, military, and fashion worlds (reflect upon the ubiquity of khaki).

Further reading

"CADPAT." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 30 June 2017.

Behrens, Roy R. "Abbott H. Thayer’s Vanishing Ducks Surveillance, Art, and Camouflage." 22 / Surveillance Summer 14. MAS CONTEXT.

Cott, Hugh B. Adaptive Coloration in Animals. London: Methuen, 1940.

Cuthill, Innes C., Martin Stevens, Jenna Sheppard, Tracey Maddocks, C. Alejandro Párraga, and Tom S. Troscianko. "Disruptive Coloration and Background Pattern Matching." Nature 434.7029 (2005): 72-74.

Stevens, M., and S. Merilaita. "Defining Disruptive Coloration and Distinguishing Its Functions." Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 364.1516 (2009): 481-88.

Suutari, Milla, Markus Majaneva, David P. Fewer, Bryson Voirin, Annette Aiello, Thomas Friedl, Adriano G. Chiarello, and Jaanika Blomster. "Molecular Evidence for a Diverse Green Algal Community Growing in the Hair of Sloths and a Specific Association with Trichophilus Welckeri (Chlorophyta, Ulvophyceae)." BMC Evolutionary Biology 10.1 (2010): 86.

Thayer, Gerald H., and Abbott H. Thayer. Concealing Coloration in the Animal Kingdom. New York: Macmillan, 1909.

Victoria Hattam and Hito Steyerl: Photography and Political Agency? Prod. The Photographic Universe II. Organized by Aperture Foundation and The New School. Web. <http://www.artandeducation.net/videos/photography-and-political-agency-with-victoria-hattam-and-hito-steyerl/>.


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26/9/17

Article:
Canadian Art, Features
A Few Lessons on Making Art for the End of the World by Leah Sandals

What might the world look like in 50 years and what can we do to shape it?” Artists and researchers gathered in Banff this summer to discuss...


Here are some of the lessons that emerged during a brief four-day tour through the constellations and complications of “Year 2067.”


. . .





8. Inspiration can still come from overlooked personal sources—and link those to wider models for change


When I walk into artist Ella Dawn McGeough’s Banff studio, I smell something sweet, sweet almost as honey.

I can’t identify what the source of this smell is, exactly; it could be the grasses and flowers McGeough collected in her mother’s birthplace in nearby Nordegg and piled in the corner, or the lawn clippings she has gathered from the Banff Centre’s own landscaping crew, and that she scattered on the floor.

In the studio, McGeough has mixed this biomatter with flour and other materials—“undoing the discrete object” is one way that McGeough describes this practice and process. Ultimately, these works will only exist as JPEGs and GIFs on McGeough’s laptop, while the rest will decay into landfill.


“I grew up in a very female-oriented society—almost neopagan,” McGeough says. Her research of late has looked at “matriarchal societies and how they might be models for change.”


One woman in particular—McGeough’s mother—also affects this series of work. When she suddenly became sole head of the household, McGeough’s mother started creating dough-art sculptures, shipping them around the globe and using the sales income to sustain her family.


Against one wall of McGough’s studio is a 10-kilogram bag of flour, a material that no doubt permeated her childhood.

“I’m interested in how women congregate and orient themselves,” McGeough says. Material and action, threaded through generations, might be one of these ways.


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7/17
Residency:
Banff Research in Culture: Year 2067


This year’s (2017) Banff Research in Culture program asks: what might the world look like in fifty years and what can we do to shape it?  Moving beyond apocalyptic predictions, post-apocalyptic theories, and techno-utopianism, this program aims to shake up our sense of the political, social, and environmental. We urgently need to interrogate everything from the nation-state system—which assigns vast differences of wealth and opportunity to the good fortune of where one is born and who one is—to the faith in “progress” as a concept that allows us to easily imagine that this year will be more prosperous than the one before it.  2067 asks us to prod and plot the pathway from a present that needs work, to a future that works better.

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17-23/6/17

Exhibition: Kamias Triennial
Quezon City, Philippines


IMAGES! IMAGES! IMAGES! IMAGES! by MM Yu

Kamias Triennial is a weeklong series of events taking place from June 17 to 23 in Quezon City, Philippines. Canadian, Filipino-Canadian and Filipino artists will be brought together as the first part of an international exchange. Canadian artists will travel to the Philippines for the Triennial to undertake residencies, produce new works or performances, and mount an exhibition among Filipino peers. 

Sandwiched between the launch events for the Venice Biennial and Documenta 14, the 2nd Kamias Triennial is conscious of its domestic scale and scope, favouring deep individual involvements that can be informal and open-ended. This project considers the context of globalization as a now-established norm, yet one where uneven ‘national’ relationships often ascribe authority to discourses emerging from the West. The Kamias Triennial unfolds as an alternative to this, beginning in a domestic setting in Quezon City where Canadian artists are welcomed to the Philippines, laying the groundwork for a future project where Filipino artists will be invited to Canada.



Participating Artists: Poklong Anading, Ringo Bunoan, Paul de Guzman, Laurie Kang, Nestor Kruger, Tiziana La Melia, Romeo Lee, Ella Dawn McGeough, Jet Melencio, Colin Miner, Norberto Roldan, Mark Salvatus, Adam Shiu-Yang Shaw, Gerry Tan, Christian Vistan, MM Yu, Jade Yumang & Sara Jiminez, and Zebulon Zang.

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4/17
 
Exhibition:
THE READABLE CITY
curated by Bill Clarke




ANGELL GALLERY is pleased to present THE READABLE CITY, featuring installation, sculpture, film, video, collage and photography by Toronto- and Montreal-based artists Anna Eyler, Malka Greene, Eva Kolcze, Ella Dawn McGeough, Aude Moreau, Simone Rochon and Jessica Thalmann. Curated by associate director Bill Clarke, and taking its title from a phrase in French scholar Michel de Certeau’s essay “Walking in the City”, the exhibition runs from April 8 through 29, with an opening reception on Friday, April 7 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m

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29/4/16
Event:
>>⋛⋋( ‘◇’)⋌⋚ PiGEON ⋛⋋( ‘◇’)⋌⋚
Psycho-Geographic-ExcursiON w/ Friends of Ogden Park



The growth of dense urban areas poses a threat to migratory birds. One of the leading causes of bird death in North America is collisions with human-built structures. Bird collision detection offers a “canary in the coal mine” to signal troubling changes in our own everyday patterns of movement through the city. Harnessing the practice of psychogeography—which aims to produce new perspectives of urban environments by observing and moving through them playfully—PiGEON will guide participants through the Bloor St. Cultural Corridor on a psychogeographic birding excursion led by Toronto-based artist collective Friends of Ogden Park and FLAP Canada.

The excursion will be a fantastic flight into the way human stories intersect with the stories of other species, forming a multi-species worldview. As Donna Haraway proposes, “it matters what stories tell stories and what worlds world worlds.”

The walk will be follow by a DIY paracord-string crafting demonstration as a preventive tool for bird-window collision at your home or workplace. PiGEON also includes a brown bag lunch and admission to Janet Macpherson: A Canadian Bestiary.


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26/3/17

Workshop:
Tools for Touching
with Daniella Sanadar




Join us at Critic Distance for this free workshop considering touch and the tools that extend it: the brush we paint, the hammer we wield, the spoon we stir. The things we handle, particularly when used in repetition, are things we forget. Artist Ella Dawn McGeough and writer Daniella Sanader will facilitate a conversation, a reading, a series of experimental gestures between subjects and objects, methods of (potential) care.
Comfortable clothing recommended; no advanced reading necessary.


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10/3/17 - 9/4/17

Exhibition:
Precious Commodity
curated by Allison Cooley


Critical Distance is pleased to present Precious Commodity, a group exhibition of recent 
works by Eunice Luk, Ella Dawn McGeough, Juan Ortiz-Apuy, and Biliana Velkova, curated by 
Alison Cooley.

Articulating a tension between objects and their ways of being—their forms, their significance, 
their social and economic circulation—Precious Commodity brings together artworks that 
examine the complicated sweetness of things. Unanchoring objects from their exchange 
within capitalism, the artists in the exhibition resignify them as vessels for fantasy, desire, 
and alternate possibility. Reflecting on the nature of a world populated by things with 
definitive practical uses and monetary values, each artist playfully contends with form, 
usurping existing representations in the service of building new meanings. Ultimately, 
the exhibition asks how we come to identify with the world of stuff—how we negotiate the 
fraught ethics of consumerism, how we arrive at and move beyond “sentimental value,” and 
how we understand the lives of things often considered inanimate. Together, the artists in 
Precious Commodity look to objects not as static, fixed entities, but as tools for thinking with.

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12/16

Article:
Canadian Art, Features
10 Artists with Forward-Thinking Practices
by Rea McNamara


Ella Dawn McGeough was six years old when she met Frank Ogden: it was 1988, and the Vancouver-born artist’s encounter with the Canadian futurist took place on his Coal Harbour–anchored houseboat, back when he had partnered with her older brother on a fax-delivered news service. Better known as Dr. Tomorrow, Ogden was among the first to foresee the Internet’s hold on our daily lives, which were later packaged as 40 predictive laws.

“He was working at the crest of New Age mysticism, the dawn of the Internet, and neoliberal corporate culture—a wave that continues to crash with increasing intensity,” explains McGeough. Alongside Conceptual artist Dustin Wilson, a fellow 2013 graduate from the University of Guelph’s MFA program, McGeough formed, in 2014, Friends of Ogden Park. The collaborative project uses Ogden’s laws as the basis for real and virtual art objects and performative game-centred activities.

In November 2016, OGDEN PARK: RETREAT! took place at Calgary’s Intersite festival, skewering the so-called technological singularity with corporate-style motivational PowerPoint presentations and “geo-caching” relays across the festival’s different venues. “We want the work we do through Friends of Ogden Park to offer a humanistic and materially driven counterweight to the instrumental pragmatism of Ogden’s Laws.”


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2/11/16 - 6/11/16

Event:
─=≡ (´◔ ‿ゝ◔`)☞OGDEN PARK: RETREAT─=≡Σ( ( ( ͡◔ ͜ʖ ͡◔)☞

#intersiteyyc #friendsofogdenpark 




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2/10/16 - 31/10/16


Residency:
Flaggfabrikken Residency, Bergen Norway

selected by curatron!



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8/9/2016 - 15/10/2016

Exhibition:
and, something like fire dancing
curated by Ella Dawn McGeough



Amy Brener
Patrick Cruz
Barbara Kasten
Scott Lyall


Each year, for a brief duration, a parasitic plant emerges from a tree as tiny yellow fruit to act as both guest and host. Caterpillars arrive to relentlessly chew the plant, while a mass of ants stand as bodyguards to protect against would-be predators such as birds and larger insects. The ants are rewarded for their service with honeydew drummed from an exposed organ on the caterpillars’ back. When the butterfly finally presents itself, its wings blaze with the mark of an ochre orb. An image of home. An image of process called colour―colour as matter.

Each entity is held to each other through the dynamics of infection. Each entity survives in sympathy.

"and, something like fire dancing" is composed of a relationship between four artists: Amy Brener, Patrick Cruz, Barbara Kasten, and Scott Lyall. Within the space of a group exhibition individual works are removed from the context of an artist’s oeuvre. A brief relationship of inter-dependence becomes necessary. Held together by a viewer’s gaze, each work valorizes the other (shapes the other, attributes a role to the other). Holding these disparate practices together is an investment in the stuff of transparency and lightness, whether with glass sheets employed by Kasten; thin glazed ink in Lyall’s works; embedded, floating reflective elements within Brener’s sculptures; or temporal quickness at play in Patrick Cruz’s paintings, where individual works act as vectors for the next. With these layers, each artist asserts, and perhaps promotes, the relevance of materiality and technique. Through repetition, something light―like fire dancing, or colour―gains substance, like the weight of endurance.


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1/1/2016 - 28/3/2016
Residency:
Trelex Residency
Tambopata Research Centre, Peru


Mark