Re[new]All curatorial statement

Re(new)All: A Sensorium Exhibition

SLSA (Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts) 2021: Energy
September 30th – Oct 3rd
Curatorial team: Ian Garrett, Melanie Wilmink,  Joel Ong


The exhibition Re[new]all explores the creative ecologies of matter and energy. During the pandemic our physical and virtual spaces have been transformed in service of the emerging needs of personal and community development.  The pandemic has been (and continues to be) a trial of endurance, embodying a mix of resignation, urgency and hope in the alternating waves of emotions over the last years.  Our virtual meetings betray the physical cost of physiological and emotional adaptation as a discarnate sublimation of self, and the ways overtly visual and auditory stimuli have constrained our sensory apparatus.  On a broader level, this crisis has exposed socio-economic imbalances that continue to disproportionately affect racialized and minority groups, and exacerbate conditions of mobility and connection that are vital to the health of our communities. 


As we cast our sights towards a re-opening, might we define the new ‘normal’ as an opportunity to renew and review our commitment to supporting diversity and alterity; to support the voices that speak out against patriarchy, colonialism and capitalism?  Might we learn through the lessons of interpersonal and inter-species connections to value all our relations?  The exhibition Re[new]All begins from a position of discomfort, of the sensory (dis)pleasures of our virtual modes of existence to explore themes of creative worldbuilding, virtual scenographics and adaptation within the renewed hybridity of online/offline environments. Through a mix of single channel and immersive video, audio tours, performance documentations and experimental digital spaces, the exhibition aims to create affective narratives and effect a transmutation of space to provoke alternative viewpoints and stories that will challenge, but also renew and energize the visitor.


The exhibition features work of artists and researchers affiliated with Sensorium: Centre for Digital Art and Technology at the School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design (AMPD) at York University in Toronto, Canada. It will be hosted in an entirely digital form as a custom designed Mozilla Hubs environment with interactive environments that merge form and function to link our online exhibition space with the artists’ unique explorations of the theme.


The artists approach this thematic in myriad ways, each taking up the energetic transformations of cohesive real space-time into fragmented digital forms.  Taien Ng Chan and Carmela Laganse present an audio-walk through the virtual landing page to recast wayfinding and navigation through an Asian Futurist aesthetic.  Dolleen Tisawii’ashii Manning, Mary Bunch and team present the microscopic landscapes of the shoreline through video, 360 photospheres and sound that explore the interconnections between Anishinaabe ontologies, cultural knowledge transmission, languages and environmental justice.  Patrick Alcedo’s documentary traces a young girl’s attempt to pull herself out of a cycle of poverty through dance in rural Philippines. Jane Tingley and Ella Morton intersect technology with the natural world to draw attention to non-human worldviews as well as the important relationships between humans and the natural world as we face the daunting challenges of climate change. 


Works by Tyler Graham and Jocelyn Graham, as well as Michael Palumbo & Ilze Briede [Kavi], deconstruct new forms of networked communication by experimenting with new spatio-temporal models of embodiment. Jonathan Scott and Dan Tapper each take up the documentation of recorded images, and manipulate them to explore the fractured and morphic qualities of the digital image, as it mutates from human to computerized sensibilities.


The shift from recognizable space to the otherworld of the digital, which is often characterized by an inhuman or machinic perspective also enables a different kind of attention to people, ideas, or approaches that have often been actively marginalized by settler-colonial media and research. The exhibition stretches the connections between the physical body, the computer interface, and the shifting surfaces of online platforms, to provide the visitors with a renewed perspective on the personal and community development.