2018 marked the 15th anniversary of the popular Toronto alternative art and design event. This was my third time attending. You can read about my 2016 and 2017 visits here and here. Local and international artists and designers took over the historic Gladstone Hotel to create site-specific immersive installations. The art is everywhere. In rooms, hallways, alcoves, and stairwells. Once again, in addition to the installations, some of the artist designed rooms were open for the public to view. This year's event explored how people interact with art and design. Is it a shared experience mediated by an artist or designer? Or is it an individual response triggered by personal experience? Or is it all of the above?
In 2016, the installation with the longest line was Life Moves Fast by The Racket Club (Sarah Keenlyside & Joseph Clement), a re-creation of Ferris Bueller’s bedroom. This year, Ferris Forever, a virtual reality version of the room, also drew a crowd. You can watch the 360 video here.
The fourth floor featured CAPACITY 2018: Hiatus. Capacity is a community and exhibit that showcases the work of Canadian women designers. In the design industry, women are still outnumbered by men. The show curators are providing a venue for the work and names of under-represented women professionals to be seen, while at the same time working to create a community and resource for both women working in design, and a public curious to discover them. Hiatus continues beyond CUTMR and is on view until February 25th.
The theme of highlighting women was at the forefront of many of the CUTMR installations, including Longernin Collective's Post-Part, Roxanne Peckham's He did not beat me, Samantha Jones's Ice Cream, Chelsea Attong's EMBRACE, and Sister Co-Resister.
Here are some of my highlights from this year's show.
These Pixels Are Too Sweet by An Dy.
An Dy is putting Pixels on trial, calling on a variety of media to challenge and affirm the way we consume art and media. His work postures as stand-ins for the stimulation we receive through our screens at a time where we are both consumed by social media and alienated from it.
Fernigen C. Thicket by Ashley Snook.
This was an immersive installation that incorporated touch, smell, sight, and sound. It was like being in a creepy forest that smelled great.
This installation addresses metaphysical qualities of interconnectivity between human and nonhuman species. Snook’s work is a trajectory towards biological exploration and animality; reconnecting a raw sense of intimacy between human and animal and the surrounding biosphere through primarily sculpture, installation and drawing.
Untitled by Erin McCutcheon (part of Capacity 2018)
The artist calls this an experiment in curiousity. 1000 tiny porcelain doll hands. 10,000 tiny hand carved fingernails.
Shea Chang. "Shades of Commingling" Symbiotic Rock I, II, & III (Part of Capacity 2018)
Shades of Commingling focuses on questioning the boundaries, categorizations and separations between the painter and the subject, the painter and the painted land, the human and the rock beneath our feet.
Hiatus Rug by Katherine Morley (Part of Capacity 2018)
The rug features the view from the end of the dock of her family's Muskoka cottage. A cottage that she considers her second home, and a large piece of her family's history. Soon her family will be saying goodbye to the lakeside property, and that news affected her harder than she expected. The rug was created as a memorial and is part of the artist's grieving process.
Did you attend CUTMR 2018 or any other events during Toronto Offsite Design Festival? I'd love to hear about your favourites.
Story and photos by Glodeane Brown
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