The Power Plant’s Summer 2012 season explores individual and
collective agency in contemporary art and life through the group exhibition
Tools for Conviviality and the ongoing Dissenting
Histories: 25 Years of The Power Plant, both organized by Curator and
Head of Programs, Melanie O’Brian.
Conviviality features artists from Toronto, Vancouver, Paris, and
Vienna who create and engage tools to affect social behaviour. It includes
works that are interactive as well as mechanisms towards self-help,
political shifts, ritual devices, defence, and critique. Referencing the
1973 text by philosopher Ivan Illich of the same name which sought to
dismantle the specialization of industrial knowledge by elites, Tools
for Conviviality seeks to develop a politic of having more individual
influence in the world. The tools that most interested Illich, and are
reflected in the exhibition, have links to self-organization, wiki models,
democratic space, and forms of communal activity.
Abbas Akhavan and Claire Fontaine include homemade armaments,
while Franz West’s interactive Adaptives connect
viewers with their individual visual and tactile experience of objects.
Geoffrey Farmer presents an interactive project based around a
half-formed figure that will be added to and changed by children over the
course of the exhibition, and Ulla von Brandenburg’s
engagement with stage and props results in a film installation that
approaches the power of ritual as a tool. Kyla Mallett’s
appropriated constellation-like diagrams are pulled from a self-improvement
manual, Oscar Tuazon’s sculptural work brings an industrial
aesthetic to playful utopian architecture, and Reece Terris
identifies a professional and personal custom of thanks and consolation.
Raymond Boisjoly’s new exterior text-based work considers The
Power Plant’s location within aboriginal histories and Western
vernaculars, and Swintak/Don Miller’s new work grafts a piece
of an experimental rural project onto the gallery.
Dissenting Histories: 25 Years of The Power Plant is an
ongoing project designed to activate and put into dialogue the
gallery’s rich histories. Installed in a space designed by Markus
Miessen, a German architect and writer who has considered institutional
histories and has contributed to our thinking about participation in public
space and design, the archive exhibition considers our history within local
and international contexts, as well as within present spatial and
theoretical concerns. As a space for staging events around The Power
Plant’s history, including the From the Archives series of
presentations and lively conversations between curators and artists vital
to The Power Plant’s history, we are also presenting print materials,
videos, slides, and an online archive of ephemera. Toronto-based artist
Dave Dyment is mining the archives and responding to the project
with a new series of works. Working with audio, video, photography, and the
production of artists' books, multiples, and editions, Dyment’s witty
practice mines popular culture, vernacular photography, and music.
Support provided by The Power Players Program: BMO Financial Group,
CIBC, Manulife Financial, Rogers, Stonegate Private Counsel, and TD
Change, 2006. Twelve twenty-five cent coins, steel box-cutter
blades. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Neu, Berlin.