ADA-DADA Residency


This residency begins by addressing today’s data-driven, device-oriented and networked economy.  The access, collection, and use of data as the building blocks for both digital and physical spaces, and its role in informing everyday “decisions, actions, and relations” underscores the material presence of data in daily life. As the market floods with so-called smart devices, where ubiquitous objects and data systems are now animated with connectivity within contemporary capitalist paradigms, the question of use becomes a central tenet of criticality and subversion. This residency asks how artists can begin to reclaim and reposition the data employed in devices, software and platforms as a form of counter-culture? What are the creative possibilities when the datafication of our behaviours, relationships, and spaces becomes the new material for articulating subversive and critical artistic gestures?

The ADA-DADA program, curated by Maria Alejandrina Coates, consists of a 6-8 week residency that offers participants a dedicated space for collaborative production, alongside a series of practical and theoretical workshops designed to engage with the materiality of data to support the creation of new work. Participants will be invited to think through the socio-polital implications of data usage across various applications, platforms and economic models, and to take up feminist and decolonial apporaches to data justice in their work. The program pays particular attention to the racial conditions of production for media-based works.

The program will be open to artists, activists, designers, and developers (among others) interested in exploring the role of data as material for cultural and artistic production. Follow the project on Twitter.

This program is funded by the Canada Council for the Arts. 

ADA-DADA Online Exhibition   –  The online exhibition is hosted on Gather.town. You can explore and interact with the participants’ work  (Since this is a new platform, it is currently accessible by desktop only, not mobile).

*Gather.town is a video chat platform that has avatars move around a 2D map, enabling interaction with objects in the space as well as with other guests. As you get close to other avatars, your computer camera and microphone will turn on and you will be able to chat. By moving your avatar around you can have spontaneous conversations with those around you while engaging with the artworks.

Past Event

ADA-DAD Residency Presentation  // Saturday 5 June 2021, 12pm-2pm EST, online

After seven months of conversations, workshops, and making through the ADA-DADA Residency, please join us in celebrating participants CAM Collective, Hiba Ali, Lingxiang Wu, Saira Chhibber, Sheung-King, Aaron Tang, and Vishal Kumaraswamy, through an online exhibition and a group presentation.

Over the course of the residency, participants have been engaged in making work that critically engages with the concepts of data and how it operates in networks, interfaces and systems that structure our experiences in and of the world. In coming together to learn, share, and make, the ADA-DADA residents bring renewed conversations on the intersections of data with narratives of power, erasure, movement, time, resistance, and the quantification of human life – offering artistic and poetic responses that invite deeper reflections and interference.

The exhibition will take place on the platform Gather.town, going live on June 3rd at 2pm. We will email you the link once the exhibition goes live and we encourage you to visit the exhibition before the online group presentation.

Gather.town is a video chat platform that has avatars move around a 2D map, enabling interaction with objects in the space as well as with other guests. As you get close to other avatars, your computer camera and microphone will turn on and you will be able to chat. By moving your avatar around you can have spontaneous conversations with those around you while engaging with the artworks. Gather.town is only accessible through a desktop or laptop device.

To register for the event click here.

María Alejandrina Coates is a Uruguayan-born, Ontario-based media arts curator. Her research interests encompass technology, feminism and socially engaged art practices. Her curated exhibitions include Terraforming, presented by the South Asian Visual Arts Centre and Trinity Square Video (Toronto); Voz-a-Voz at YYZ Artists’ Outlet (Toronto); and Feelings, presented as part of the aluCine Latin Film and Media Arts Festival (Toronto). Coates received a bachelor’s degree from the University of British Columbia and a master’s degree in Art History and Curatorial Studies from York University (Toronto). She was previously held the position of Curator at e-fagia organization and is currently the Development Manager for the Pinnguaq Association.

ADA-DADA Residents

Hiba Ali is a digital artist, educator, scholar, DJ, experimental music producer and curator based across Chicago, IL, Austin, TX, and Toronto, ON. Their performances and videos concern surveillance, womxn of colour, and labour. She studies the geographies of Afro-descent and Indo-Arab communities across the Indian Ocean through music, cloth and ritual. They conduct reading groups addressing digital media and workshops with open-source technology. She is a PhD candidate in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada. They are an Assistant Professor of Art, New Media Artist/Feminist Art Discourse, College of Design, Art & Techology, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR. She has presented their work in Chicago, Stockholm, Toronto, New York, Istanbul, São Paulo, Detroit, Dubai, Austin, Vancouver, and Portland. They have written for THE SEEN Magazine, Newcity Chicago, Art Dubai, The State, VAM Magazine, ZORA: Medium, RTV Magazine, and Topical Cream Magazine.

CAM Collective (Carisa Antariksa, Amreen Ashraf, Maria Denise Yala): We are a collaborative research collective made up of interdisciplinary artists, designers and storytellers. Coming from different backgrounds of East Africa, South Asia and South-East Asia, we converge to reimagine the various technological entanglements that shape our world. CAM utilizes situated knowledge as part of a toolbox to explore and speculate on scenarios within various digital futures. As a feminist collective, our work places itself at the intersection of art and technology, constantly contemplating the unbounded impact of technology in multiple contexts.

Saira Chhibber is a PhD student in the Cultural Studies interdisciplinary graduate program at  Queen’s University. She holds an honours BA and an MA in Cinema Studies, both from the  University of Toronto. Saira has been involved in anti-racist organizing and community media in  Toronto since high school. In the early 1990s she began doing a weekly three-hour open format  radio show on CHRY 105.5FM, playing music and being creative with sounds/radio art. She did  volunteer work for Desh Pardesh and has been on the Boards of SAVAC and the Council of  Agencies Serving South Asians. Saira continues to pursue her interests in social justice, media and  activism through her academic research and volunteer work. 

Vishal Kumaraswamy is a new media artist, filmmaker and curator currently based in  Bangalore, India. He graduated with an MA in Photography from Central Saint Martin’s  College of Art and Design, London and his works have been shown at several national and  international exhibitions including The Venice Biennale’s Research Pavilion, Athens Digital  Arts Festival, Apex Art’s Savdhaan – Regimes of Truth and The Center for Curatorial  Studies, Bard College. Vishal was recently awarded the main commission for Empathy  Loading  by the Royal College of Art and Furtherfield in London  and was an at-home artist-in-residence with Contemporary Calgary’s Collider Program. He is  also the recipient of the inaugural Artists for Artists microgrant.  

Vishal is the founder of the international artist collective; Now You Have Authority, a collaborative practice through which he has curated exhibitions, residencies, and delivered workshops at the Tate Modern’s Tate Exchange Programme, Tanzfest Aarau and The Sluice Biennial. As an independent curator investigating hybrid  practices, his most recent project the-lack-of was shown as a part of The Wrong  Biennale.  

Sheung-King, Aaron Tang is a writer and educator. His debut novel, You are Eating an Orange. You are Naked, is a finalist for the Amazon Canada First Novel Award, longlisted for Canada Reads 2021 and named one of the best book debuts of 2020 by the Globe and Mail. His writing has appeared in PRISM International, Puritan Magazine, the Shanghai Literary Review, amongst others.

Sheung-King holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Guelph. He taught creative writing, communications, and cultural studies at the University of Guelph, Sheridan College, and the Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning. He is currently a creative writing coach at Avenues Shenzhen, facilitating interdisciplinary  project-based programs that combine creative writing, studio work, and hardware design.

Lingxiang Wu is a Chinese visual artist currently based in Toronto. He received his MFA degree in Interdisciplinary Master’s of Arts, Media, and Design at OCAD University in 2019. Wu experiments with various mediums such as photographic collage, video, animation, and installation. The topics of Wu’s interest include digital/physical space, the aesthetics of rough/smooth, and creative potential behind the idea of boredom. 

Wu’s works explore contemporary life that is integrated seamlessly between urban and digital spaces, attempting to get a grasp of the reasons behind those fleeting moments of boredom, feelings of misfit, and anxiety of not being productive. Even one minute away from the phone seems unbearable. Why do we mindlessly scroll through Instagram? Why do we play idle games that only require us to collect rewards? What triggers this insatiable desire to consume. Inspired by German-Korean philosopher Byung-Chul Han’s theory on the “Aesthetic of the Smooth” and German artist Hito Steyerl’s discussion of “poor images” and post-production, Wu questions if the current obsession on the smooth aesthetic leads to a generalized loss of experience, and influence our sensibility to experience our surroundings.

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