Parking Lot at 333 Lakeshore Boulevard East
THE UNCOMFORTABLE NOW
Much of life is spent waiting for wishes to materialize. Constant connection has alleviated some of the pain of waiting, filling up the interstices of our days with colourful memes, news, GIFs, e-mails, and posts. The seductive comforts of technology are manifold and they’ve entered our relational vocabulary with a natural ease. Yet just a few decades ago, it was almost impossible to fill up all the idle moments within a 24-hour cycle. Solitude was a daily ritual; it punctuated our lives with equal parts of daydreams and boredom.
Curated by Prachi Khandekar, Flight Mode questions the effects of the departure of solitude from our schedules. It presents two lo-fi spaces, minimal environments to snap us out of our intricate web of connections. Vying for intention and not merely attention, this project seeks to generate engagement for a seemingly unproductive end: unplugging and reveling in the solitary experience.
You are invited to pause, reflect, and wander inside two shipping containers left by Toronto’s waterfront. The format of a shipping container, often used at pop-up events, is chosen for its ability to create zones of heightened attention. At commercial events, containers entice audiences to interact with brands in person, as a way to circumvent fatigue for online or print-based marketing. In the context of Flight Mode, the containers sit on a post-industrial site as a prompt to reintegrate solitude into our lives and reclaim much-needed mental space.
Each container houses an artwork that elaborates on an aspect of solitude.
Ecolocation, by Hagop Ohannessian, suggests that solitude leads to an integrated understanding of nature while considering our fractured relationship with it at present. He presents the multi-sensorial perspective of whales – intelligent beings that play a vital role in marine ecosystems, who are forced to navigate a habitat strewn with plastic pollution and by-products of the global shipping industry. By creating a contemplative environment, he seeks to generate empathy for their threatened existence and further, make a sobering connection between the state of our marine ecosystems and that of our own habitat. Both fragile and yet, neglected.
Lily Jeon explores the interplay between solitude and self in Antiprism, by providing a visible interface for movement based-meditation. She comments on the sensory overload caused by constant connectivity and suggests that being bombarded by stimulation paralyzes our minds, making them go blank. She explores how mindfulness can help us recognize ourselves by slowing down, developing patience, and fostering deeply personal experiences.
Their propositions are incomplete experimental actions, awaiting visitors who are willing to rediscover the value of being by themselves.
Exhibition runs from 21 September – 8 October 2019
2:00pm – 8:00pm (Closed on Mondays)
333 Lakeshore Boulevard East, Toronto ON M5A 1B6
Photos by Rémi Carreiro 2019
Opening Night + Artist Talks
The talks are intended to reflect on key exhibition themes and show the evolution of artworks. The event will feature an informal conversation between the curator and artists, followed by a reception and opportunities to visit the artworks installed in containers nearby at 333 Lakeshore Boulevard East, Toronto ON M5A 1B6.
Friday 20 September 2019
5:30pm – 7:30 pm
Sidewalk Labs Toronto (307 Lakeshore Blvd E, Toronto ON M5A 1C1)
The two workshops accompanying Flight Mode provide an opportunity to unplug and retrain our muscle for self-expression. Participants will craft original and personal reviews of their experience within the artworks, capturing the profusion of thought that can arise from solitude. The format blends mindfulness meditation, to identify qualities of the solitary experience, and select approaches to art writing, to communicate the discomfort and joy of practicing solitude. Works generated will be compiled into a catalogue – a living document of the ephemeral spaces presented in the exhibition, granted permanence through the introspective lens of its visitors. Workshops will take place at Sidewalk Labs Toronto (307 Lakeshore Blvd E, Toronto ON M5A 1C1).*
Workshop 1: Sunday 22 September 2019 from 11:00am – 4:00pm (24 seats)
Workshop 2: Saturday 28 September 2019 from 11:00am – 4:00pm (24 seats)
Register through Eventbrite
*Please note that both workshops are identical, delivered on separate days. Open to all, especially suited for writers, poets, critics and artists. A small fee of $10 is required to register. If cost is a barrier, please get in touch.
Hagop Ohannessianis a multidisciplinary artist who connects nature and the human mind through sculpture and multimedia art installation. Inspired by a passion and curiosity for nature, Hagop uses a range of materials and methods, including metal wires, copper sheet, concrete, paints, LED, and sound, to interpret and express the underlying forms, structures, and dimensions hidden within the natural world. He combines these formal studies with environmental installation techniques to create immersive multimedia experiences that invite a deeper engagement with nature by creating a relational, empathic experience with plants and animals.
Born in Beirut, Lebanon, Hagop currently lives and works in Toronto, Canada. He graduated in 2002 from Institut Européen de technologie in Beirut with a degree in Electronics and Plastic Arts.
Lily Jeon is a designer and a maker with a B.Arch Sci from Ryerson University. Her work focuses on multi-disciplinary designs that transform everyday life into enchanting experiences, with the desire to ignite public engagement, empathy, and dialogue. She is interested in fabrication as a means of empowerment, having a variety of previous local and international design-build experiences, and advocates for the importance of hands-on experiential education. She has previously worked at Ryerson’s Design Fabrication Zone and is currently Makerspace Facilitator at the University of Toronto.
Prachi Khandekar is a writer and designer. Her work often takes the form of exhibitions and narrative environments that invite reflection on the culture we are enmeshed in. In particular, she’s interested in offering environments of critique within the prevailing experience-based economy.
She holds a B.A. in Architecture from the University of Toronto and an M.A. in Design Writing Criticism from the University of the Arts, London. Notable exhibitions she has produced as an independent curator are STUFF: The Culture of Obsolescence and BT Heritage: Seeing Voices. Prachi has also designed several exhibitions and storytelling projects for the Paul H. Cocker Gallery and FCAD at Ryerson University.
Funded by the Ontario Arts Council and supported by Waterfront Toronto.