Design: Emi Takahashi and Rebecca Wilkinson.
Subtle Technologies joins Vector Festival as a Community Partner for their 2021 program, launching July 15. We are proud to co-present the virtual exhibition Constellation of Oracles, curated by the 2020-2021 Curatorial Mentorship Program participant award winners Diasporic Futurisms (Vanessa Godden and Adrienne Matheuszik). Using sci-fi, fantasy, and digital culture to envision alternate realities, artists Alyssa Bistonath, Rah Eleh, Victoria Kamila, and Quentin VerCetty foretell collective futures.
Read the program description below.
Constellation of Oracles, July 15 – August 8
Alyssa Bistonath, Rah Eleh, Victoria Kamila, Quentin VerCetty.
Curated by Diasporic Futurisms (Vanessa Godden and Adrienne Matheuszik).
View the exhibition at 2021.vectorfestival.org/exhibitions/constellation-of-oracles
Constellation of Oracles is a virtual exhibition that features artworks by Alyssa Bistonath, Rah Eleh, Victoria Kamila, and Quentin VerCetty. The program explores digital collage, multi-channel video, and digital animation through multiple futurist lenses. Constellation of Oracles brings together a broad range of influences—from internet and digital culture to sci-fi and fantasy aesthetics—to envision and build alternate realities and worlds that generatively speak to one another through mythologies of the body, space, and culture. Each artwork represents a constellation of possibilities wherein the artist becomes an oracle for collective futures.
Alyssa Bistonath, Portals, 2018, film still
Film, 15 mins 9 secs
Portals takes an intimate look at the everyday gestures of Guyanese immigrants living in Scarborough – bowling a smooth ball in cricket, rolling a perfect roti, and playing with a traditional toy. Actions that offer reminders of home.
The film uses the genre of science-fiction to create a series of portals that rip through time and space. By bending ideas of time/space audiences are brought to a place of solace: in the past of a country left behind, the present experience of ‘home’ in a never- quite-familiar new country, and expectations of future potential – safety and prosperity. All hang together in a precarious balance.
Scarborough is home to one of the largest populations of the Guyanese diaspora in Canada. This film acknowledges the varied experiences in this community and the persistent tensions of living in a place that is both hostile to their ‘foreignness’, and still the place one calls home.
Please full screen the video.
Alyssa Bistonath is a photographer and filmmaker whose work focuses on themes of memory and belonging. The daughter of Guyanese immigrants, Bistonath endeavours to look at modes of representation by investigating nostalgia, exploring evidence, and interrupting the archive. Her work includes “Why We Fight” (2016) where she invited the Guyanese diaspora to write letters to a personified Guyana. The film won Best Canadian Short at the Regent Park Film Festival. Most recently, she was featured in the Art Gallery of Ontario’s “Art in the Spotlight” and Canadian Art online for her series “Isolation Photographs.”
Rah Eleh, SuperNova, 2018, film still
Film, 14 mins 50 secs
SuperNova is a talent show parody that consists of seven characters in which the artist performs. The performers are Oreo, Fatimeh, and Coco and each of their acts examine issues of race and ethnic performance; Oreo performs a magic trick with a deck of white “race cards,” Fatimeh sings and performs a neo-orientalist ethnic identity and Coco performs a dance as a liminal and hybrid subject. SuperNova examines the socio-political, temporal, linguistic and spatial factors that contribute to the formation of identity.
Rah Eleh is a video, net and performance artist. Her multimedia and multi-character work investigates how race, gender, and nationalism are performed and experienced through various technologies in language, and across culture, time, and space. Rah’s work has been exhibited extensively internationally at spaces including Williams College Museum of Art, Miami Art Basel, Kunsthaus Graz Museum (Austria), and Onassis Cultural Center (Athens, Greece). She has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Chalmers Arts Fellowship, SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship, Studio Das Weisse Haus and the Artslant Georgia Fee Residency.
Victoria Kamila, Genesis Portal, digital
selection from the Paradise Gardens series
Genesis Portal, Hanging Gardens, Serpent, and Paradise Petals
Paradise Gardens is a digital art collection inspired by the Garden of Eden. Each visual portrays themes that blend paradise and sin with Elysian symbolism to evoke a feeling or state of divine reverie. Vibrant palettes and feminine corporal shapes, contours, and undertones configure a more futuristic, progressive ideation of paradise. Genesis Portal depicts a portal to paradise, or the beginning of the universe. The portal itself resembles a blank canvas, as what lies beyond is open to interpretation. Hanging Gardens references the Hanging Gardens of Babylon; the pink palette and minimal, vast open setting beyond the crystal suggest the setting of these gardens takes place subconsciously, derived rather from the pink matter of our minds. Paradise Petals pays homage to the flora of our world, their efflorescent symbolism and overall centrality to humanity’s notions of paradise. Serpent contrasts the utopian essence of the previous works, balancing the scales by depicting the duality of paradise and sin that is inescapably intertwined with our universe.
Victoria Kamila is a Toronto-based digital artist. Her work explores visual modes of storytelling, investigating themes of fantasy, escapism, and spirituality. A curiosity for new worlds informs each layer of every visual, creating new realities to lose yourself in. Having grown up in rural Alberta, her art takes inspiration from the nature of the countryside, reimagined into new visualizations of paradise or futuristic sci-fi, alien worlds. Victoria is also a founding member of Hot Pot Community, an independent creative studio fostering a community of Asian creatives in Toronto.
Quentin VerCetty, _Reine Albrighten bearing arms, 2015, lenticular print
selection from the ‘Outside In The Republic’ series
Galactic Q Animation, Ras Jamar Catch Ah Fiyah, _Reine Albrighten bearing arms, and Solar Priotorship balling – Omar
These digital imagining of the Republic is of a speculative afrotopia that consist of techno-fossils of youth of African descent as conceptual speculative sculptures.
Creator of the 2020 Joshua Glover Memorial, Toronto’s first monument of a person of African descent, Quentin VerCetty is an award-winning multidisciplinary griot (storyteller), artivist, educator, Afrofuturist a-r-tographer and an ever-growing interstellar tree.While completing his 2021 Master’s in Art Education from Concordia University, he has coined the terms ‘Sankofanology’ and ‘rastafuturism’ and co-edited Canada’s first art book on Afrofuturism entitled “Cosmic Underground Northside: An Incantation of Black Canadian Speculative Discourse and Innerstandings”. VerCetty’s has exhibited his art in countries around the world with a focus on representation and inclusion of Blackness and African diasporic cultures. Through all the work he does, he hopes to activate ancestral connections, engage minds, inspire hearts, and help to make the world a better place not only for today but for many tomorrows to come.