Subtle Technologies v.20: Food, Farms & Future Ecologies

The Subtle Technologies Festival celebrates its 20th anniversary by exploring the radical potential of hybrid frameworks for art, science and technology to redefine our understanding of agriculture and the interdependence of life on our planet.

Through a multi-venue and multidisciplinary six-week program of events, festivalgoers will engage with artworks and dialogue-based educational experiences that present a multiplicity of approaches to land-use and cultivation in the context of Canada’s sesquicentennial and a conscious progression toward a future grounded in equity, diversity and inclusivity.

Central to this program are the voices and perspectives of aboriginal artists and community leaders who will guide discussions on themes of interdependence and ecology.


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Full Event Details & Purchase Tickets

Click Here to See the Festival Program in Calendar View




Module 01 : Exquisite Crops


Cultivars (Possible Worlds)
Co-Presented with InterAccess

May 10th–27th, 2017

Opening Reception: Wednesday May 10th, 7-10pm

Elisabeth Picard
Stefan Herda
WhiteFeather Hunter

For millennia humans have been making our mark on the Earth by selectively nurturing and depleting the natural world. More recently, through scientific innovation, we’ve moved on to decoding and programming nature—cultivating life forms and ecosystems that are decidedly manufactured. This exhibition explores both the fantastical possibilities and upsetting implications of our legacy as world makers.


Solution Culture: Hydroponics for Creative Practice
Co-Presented with InterAccess

Saturday May 13th, 1–4pm
Led by Paul Chartrand

Emerging artist and environmental steward, Paul Chartrand, will lead participants through an introductory course to hydroponics and creating their own soil-less gardening systems using recyclable materials. Frequently incorporating hydroponics into his own multimedia practice, Chartrand will present some of his past projects and discuss best methods to implement hydroponics in an art-making context of sculpture, installation and relational aesthetics.

Ink, Brush & Fork

Sunday May 14th, 6–8pm

Led by Lisa Carrie Goldberg,
Owner and Lab Director of Action Potential Lab

The perfect excuse to play with your food! Artist-scientist Lisa Carrie Goldberg will lead learners through a basic dissection of their very own squid, including extraction of its multipurpose ink. Edible parts of the squid then head to the kitchen to be transformed into a delicious seafood entrée. While participants wait, they’ll be able to use the harvested ink to paint and print-make.


Universe In A Glass
Co-Presented with Toronto Animated Image Society & The Gardiner Museum

Wednesday May 17th
7pm doors, 8pm screening

Featured artists:
David Buob
Kamiel Rongen
Tomonari Nishikawa

There is more life in a drop of ocean water than most major cities on Earth. Yet, this awesome ecology is invisible to the naked eye and goes largely unnoticed. As a practice with a long history of visualizing scientific wonders, this screening of international animated shorts will illuminate the interconnectedness of all known life through water. Keeping with the theme, guests can enjoy local brews and an experimental probiotic cocktail.

Module 02 : Wild City

Co-Presented with Evergreen

Part installation, part outdoor classroom, part food sharing ceremony; Wild City is a multi-faceted, interdisciplinary project that will animate the Evergreen Brick Works as both an historic and contemporary hub of ethno- and bio-diversity. Over the course of three weeks in June, visitors will experience interactive artworks and workshops that educate them about the wildlife and cultures native to the Don River Valley while extending Evergreen’s mission of placemaking by illuminating the 5,000 year history of the basin and connecting its stories to the diverse, urban landscape that surrounds it today.

This project is supported through Toronto Arts Council Strategic Funding.


Visitors: Singing Plants (Redux)
Co-Presented with Evergreen
Featuring the work of Jo SiMalaya

June 3rd–25th, 2017
8am–5pm Saturdays & Sundays
Weekday viewings available by request

Children’s Garden Greenhouse
Evergreen Brick Works
550 Bayview Avenue, Toronto

An interactive sound art installation situated in the greenhouse of the Brick Works, Alcampo’s singing plants are potted banana plants that respond to human hand gestures to emit soundscapes of Aboriginal chants, songs and spoken words. The project’s title “Visitors” calls attention to the insertion of these foreign flora into the otherwise completely native gardens of the Brick Works and raises important questions around responsible horticulture, embedded knowledge and the act of asking the land for permission to access its resources.


Co-Presented with Evergreen
Led by Lisa Myers

Tuesdays & Wednesdays June 6th,7th, 13th, 14th, 20th & 21st

This series of culinary workshops is a collaboration of the food scholars, artists, food advocates and cooks from Indigenous communities around the province who will gather virtually through technology and in-situ. Through cooking and discussions of wild rice (manoomin) these workshops will build an understanding of the immense network of relations from which this ingredient emerges.

Seasonal ingredients for these workshops will be purchased directly from the participating reserves to support their economies and highlight issues of food security.


Indigenous Plants/Indigenous Histories
Co-Presented with Evergreen & First Story Toronto
Led by Wild Foragers Society

Saturday June 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th 10am–12pm
Sunday June 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th 1–3pm

Evergreen Brick Works
550 Bayview Avenue, Toronto

Participants will hike on guided tours through the Don River Valley Park using the Lower Don Trails. Along the way, members of Wild Foragers Society will demonstrate how to identify indigenous flora. At the same time, participants will learn about local indigenous history of the river basin and its wealth of medicinal plants through a smartphone app developed by First Story Toronto. A First Story Toronto representative will accompany the tour to provide firsthand knowledge and historical context. Both culinary and healing properties of the plants encountered will be discussed as well as strategies to promote sustainable use of native species while minimizing impact upon the land.

Each week will concentrate on a theme according to the natural growth cycle of the season. Participants are encouraged to attend multiple sessions to gain cumulative knowledge.


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