Subtle Technologies’ Curatorial Mentorship Program is a paid opportunity that prepares five select applicants to apply to various council grants to cover the fees of new curatorial projects. Those selected to participate in Phase 2 receive $600 and are mentored by our Board of Directors in a rigorous and inclusive process of devising, writing, editing and submitting materials and support documents for a full-fledged curatorial project. Subtle Technologies is pleased to introduce this year’s participants and their projects. 

Diasporic Futurisms

Diasporic Futurisms (Adrienne Matheuszik and Vanessa Godden) are looking to futurisms to re-consider the possibilities of our dystopic present. Diasporic Futurisms are curating a multi-media arts festival, titled Another World, that radically presents IBPoC futurisms through the impact of a global pandemic and increased public visibility of police brutality in IBPoC communities.

Another World is a three-day event. The opening day of the festival is dedicated to a twenty-four-hour live stream of multi-media artworks. The second day is an hour-long screening of time-based media artworks at a pop up drive-in theatre. The third day will be another hour-long screening of another selection of media artworks in a public park. Another World provides equitable and inclusive possibilities for how to best utilize the internet and public space to exhibit artwork safely in physical-distancing culture.

Diasporic Futurisms is a collaborative curatorial team comprised of Adrienne Matheuszik and Vanessa Godden. They endeavour to create space for Indigenous, Black and racialized peoples working with alternative perspectives of the present, predictions of the future, and reimaginings of the past that are alternative to Western hegemony. Within the movement of diasporic futurisms, the destabilization of white-supremacy, colonisation, and capitalism in relation tothe lives of diasporic peoples are a primary concern. These concerns are materialized through the genres of Fantasy, Magical Realism, Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, and related subgenres. Diasporic Futurisms is continually working to build immersive and inclusive arts experiences that radically resist patriarchal, heteronormative, ableist, and racist oppression.

Tameesha Holder

Changing Directories is a project drawing a conceptual parallel between Mac OS Terminal, navigating through the operating system and the challenges and issues that come up when doing so, and the similar difficulties young black adults experience taking on different identities to conform and navigate existing systems of oppression.

When operating the UNIX shell in Mac’s Terminal, every command is made up of three elements: the command itself, an argument that tells the command what resource it should operate on, and an option that modifies the output. Changing Directories will explore how life for this group of people is similar to the open-source software through categorizing and highlighting the rules and commands that must be followed in efforts to make progress within the system. This project will demonstrate the constant negotiation of identities, having to encompass multiple versions of self on and offline, and adherence to a certain set of rules in efforts to move forward.

Tameesha Holder is a community-engaged artist, producer and curator. Tameesha has collaborated with artists throughout her community to produce passion projects such as artists’ events and installations, panels and workshops. Her artistry focuses on the research, documentation and analysis of the black experience, through exploring their relationships with new media technologies. For her, storytelling is a collaborative process that takes a multitude of voices to help disrupt and shift understandings of the human condition.

Atif Khan

Drones are a defining technological frontier of the twenty-first century. By definition, drones are not bounded, neat or easily categorized but exist across geographies and are used in different forms for different purposes from fashion runways to delivery tools to weapons of war. However, their shadows of violence have long forgotten histories. Taking up the ‘drone’ as object, Drone Shadows works through themes of violence, technopolitics and social justice. The programming centers North American archives by connecting form, language, conversation, performance, image and installation mediums by a range of artists, thinkers, technologists, theorists and activists. The exhibition is necessarily multidisciplinary and curated through transamerican geography with attention to what we currently call Canada, more specifically Toronto.

Drone Shadows is a multi-phase, sixteen month project. The first phase develops thematic approaches in conversation with artists, thinkers, activists and cultural workers. The second phase develops parallel digital and physical exhibitions that experiment with curatorial form and presentation.

Atif Khan is an emerging artist exploring text, image and curation. His research driven practice intersects key themes of war, surveillance and visual studies. Khan’s work questions how the word ‘violence’ is assembled and given power in the material world by connecting object, language, words, meaning and a specific set of archives. His broader research investigates the use of militarized drones across the United States, Somalia, Afghanistan & Pakistan.

Chris Leithead

Big Bio: Futures at the Intersections of Biology and Big Data is an exhibition seeking to explore the future of bioanalytics through the comparative lenses of recent social phenomenon. The Big Bio exhibition is anchored by a newly commissioned body of works, accompanied by curated historical images, artworks, and artefacts.

This exhibition is born of the unique cultural moment globalized society finds itself entering the 2020s. Emerging from a decade of events and scandals exposing the nature of Big Data, globalized society is now thrown into the COVID-19 Pandemic with public safety discourses now centering on viral transfer in relation to the web of social relations our biological selves engage in day to day.

Chris A Leithead is a multidisciplinary artist currently completing his BFA at OCAD University in Toronto. His most recent practice is sculpture based using salvaged building materials, consumables, and collaboration with organisms such as yeast and mushrooms.

 With an eye on various fields – biotechnology, information technology, capital systems, city planning, policy making – he is interested in exploring how our intimate and everyday experiences are shaped by the intersecting tides of larger systems.

Riverdale Projects

Land, Sea & Cables is a series of online arts events that aim to create a safe space for conversations about the politics of art and technology. Framed within the scope of an inter-cultural dialogue between Indigenous and Immigrant artists, Land, Sea & Cables explores digital and online realms as they relate to knowledge preservation, overcoming violence, community-building, and survival. Land, Sea & Cables involves a group web-exhibition and series of virtual workshops/talks. As invoked by the title, this curatorial project aims to develop a better understanding of both the physical and digital spaces/channels that contain and connect us. Land, Sea & Cables bring together artists who are interested in adapting little-known histories, traditional knowledge, activism, and their cultural roots into experimental, digital art practices. 

Riverdale Projects is a Toronto-based curatorial collective comprising Karina Iskandarsjah and Dallas Fellini. Riverdale Projects is dedicated to employing the transformative power of art to engage and connect communities with each other, as well as with relevant national and global conversations.

Dallas Fellini is an emerging curator, writer, and artist living and working as a guest in Tkaronto/Toronto. Their practice is invested in interdisciplinarity and the dissolution of boundaries between different art forms and arts communities. Dallas holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from OCAD University. They work as a programming coordinator at the Riverdale Hub and are a cofounder of the arts publication Silverfish Magazine.

Karina Iskandarsjah is an Indonesian visual artist and curator whose work highlights cultural hybridity and the experience and histories of geographically displaced individuals. She holds an MFA in Criticism and Curatorial Practice from OCAD University. Karina currently works at Trinity Square Video, The Riverdale Hub, and Glory Hole Gallery for 2SLGBTQ+ artists.