An ancient history of the future*

Work by Doug Back, Judith Doyle, Johanna Householder & Martha Ladly

April 7 to 11, 2010


In conjunction with the International Experimental Media Congress held at York University and OCAD University from April 7 to 11, this group show presented works which explored their own relationships to the idea of the experimental. Collectively these works took up one of the central questions posed by the Congress, "How do art works express, reflect, document or intervene in the aesthetics, ideas, politics... of an historical conjuncture?"


Artists' Bios

Doug Back has been using electronics and computer control in his installation works since 1979. He received the Petro Canada Award in 1985 for pioneering work in his field. He has shown these works in Sweden, the USA, Germany, Italy, Holland, Austria, Mexico, France and across Canada. He is a founding member of the YYZ and Inter-Access galleries in Toronto.

Judith Doyle is a filmmaker and artist practicing in new media. Her recent hybrid media projects are at the intersection between physical and virtual conditions; they address conditions of contemporary memory and forgetting through social media. Foxscape is Doyle’s memory architecture for the Unreal Tournament 2 Game Engine produced during her CanWest Global Fellowship at the Banff New Media Institute in 2005. It evokes virtual geographies through digital handicraft. Doyle’s work on SecondLife leverages the open source capacities of this virtual geography to link physical installations and long-distance collaborators. These include the Amauta Media Lab in Cuzco Peru, the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing and Memory Link at Toronto's Baycrest Center. Awards for Doyle's films include Best Documentary - Brooklyn International Film Festival, four films at TIFF and a special jury citation at Mannheim.

Johanna Householder works at the intersection of popular and unpopular culture, shaping plundered source material in order to talk back to mass forms. She has been making performances, video and other artwork since the late 1970s. Householder practices a unique brand of pop cultural détournement, often in collaboration with other artists. A founder of the 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art, she has sought to create a forum for international exchange and is interested in the histories of performance and the effect that performance has had in contemporary art, new media, and social perception. She is the co-editor of Caught in the Act: an anthology of performance by Canadian women, published by YYZ Books in 2004. Her collected video works, Approximations 1- 3, produced with b.h. Yael, have screened internationally. She is a Professor at OCAD.

Martha Ladly is an Associate Professor at OCAD, and the Director of the Interdisciplinary Master’s Program in Art, Media and Design. She specializes in technology and design research, and is a senior researcher with the OCAD Digital Futures Initiative and the Mobile Lab. Prior to her academic career Martha was a graduate of the OCA, an artist and musician, performer, and writer with an international recording career as both a band member and solo recording artist. She earned two certified gold discs, numerous top-ten singles and albums, and a Canadian Juno award. In the 1990s she worked with Peter Gabriel and Real World, leading design teams for award-winning interactive arts and entertainment projects. She was the Director of HorizonZero, the Canadian digital arts and culture website, from 2003-4. Martha is an author and the co-editor of the anthology Mobile Nation: Creating Methodologies for Mobile Platforms.

An Ancient History of the Future