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BigArtTO visits three Toronto neighbourhoods (September 30 to October 3)

Colin Rosati (OCAD U alumnus currently based in Berlin), Pollinating Proxies
Colin Rosati, Pollinating Proxies

The City of Toronto’s free outdoor public art celebration, BigArtTO, continues to offer residents with opportunities to safely explore their communities this week, while still respecting public health guidelines. And OCAD University is excited to participate as a proud partner.

This week, BigArtTO visits the neighbourhoods of Etobicoke North; Scarborough-Rouge Park and Spadina-Fort York.

Twenty-two of the BigArtTO productions are the result of a close collaboration between the City of Toronto, OCAD University, and AVA Animation & Visual Arts Inc. Three of the BigArtTO productions are being delivered at waterfront locations and will be activated by program partner, The Bentway. These meaningful partnerships will provide opportunities for emerging Toronto-based artists and students.

September 30 to October 3: daily from 8 to 11 p.m.

Etobicoke North

(Thistletown Community Centre, 925 Albion Rd. M9V 1A6))

Shaheer Zazai (OCAD U alumnus), Trajan Pro 10

Zazai’s video is part of a series based on traditional Afghan carpet patterns. It is the most linear video of the process. It shows a design being formed from beginning to end, breaking apart, forming back together and reversing itself back to the beginning. 

Courtesy of Patel Brown Gallery

Shaheer Zazai is a Toronto-based Afghan-Canadian artist with a current studio practice both in painting and digital media. Zazai received a BFA from OCAD University in 2011 and was artist-in-residence at OCAD University as part of the Digital Painting Atelier in 2015. He is a recipient of Ontario Arts Council grants and was a finalist for EQ Bank’s Emerging Digital Artist Award in 2018.

Since graduating, Zazai has had several solo and group exhibitions such as those at the Capacity 3 Gallery, CAFKA Biennial 2019, Art Gallery of Mississauga, Glenhyrst Art Gallery of Brantford, Double Happiness Projects and Patel Gallery. His digital works have been covered by CBC Arts in 2018, Ajam Media Collective in 2019 and most recently by The Globe and Mail in 2020.

Zazai’s practice focuses on exploring and attempting to investigate the development of cultural identity in the present geopolitical climate and diaspora. The digital works revolve around Microsoft Word and imagery drawn from traditional Afghan carpets. Through mimicking carpet-making methods, Zazai creates his own designs in Microsoft Word, where every knot of a carpet is translated into a typed character. While the digital is a process-based exploration, the paintings have been an internal investigation into vulnerability and fear. All submitted works are produced out of screen recordings of his process working on his digital works. Each video is a play on the accidents that happen. The final works mimic glitch art and computer errors but are created manually.

Scarborough-Rouge Park

(Malvern Community Centre, 30 Sewells Rd., M1B 3G5)

Colin Rosati (OCAD U alumnus currently based in Berlin), Pollinating Proxies

Pollinating Proxies uses a variety of camera representations of Hummingbirds from early 20th century 16mm footage up to emergent media of CV (computer vision). In all representations of this ephemeral bird, the limitations of the camera technology are exposed; from limited exposure, poor image quality, interlacing codec artifacts in interrupted by the hummingbird’s speed. These forms of representation embody different forms of knowing; from scientific reductionism, taxonomy, amateur home footage, and big data analyzed by CV. Pollinating Proxies stages didactics of “truth” inherent to imaging tools.

Hummingbirds can act as a framework for ways of looking related to consuming video/ entertainment video today. The speed of a hummingbird's is only one of many frameworks that bring up questions about temporality, from the limits of imaging tools, to perception itself: thinking about hummingbirds’ temporality, metabolic and consumption patterns, that stands in contrast to our current “attention economy.” This phrase is characteristic of a new temporality, one that opens to long form consumption, undulating attention spans across network connected devices, lack of memory and performative busyness. Consuming nectar and digital media are brought together to think of human and non-human value systems of reward seeking consumption.

Spadina-Fort York

(Malting Silos, 9 Eireann Quay, M5V 3N2)

Erika DeFreitas, “a composition for an elegy to what once was and all that remains; or, a score for the past, the present, the future tenses”

DeFreitas compiled footage of herself tracing the cracks and contours of buildings — including fragments of Toronto architectural artifacts (now installed at Scarborough's Guild Park and Gardens) and the Canadian Malting Co. itself. "It's kind of paying homage to the past that we once knew because everybody talks about this 'new normal,'" she explains. "So it's thinking about the past, but thinking about the idea of tomorrow, possibilities." Source: CBC.

The BigArtTO initiative runs to December 5, 2020. A complete event schedule is available on the City of Toronto website