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ISEA2015: Fuse and Disruption

There are two major exhibitions that have been titled Disruption as part of ISEA2015 . One will be installed at SFU Goldcorp Centre for the arts and features features approximately 40 artists, all working in a variety of media.

There are two major exhibitions that have been titled Disruption as part of ISEA2015. One will be installed at SFU Goldcorp Centre for the arts and features features approximately 40 artists, all working in a variety of media. The second show will be installed at the Vancouver Art Gallery, it will cover three floors at the gallery as well as areas in front of the gallery in the courtyard and rinks below. 50+ artists will be featured at this event! This will be a performative exhibition, with DJ's and interactive installations for everyone to explore. At the gallery, the ISEA program is also integrated with the gallery's FUSE initiative a monthly late night event that features performances, workshops, access to exhibitions and many other exciting elements. Both exhibitions were curated by ISEA's Artistic Directors Kate Armstrong and Malcolm Levy. VIA reached out to Kate Armstrong to find out more about both exhibitions as we were curious to learn what would be in store for visitors.

VIA: These two exhibitions/events are a major undertaking, can you give us a sense of numbers involved with this? We know that there are nearly 100 artists involved, but considering that installations and performances are spread over several floors in both spaces (The Vancouver Art Gallery and Goldcorp Centre for the Arts), you must require a lot of human power to prepare for these two shows. How many are on the core organizing team and how many additional techs, volunteers and artist assistants are involved in putting something of this scale on?

KA: It’s true, we have a huge and amazing team and none of this could be happening without them. We have over 200 volunteers. Our organizing team includes 60 people. We have three core tech leads who are working like crazy to pull it all together. In terms of the artistic program the glue is Kristina Fiedrich and Deborah Turnbull Tillman. Now that we are all in the same city and the same room, and now that the week has arrived, it is finally possible to visualize the incredible team and to see how many of us there are!

VIA: Several of the artists who are involved in these events are also presenting their work, or giving tutorials, or part of panels, ISEA seems like a strong interconnected community of passionate Electronic Artists and enthusiasts. Is there crossover between artists who are at one venue or another at the gallery and at SFU?

KA: ISEA is a really interesting and strong community. It has a lot of different threads running through it. The ISEA community centres in academia and in the diverse fields that are articulated by hugely variable art/technology intersections, for example there are research communities and creative practitioners working in performance, the future of the moving image,  mapping, DIY, activism, augmented reality, electronic literature, rapid prototyping, generative systems, wearable computing, data. ISEA is always about engaging with this community but in addition to that, we’ve tried to engage others, including artists who work outside the context of the ISEA community and artistic partners in Vancouver who may not have paid any attention to ISEA in the past - galleries, collectives, artist run centres, festivals, curators, museums and others. I think every ISEA is distinct and takes a cue from the context in which it is happening. That’s very true for ISEA2015 in Vancouver. In terms of artists exhibiting at more than one venue, it is not the case on the whole.

Vortical Filament by Patrick Harrop, Image courtesy of ISEA2015

VIA: It will be difficult to do, but are you able to highlight two works (one at SFU and one at the VAG) that you think will make a big impression on attendees?

KA:  I’m really excited about Patrick Harrop’s piece, Vortical Filament, that will be installed at SFU. It is a beautiful kinetic sculpture that plays with the idea of continuity. Hanging fishing lines oscillate at different speeds, creating different visual patterns that seem like shapes or apparitions because the eye reads the movement of a tiny thread as a broader field. The work recalls waveforms and the natural world, and plays with human perception.  I like it because it is lo-fi in a really unexpected way.

TZ’IJK by Paula Gaetano Adi & Gustavo Crembil

At the Vancouver Art Gallery one of the works that I love is TZ’IJK by  Paula Gaetano Adi and Gustavo Crembil. It is a robot that takes the shape of a large mud ball. The artists contextualize this work with reference to Latin American creationist mythologies and see it as an alternative approach to how we think of artificial life forms. It is a challenge to a whole host of binaries, including western/indigenous and technology/craft. I love this work because I think it challenges people to think about the aesthetics of technology and the dominant forms of control and definition that shape our experience. It is amazing that in the context of a moment we are told is a cultural and technological explosion of possibility, we are actually seeing in some cases a reduction in our imaginative prospects. I see this work as an incredible provocation.

TZ’IJK by Paula Gaetano Adi & Gustavo Crembil

VIA: Everyone is connected to electronics in society, where do you see these events having the most impact on attendees? What type of interest or reactions by visitors would you like to see over the course of Fuse and the Disturbance exhibitions?

KA: I think it’s a transformative moment in which we as a culture are being confronted by collapse. There is going to be a breaking point. The ideas of creative disruption and creative destruction run in and through so many different discourses - everything from Marx to marketing. We just wanted to look at that, and to use an artistic methodology for doing that. Like most processes of making, I don’t think we don’t know yet what we have done. So I’m looking forward to the gathering, the discussions, the events, the works, and to seeing what emerges from all of it together.

9:00am - 5:00pm, August 14th - 18th, throughout the SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts (149 West Hastings Street, Vancouver)

Featured Artists:

Kate Geck, Esther Polak & Ivar van Bekkum (PolakVanBekkum), Jacek Doroszenko & Ewa Doroszenko, FM Grande, Shannon Novak, Dawid Górny & Jacopo Atzori (Fabrica, Communications Research Centre), Paul Wong & Patrick Daggit, Michael Rodemer, Kamarulzaman Bin Mohamed Sapiee, Davis & Davis, Kazunori Ogasawara, Seiichiro Matsumura, Seiko Okamoto & Cuichi Arakawa, Austin Stewart, Erin Besler & Ian Besler (Besler & Sons), Emilio Vavarella & Daniel Belquer, Yuxi (James) Cao, Timothy Ryan, Matthew Gingold, Adrian Pijoan, Ian Haig, Matt Roberts & Terri Witek, Jessica Thompson, Owen Roberts, Katherine Bennett, and Josephine Starrs & Leon Cmielewski, Steven A. Bjornson

A performance event in the rotunda of the Vancouver Art Gallery from a previous FUSE night. Image courtesy of the Vancouver Art Gallery. (

DISRUPTION at the Vancouver Art Gallery - 750 Hornby Street Vancouver

Saturday, August 15 • 7:00pm - 12:00am (7pm-8pm for ISEA attendees only)

FUSE is free for Vancouver Art Gallery Members, for non-members it is $20.

Vancouver Art Gallery’s FUSE is a wildly popular event where art, music and performance collide. Featured Artists: Julianne Aguilar, Tizian Baldinger, Scott Bowering, Nick Bratton, Karla Brunet, Vivian Charlesworth, Paolo Cirio, Jeroen Cluckers, Gustavo Crembil, Kevin Day, Joseph Delappe, Eylul Dogruel, John Flax, Philip Galanter, Benjamin Gaulon, Kyriaki Goni, David Guez, Patrick Harrop, Justin Harvey, Bjorn Erik Haugen, Matthew Hebert, Daniel Joliffe, Carmin Karasic, Scott Kildall, Pippa Lattey, Amelia Marzec, Laurent Mignonneau, A. Bill Miller, Alex Munt, Aly Ogasian, Marisa Olson, Chiara Passa, Klaus Pinter, Jacob Rivkin, Antoine Schmitt, Leo Selvaggio, Rick Silva, Christa Sommerer, Winnie Soon, Reva Stone, Daniel Temkin, Bruno Vianna, Andres Wanner, Marcelina Wellmer, and Mo. H. Zareei

If you would like to attend ISEA, please visit the Registration Page for more information.