Abstract Ecologies – A Conversation with Amber Christensen

“There Should be Gardens” is the title of the 14th edition of InterAccess’s Emerging Artists Exhibition. Drawing on her research in feminist/queer curatorial and media arts practices, the exhibition is curated by Toronto’s Amber Christensen and showcases five Canadian early career artists whose practices address “the interconnectedness of technologies, ecologies, botanies, gender and the cosmos.” In aggregate the show’s selected works invoke elemental qualities, amplify and abstract natural materialities, and offer different modes of seeing and engaging the world. With the exhibition winding down this week, CAN engaged Christensen in a Q&A to delve into its framing and provocative works.

I think the white cube is imbued with a particular history, but that also opens up possibilities for re-imagining. With that in mind I attempted to re-create the InterAccess gallery as a sensorial garden in which various kinds of beings, both human and nonhuman (the physicality of the gallery visitor, digital and material technologies used by the artists as well as the concepts that the artists are working with) could come into contact with one another, and which they interact, pass each other by or just co-exist. The ideas that have shaped my approach are influenced/inspired by concepts that I’ve borrowed (and possibly misinterpreted) from scholars working in what is called feminist new materialisms—that acknowledge the materiality and affectivity of the body and other beings and things—that the matter of all beings and things are not separate and do act upon one another, but are these interactions still happen within a socio, cultural political context.

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