Rethinking Art & Machine – A Conversation with Marla Wasser

Outside of Montreal and a few stalwart artist-run centres, interactive and media art-focused exhibitions aren’t that regular of an occurrence in Canada. This is a little strange given how many established and emerging practices can be found in the ‘Great White North’, and can presumably be chalked up to a pervasive conservative in many institutions. But, this is beginning to change and we’re finally starting to see some of the more forward-thinking contemporary art museums in Canada expand their bandwidth to include more digital and electronic art. So with all of that said, Toronto-based curator Marla Wasser’s RAM: Rethinking Art & Machine exhibition is a very welcome addition to the Canadian arts programming landscape, as it offers a window into a number of vital practices. Originally staged at Kitchener-Waterloo’s THEMUSEUM in 2011-12 and currently showing at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (AGNS) in Halifax, the show assembles work from a number of mid and late career media art heroes. Quite impressively, it features a colour-coordinated listening station by Angela Bulloch, Jim Campbell’s low-res sculptural light installations, the angular machinations of computer art pioneer Manfred Mohr, Alan Rath’s playful robotic sculptures, and interactive imagery by Daniel Rozin.

As a follow-up to a warm conversation that we shared on a cold Toronto day in January, Wasser has engaged in a fairly extensive interview with CAN in which she details the evolution of RAM, her experiences engaging a more general audience when showcasing technology-based artworks, and her art consultancy Pursuits Inc.

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