Lively Objects explores the seduction of things that seem to possess, or to be possessed by life. It brings together a collection of objects that vibrate with vitality through mechanical, magical or mythical forces. The exhibition addresses the idea of enchantment in a contemporary context and asks why and how, in an age of rationality, we are attracted by the animistic and atavistic experience of things “coming to life”.
Spread throughout the eclectic permanent collection of the Museum of Vancouver Lively Objects infiltrates dioramas, display cases and didactic panels. The works in this exhibition take many forms – gloves, tables, puppets, figurines, machines, houses and boxes. Seeding quiet disruption amongst the traditional museum display, the objects nestle, lurk, provoke, vibrate, dance, move and speak. Like a game of hide and seek, visitors can hunt through the museum to find the objects, or drift through and take their chances. Some objects are hiding in plain sight, speaking only to those who really stop to listen. Others are deliberately pulling focus and making a ruckus.
This exhibition builds on curatorial research in new media art and “post-disciplinarity” - the idea that the boundaries between traditional disciplines are not just shifting but inevitably eroding entirely. Contemporary changes in knowledge formations demand new ways to combine, organize and experience things. The divisions that have separated the aesthetic from the useful and the magic from the mundane are wavering. Lively Objects asks what role enchantment may play in rethinking our mutual co-evolution with technology, and how we negotiate a world where machinic encounters are inevitable.
Diana Burgoyne, Wendy Coburn, Steve Daniels, Judith Doyle, Kate Hartman, Garnet Hertz, Simone Jones with Lance Winn, Germaine Koh, and Norman White.
Curated by Caroline Langill and Lizzie Muller.
This exhibition is supported by OCAD University, Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Canada Research Chair Program, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the Canada Foundation for Innovation, The Ontario Arts Council, Intel, Telus, Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, Museum of Vancouver and the Vancouver Art Gallery. The following provided production support for Judith Doyle’s work: Ian Murray, Robin Len, Chao Feng, Nick Beirne, Naoto Hieda, John McCorriston, James Rollo, Fabiolo Hernandez Cancino, Cody Berry. Production support for Germaine Koh derived from CNC machining by Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Alan Waldron / Infinite FX, Hamza Vora, and Gordon Hicks. Members of the Social Body Lab who supported Kate Hartman’s work are as follows Jackson McConnell, Hillary Predko, Boris Kourtoukov, Izzie Colpitts-Campbell, Alexis Knipping, and Rickee Charbonneau. The curators are indebted to the following OCAD University students who conducted preliminary research for this exhibition through their exhibition Influenc(Ed.) Machines; Robin Goldberg, Matthew Kyba, Kate Murfin, Tak Pham, Treva Pullen and Renée Stephens.