ArtistsEsery Mondesir,Rémy Huberdeau,Mike Hoolboom,Nadine Valcin,Ethann Néon,Lisa Truttmann,Karen Akerman & Miguel Seabra Lopes,Ricardo Vieira Lisboa,SoJin Chun
TAKE TAKE TAKE TAPE TAME TAKE is an option for considering illicit drug use, comparatively altered states, identity, and our necessarily polyphonic relationships to The Real. This programme of experimental and non-narrative shorts - selected from the past decade of additions to the CFMDC Catalogue - will be shown separately to four members of my community of people who use drugs (PWUD). As they watch, I will record their real-time commentary and critique responding to their assigned viewing. These recordings will subsequently be anonymized using artist @ZeesyPowers' Anti-Selfie filter, an augmented reality overlay originally made for @CrisisVision, an Instagram project curated by Andrea Cooper. The nude preview reel - without the accompanying response recordings - will be screened on April 20 at 8pm. The next screening on April 27 at 9pm will include the simultaneous orations of the critical, curious, and boisterous feedback by PWUD. When I was a gallery programmer, “non-art”* audiences often asked me to answer the question: “What does it mean?” The slippery it being either a specific artwork or the exhibition as a whole. My go-to response was to defer the presumption of authority onto them. “Well, what does it make you think of? Feel? Remember?” I'd usually follow this with some ramblings about how anybody who has physical senses necessarily references the work(s), not just me. Anything you experience is referenced against your library of memories of other things that may have engaged those senses. And in turn, you engage the works as well. If you have sight, you index what you see here against other things you have seen, offering explanations and comparisons that map where things come from, what they might mean, how they do this and why. Call it intuition, interpretation, information science. A person’s capacity to find meaning in a piece of art will change or expand, of course, when they have access to context, or some insight into the motivations and conditions under which it was made. We can draw on various sources to unlock such factors: a more lengthy engagement with the work, or some knowledge of a histories, and Herstories, and counter narratives, and perhaps the art market, global politics, gastronomy, quantum physics, the sacred art of fisting, and also, how to blow up an air mattress without losing its tautness in the process. Drugs can offer you all of those things in explicit and implicit ways. Hallucinations open portals between what is "seen" and what "is.” Amphetamine-induced psychosis opens the senses more fully, unburdens (often terrifyingly) the brain’s insistence on filtering out allegedly "unnecessary" data. As an Antitheist, it pains me to admit that the class of drugs known as entheogens have long been used to speak or connect to some higher power, but it’s not my place to contest it. Rules are abolished, allowing the drug user to find new understandings of our existential problems and indeed, to see ourselves in a new, holistic logic defined by a shimmering web of interrelation and renewal. This paradigmatic collapse becomes a means of healing, a radical change that permits us to find resolutions to past trauma, be it individual or intergenerational. How better a way to experience this programme than with such a delightful and untethered paratext, immersing you in the impromptu descants of a cacophonous chorus of Alternative facts, but the real kind.
*The idea that audiences outside of contemporary arts discourses have been taught that they, the General Population of Non-Artists, lack the capacity to decipher and appreciate Art.'
Program Still: Pariah, my brother, I follow you show me to the springs by Esery Mondesir