Going visual at the Fine Arts Festival

York University and its Faculty of Fine Arts continue to celebrate the official opening of The Accolade Project, York’s new $107.5 million state-of-the-art teaching, exhibition and performance complex, with a week-long multi-disciplinary Fine Arts Festival running March 20-26.

Today, the Department of Visual Arts and the Fine Arts Cultural Studies Program will celebrate the inauguration of the new Student Gallery and Fine Arts Cultural Studies Project Rooms in The Accolade Project with exhibitions, public talks and performances. There will also be ongoing displays throughout the week of the festival, highlighting the work of students, faculty and guests artists/scholars.

Headlining the visual component of the festival is The Third Annual Goldfarb Lecture in Visual Arts taking place today at 2:30pm in Room 005, Accolade West. Visiting scholar, writer and critic Brian Massumi (left) will speak on “Going Kinetic: Moving beyond Biopower”. This highly popular annual lecture is free and open to the public. It is generously supported by Joan and Martin Goldfarb.

Massumi is an academic, writer and social critic who teaches in the communication department of at the University of Montreal. His research and publications focus on the philosophies of communication, electronic art, computer-aided design, architecture and the virtual. In his talk, he will look at what new modes of power are implied by the shift toward the logic of pre-emption embraced by the Bush administration in the US as the governing principle of its indefinitely prolongable “war on terror”. Massumi finds a paradox in that precise actions must be directed toward nonspecific, or potential, objects. He argues that the paradox must also apply to the group that is supposed to be protected by the administration’s pre-emptive acts.

An exhibition titled, “Random Thought Generator” will run for the duration of the week, from 9:30am to 4:30pm daily in the Student Gallery located at 105 Accolade West. The opening reception for this exhibit takes place this afternoon from 4 to 6pm and the gallery has extended is hours for today and will be open until 9pm tonight. .

This group exhibition by 12 young artists in the Graduate Program in Visual Arts offers a variety of media including drawing, print media, photography, time-based media, painting and sculpture. The artists will be present to discuss their work with visitors at the opening reception.

Also taking place today is an open house for the group show titled “Currents”. The open house takes place from 4 to 9pm in the Joan & Martin Goldfarb Centre for Fine Arts. It features works in a wide range of media by upper-year undergraduate students, on display throughout the studios of the Visual Arts Department. Artists will be on hand to introduce their work.

On view is an innovative student exhibition titled “Pressed for Time”. Featuring a diverse array of  print media work, the exhibition runs in the Goldfarb Centre Gallery until March 24.  The work of acclaimed artist, Fiona Tan, an exhibition of photo and video works by the internationally-acclaimed artist, curated by Philip Monk, running to March 26 in the Art Gallery of York University’s new home in Accolade East.

In addition to the events offered by the Department of Visual Arts, the Fine Arts Cultural Studies program offers a series of informative lectures and special events on today. The events, under the broad title, “Windows on Fine Arts Cultural Studies”, take place in Rooms 102 and 103 in Accolade West and feature interactive exhibitions, public talks and inter-cultural performances by students, faculty and guest artists inaugurate the program’s new project rooms.

From 4 to 5pm today, Toronto artists Luis Jacob and Adrian Blackwell hold an open public dialogue exploring social and cultural issues that shape urban space and cultural production. Interacting in a “show and tell” format, the artists will present each other with a set of objects or images to provoke spontaneous, unscripted reflections on their possible meanings, raising questions about power, community and change. Audience participation is encouraged.

From 5 to 7pm today, there will be a number of new media installations, live audio/video presentations and interactive, interdisciplinary and inter-cultural performances. Titled “What is Fine Arts Cultural Studies”, the events feature an introduction by Program Coordinator Marlene Kadar. The events include:

New Media Installations:

  • Interface In Your Face
    This installation contemplates the increasing digital interface options available and their potential effects on the transmission of a message.
  • Screen-based Fluid Interfaces
    Internet-based collaborative explorations of the dynamic relations between technological and social interfaces and the intersections of physical and virtual spaces.
  • Kensington Market Intercultural Laboratory
    Students explore the multiple ‘cultures’ that thrive in Toronto’s Kensington Market by mapping out contemporary historical memories of the area.


  • Call me hear
    Jeremy Rotsztain (audio) and Don Sinclair (video) perform live digital media manipulation. The audience will be invited to share their personal camera phone images which will be used as source material for the performance.
  • Three by Three
    Interdisciplinary performance by Don Sinclair, Intan Murtadza and Yves Candau combining dance and gamelan with interactive sound and video processing.
  • Voicing Tabla
    Denise Nuttall presents a short workshop and performance on the North Indian percussion form.

For more information on these and other festival events, visit the Fine Arts Festival Web site.