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Object Gardens / Peter Burr, Anna Eyler & Nicolas Lapointe, and Jakob Kudsk Steensen

Image: Anna Eyler and Nicolas Lapointe, ‘/lick’, 2023.

May 19 – June 23, 2023
Curated by Andrew Bailey
Opening Reception: Friday, May 19, 5-7 pm. Curator talk to follow at 7 pm.

Object Gardens is a collection of recent media art that explores the environments that we choose to immerse ourselves within when navigating the landscapes of technoculture. More specifically, this exhibition brings together the work of Peter Burr, Anna Eyler and Nicolas Lapointe, and Jakob Kudsk Steensen to playfully interrogate the ecocritical concept of “hyperobjects” through the lenses of digital worldbuilding and art.

For those unfamiliar, a hyperobject is a term coined by philosopher Timothy Morton(1) to describe environmental phenomena that transcend a human-centric understanding of the world. These complex systems often function across vast spatial and temporal scales and can include seemingly incomprehensible and apocalyptic processes like extinction, black holes, climate change, and radiation. In effect, hyperobjects challenge our traditional ways of thinking about the environment, exposing the limitations of our individualistic and anthropocentric worldview.

Within this theoretical context, each of the pieces included in Object Gardens works to cultivate its own form of hyperobjective worldbuilding. In this way, Object Gardens aims to grapple with the trash of the Anthropocene and rewrite its rules into what cyberfeminist scholar Donna Haraway refers to as a ”much better SF game.” And it is within the decaying virtual worlds that compose this exhibition, where one can chip and shred and layer like a “mad gardener” to imagine “a much hotter compost pile for still possible pasts, presents, and futures.”(2)

  1. Timothy Morton. Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology After the End of the World. University of Minnesota Press. 2013.
  2. Donna Haraway. “Tentacular Thinking: Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene.” e-flux, Journal #75 – September 2016. 

Curator Biography:

Andrew Bailey is a Mitacs Accelerate Postdoctoral Fellow with Archive/Counter-Archive and York University’s Cinema and Media Arts Department. He recently earned his Ph.D. in Art History and Visual Culture at York University with a dissertation focused on formalism and medium-specificity within videogame art history. Andrew also teaches new media art history and game studies at OCAD University and has previously worked as the Section Head of Essays for First Person Scholar (The Games Institute/the University of Waterloo) and Co-Vice Editor for Press Start Journal (the University of Glasgow). His writing has been recently published in the Videogame Art Reader, Critical Distance, Loading: The Journal of the Canadian Game Studies Association, and Metacritic Journal for Comparative Studies and Literature, and he has upcoming chapters in anthologies from Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, and Louisana University Press.