Underground in the Aether

Saturday, April 8 2017
VIVO Media Arts Centre

Underground in the Aether was a symposium responding to the themes of collectivity, selfhood and telecommunications in the concurrent exhibition Hank Bull: Connexion (Burnaby Art Gallery) and marked the closing event for Spring Fever: Vancouver Independent Archives 2017.

Gathering eight speakers from across Canada, the United States and Europe, Underground in the Aether explored the entanglements of technology, fantasy and sociality as engaged by an informal and international community of artists from the 1960s to present day. Seizing the terminology of our present network economy, keynote Hannah B.Higgins, Professor of Art History, University of Illinois (Chicago), presented “Aether/Or: The Place of Things and Beings in the Eternal Network,” proposing are habilitation of these terms following their use by artists in the 1960s. Presentations by Vincent Bonin (Montréal), Allison Collins (Vancouver), Luis Jacob (Toronto), Jee-Hae Kim (University of Cologne) and Felicity Tayler (University of Toronto) investigated the stakes and sources behind artists’ turn to the imaginary during times of crisis, how forms, identities and communities are transmuted as they circulate through networks, and how artists ’subcultures convened within mainstream and national communications circuits. With the underground transposed into the aether all is up in the air: upturned and diffuse, yet also aloft, unfixed and in movement. Together these presentations examined artists' practices to consider possible ways of living in and through mediation today.


PANEL 1 (Video)

Elisa Ferrari and Karen Knights, VIVO
“Spring Fever: VancouverIndependent Archives Week 2017”

Allison Collins, Media Arts Curator, Western Front
“TERMINAL Project”

Jee-Hae Kim, University of Cologne
“Is it dinnertime in Vancouver?" Some Notes on Entangled Thoughts and Cables”

PANEL 2 (Video)

Vincent Bonin, Independent curator and writer
“Filliou meets Badiou”

Luis Jacob, artist, writer, curator
“Nothing by Mouth: Networked Artist-Communities in Vancouver and Toronto during the 1970’s”

Felicity Tayler, University of Toronto
“The Spirit of Those Spaces Where Networks Overlap”


Hannah B. Higgins, University of Illinois, Chicago
“Aether/Or: The Place of Things and Beings in the Eternal Network”                                    

Co-organized by Joni Low and Robin Simpson (Doryphore Independent Curators Society), with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, Burnaby Art Gallery, VIVO Media Arts Centre and Or Gallery. Part of Spring Fever: Vancouver Independent Archives 2017.

Identity design by Chris Lee; photos by Joni Low; video documentation by Felix Oltean.

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