Tech is one of the fastest growing industries in Canada, and with the increasing accessibility of technology comes a wealth of uber-talented digital artists. By working in virtual space rather than IRL, these artists provoke us to rethink and re-examine methods of producing and seeing art, and resist the assumption that screen time lacks space for critical engagement.
But, unlike the tech industry, there’s not a lot of funding available for digital art. For this reason, the Emerging Digital Artist Award (EDAA) was created by EQ Bank in 2015 (now a collaborative effort between EQ Bank and local artist-run centre Trinity Square Video, housed in arts hub 401 Richmond). The EDAA is Canada’s first art award that brings recognition to the artists who work primarily with digital tools.
Digital innovation is all about enduring and embracing change, which is why the EDAA doesn’t look for “masterpieces.” The goal of this award? To recognize and support digitally-driven experimentation in the work of early-career artists.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the artists and works that were shortlisted for the 2018 EDAA.
Anna Eyler – PAN/PAN (2018) Video animation, 3:53
Everyone has a vision of what our technologized future will look like, and PAN/PAN generates a playful and uncanny version of this using computer-generated video animation. It probes the connections between exploration, wilderness, and technology, engaging both historical and contemporary discussions around art and nature.
Emily Hamel – The Queer in the Rural (2018) Video, 10:50
The Queer in the Rural explores the spatial politics of a rural landscape in relation to queerness by manually manipulating the code of video files. This glitchy treatment of the landscape calls into question false divides between natural and artificial environments, showing instead how they can operate harmoniously.
Alvin Luong – Taking is too easy, but that’s the way it is (Dance, Dance, Revolution?) (2016) Video, 1:55
In a gesture of satire and angst, Alvin Luong created a custom level of video game “Dance Dance Revolution” themed for Spice Girls’ song “Wannabe” and the London Poll Tax Riot, which is demoed in this artwork. The video game’s announcer is a revolutionary leader, the Spice Girls sing a song of rebellion, and the body moves along with the rioting public.
Xuan Ye – IN BETWEEN () WE OSCILLATE (2018) Web installation
By now you’ve probably realized that each of these artworks is as unique as the next, and Xuan Ye’s web installation is no exception. Its neon visualization of popular English antonyms echoes the current global socio-political environment, where the proliferation of the digital and non-human, as well as de-territorialization and migration, point to a reality and subjectivity that are in constant flux.
Shaheer Zazai – Carpet No. 7 (2017) Digital image
Shaheer Zazai has created the digital image Carpet No. 7 as a way to explore the effects of displacement, hybridization, and appropriation as a result of advances in technology. The carpet is one work from a larger series of digital textiles within Microsoft Word which serve as a homage to the beauty of culture and tradition that has fallen victim to political turmoil.
You can check out the finalists exhibition live at Trinity Square Video from September 27 to October 13. The winner of the EDAA will be announced on October 4 at a private award ceremony.
Find out more by visiting the EDAA website.
When: September 27 to October 13
Where: Trinity Square Video – 121–401 Richmond Street West