Join us on Thursday, January 27th at 8PM AST from the comfort of your own homes for
FRUIT LOOPS: Video Art Live Screening, curated by Marissa Sean Cruz.
“The artists propose allegorical subversions to oppressive systems through a kind of propositional queering. Connecting these works are themes of identity, satire and costuming which foster a sense of liberty across the circuits of capitalism and production.” - Marissa Sean Cruz, Curator
About The Curator
Marissa Sean Cruz is a digital multimedia and video performance artist from Kjipuktuk (so-called Halifax). Their experimental videos use 3D modelling, sound design and costumed performances to study identity and value systems. Remixes of pop culture and commercialized products are synthesized creating alternative narratives. These humorous works aim to process a fast-paced contemporary present and envision possible, utopian futures.
Marissa Sean Cruz (b. 1996) has been displayed in venues like Xpace, Studio 303, Gallery 1C03, Galerie VAV Gallery and Struts Gallery and Faucet Media Centre. Cruz’s various projects have been displayed throughout the United States and distributed digitally through spaces like the Centre for Art and Thought, Canadian Art, Video Pool Media Arts Centre, Public Parking and more.
Image: Océane Buxton, Still from Saint-Madamette of Los Angeles Chapter 2, 2021
Curatorial Statement, Marissa Sean Cruz, 2022. 3:42
The title for the screening, FRUIT LOOPS, is a response to a dietary habit spawning from the industrial revolution. This era is defined by mass production which upset the agrarian lifestyle to factory-driven work schedules. Meals became formulaic in time; workers ate in the morning prior to the congregation for supper in the evening when off the clock. This pattern normalised breakfast as an item on the agenda before one even begins their nine-to-five.
Today, this meal continues to collectivise seemingly productive members of society at dawn. Suspended in these moments of habitual sacredness we pour our coffees (or purchase vanilla oat lattes) to partake in breakfast-time. Maybe we are the ones steaming their milk for no tip, slipping in a bite here and there on shift. We, like many who have worked before us, understand it as the most important meal of the day. We know that the most effective performances, work-related or otherwise, begin with a nutritious breakfast. Along with coffee, cereal has been a key part to this philosophy.
Cereal is a timely relic of industrial innovation. These processed grains are staples to the pantry. Perhaps our cereal boxes stand like buildings in the skylines of our cupboards. Waiting for us to rise from our stupor. To rinse the bowl from the night before and summon them for our workday, which consequently is their workday too. Perhaps the O’s converse with each other, making small talk at the water-coolers and checking the weather. Been right rainy these days. These circular grains do the work in the spin cycle of our digestive systems. They fuel our away-from-keyboard lives and render each obstacle we cross as bearable.
This system repeats.
A question: What if we call off work altogether? Call in sick today. Hit ESC. Join a livestream. There is a strenuous amount of labour involved in the very vibrations of our own cellular membranes. Feed it. Bite the hand that feeds, while you are at it. There is work to be done, but for whom?
These systems have hurt us.
The works in this series exist in the messy, congealing and soured state of this post-industrial landscape like milk left on the counter. This collection of video art draws from the actuality of our material conditions, synthesised and reimagined.
So I offer a suggestion: Allow the glucose of today (and tomorrow…or even at midnight…or for a snack…or in an hour…) to run through our bodies to make us feel good for goodness sake. Our blood cells sprawling around our bodies do look a lot like the cereal shapes we ate this morning. Rid the feelings of some kind of caloric obligation. Sit back and enjoy the show.
As per our last email, can we circle back to... break these continuing loops and cyclical forms. Reject it, eat it. Devise a new plan for a burgeoning future, clink your glassware with your neighbours and drink the divine syrup at the bottom of the bowl.
S(HE) WOLF, Alisson Escobar, 2019. 3:25. this is making do • this is a social commentary • this is a grammatical bricolage • this is pastiche • this is subcultural identification • this is pop poaching • this is a memetic reappropriation • this is blonde washing • this is lewd • this is how we heal • this is zero fucks given • this is self representation • this is post partial moon eclipse • this is mercury reggaeton • this is diy • this song is a decade old • this was brought to you by popular demand
BIO Alisson Escobar is a Toronto-based ESL latinx super spy, heavenly peach ambassador. Working with femme fatale mystical, subversive and empowering allegories, Escobar's work is concerned with the power of images, technology and the degree to which identities are shaped by consumer capitalist culture and mass media sensationalism. Their multifaceted narratives and talents include a variety of iconic alter egos and media outlets that aid their exploration of gender, entertainment and satire.
Escobar also manages serial thematic campaigns as Patrón, an artistic advocate and brand that offers a unique expertise in creative, strategy and execution of projects that make an impact.
Taking is too easy, but that’s the way it is (Dance Dance, Revolution?), Alvin Luong, 2016.
‘You have got to give’ - Spice Girls (1996)
The 1990 London Poll Tax Riot marked the end of the Thatcher government’s eleven year tenure of the British Parliament. Within those eleven years the West’s political economy shifted from a post-WW2 Keynesian welfare system into the neoliberal system that has since expanded all over the globe becoming the system in which we live today.
This system of political economy is marked with prioritizing the rights of owners of capital, property, and means of production; the defunding of securities for workers through austerity; the deregulation of finance; and the strengthening of state security apparatuses to ensure the rights of capital. Such a political economy crescendoed with The Great Recession and is onto its encore with the rise of fascism.
Six years after the London Poll Tax Riot, the Spice Girls released their hit song ‘Wannabe’ in 1996, and Konami released their hit video game ‘Dance Dance Revolution’ later in 1998. Taking the title of Konami’s video game seriously, I asked it, ‘is there real revolutionary political will here?’, and I deduced the answer, ‘no’. This inquiry into political neutralization and complacency, extends to Spice Girls’ Wannabe.
In a gesture of satire and angst, I created a custom level of Dance Dance Revolution themed for Spice Girls’ ‘Wannabe’ and the London Poll Tax Riot. In this absurdist intervention, 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.
Alvin Luong (梁超洪) creates artworks based on stories of human migration, land, and dialogues from the diasporic working class communities that he lives and works with. These stories are combined with biography to produce artworks that reflect upon issues of historical development, political economy, and social reproduction; and how these issues intimately affect the lives of people. The artist has shown and screened works in North America and in Asia Pacific at institutions that include the Images Festival (Toronto), Boers-Li Gallery (Beijing), Gudskul (Jakarta), The Polygon Gallery (Vancouver), and Shanghai Modern Art Museum (Shanghai). The artist has held research and resident artist appointments at the Inside-Out Art Museum (Beijing), the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), and HB Station Contemporary Art Research Center (Guangzhou).
bbssscrib1920x1280, Amy Lockhart, 2018. 2:21.
Babyssscrib.com is an exploration of world building and narrative in the contemporary field, where stories often play out over multiple platforms. The project began as a 13min. 2D animation Those Shoes, commissioned by SuperDeluxe (Turner Broadcasting). The animation took place in a seedy night club: Baby's Crib; Babyssscrib.com is a fake website for the dance club. I used the aesthetics and structure of webcam chat (including slowing down, speeding up and holding video footage, as well as using "bad sound" such as feedback, hissing, etc as atmospheric noise accompanied by an interactive chat room) to create over 60 videos featuring the various characters from the animation. The videos are slow, janky, and full of implied stories and exposed character.
The website led to an instagram account with shortened memes of the videos: @babyssscrib_dot_com
The insta led to a one night babyssscrib.com installation at Contrast Film Festival, Austin TX in collaboration with FFTWNZ (Lex Vaughn, Beth CIta).
BIO Amy Lockhart is a filmmaker, animator and artist. Her animations have screened internationally, including the Whitney, NY, British Film Institute, N.Y. Anthology Film Archives, GLAS Animation Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, The Ottawa International Animation Festival, Carnegie Mellon, and Hiroshima International Animation Festival. Lockhart has received fellowship at the National Film Board of Canada and support from the Canada Council for the Arts. She has completed residencies at Calgary’s Quickdraw Animation Society, Struts Gallery, and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her drawings, comics and paintings have been published by Fantagraphics (Ditch Life, 2019), Drawn & Quarterly (Dirty Dishes, 2009), and by Colour Code (Looking Inward, 2016). Her animations are collected in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Experimental Film Archive.
Fruit Jus, Arjun Lal, 2021. 1:12.
Amongst the latex and leather communities across Turtle Island and Europe, it is common to find fetishized clothing inspired by white colonizer iconography. Kilts, lederhosen, catholic paraphernalia, military and police uniforms... are all commonplace. Subverting power structures and surrendering to fantasy becomes problematic for me when I am faced with the iconography of my real-life oppressors.
Fruits of the Forest is an alternative to the stagnant and exclusive traditions present in leather and latex BDSM fetish communities. Deliberately avoiding colonial regalia, my sculpture, performance, photography, and video draw symbolism from forests, landscapes, and the playful and colourful environments that have surrounded me.
Let's explore a magical world inhabited by submissive queer fruit and the dominant forest spirits that watch over them.
Arjun Lal (he/they) is an interdisciplinary artist based in Kijipuktuk. His creative work has been focused on contemporary queer themes of identity, colonialism, fetish culture, and cultural fetishization. They are inspired by their lived experiences as a queer Indian diasporic person who has lived in cities on Turtle Island and in Berlin.
Lal received a Bachelor of Fine Arts - Interdisciplinary from NSCAD University and has had their work supported by Arts Nova Scotia and Canada Council for the Arts. They work across mediums including photography, ceramics, textiles, silicone, video, and performance.
Who Do You Think You Are, I Am, Bridget Moser, 2019. 6:20.
Bridget Moser’s performance and video work has evolved through the use of strategies associated with performance art, experimental theatre, prop comedy, and contemporary dance. These works follow a nonlinear narrative structure, switching abruptly and unexpectedly between different short scenes that assemble into a network of meaning.
Bridget Moser is a performance and video artist whose work combines elements of prop comedy, experimental theatre, performance art, absurd literature, existential anxiety and intuitive dance. Recent solo exhibitions include My Crops Are Dying But My Body Persists at Remai Modern and John Michael Kohler Arts Centre, and You Opened That Can Now Let’s Eat the Whole Thing at Latitude 53 and SPACES Cleveland. She has presented work in venues across Canada, including the Art Gallery of Ontario, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Mercer Union, Vancouver Art Gallery, Western Front and MSVU Art Gallery. Her work has been featured and reviewed in Artforum, Canadian Art, Art in America, C Magazine and Artribune Italy. She was shortlisted for the Sobey Art Award in 2017.
Undefined Figure, Claire Hunter, 2022. 11:04.
The piece is about experiencing a disconnect between body and mind. Not only when dealing with dysphoria, but when thinking of the past self/future self. How past hardships feel like years ago and how past selves don't feel like the person you are today. In the video work I have clips of me crying after hearing some unexpected news versus the skin suit me who still has no emotions. The skin suit begins to have more buttons, like stop motion, to morph like a shedding of the skin.
BIO Claire Hunter is a recent graduate of Mount Allison University, where they completed their Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2020, and currently resides in Fredericton, New Brunswick. They are a queer artist whose practice uses video, installation, performance, sculpture, printmaking, and textiles to discuss their experiences as a queer and nonbinary person. For Claire, it is about bringing back power to queer people where it is commonly unsafe. They live in rural Canada, which makes spaces like bathrooms, clubs, hospitals, and places of worship potentially unsafe. They express this by using their bodily fluids as a tool. By using their bodily fluids, they explore how everyone is the same – we all urinate. To explore this in the past, they have consumed specific food to dye the color of their urine to use it as a medium and had a queer Virgin Mary spit in their mouth. Presently, they explore textiles to comfort those who do not feel empowered.
Abra, hiba ali, 2018. 4:59. ali, in their video abra (2018), is in conversation with amazon’s customer-obsessed mascot, peccy. their discussion about working-class labor, surveillance, and bubbles (economic, social and soap filled), literally paints the video orange. they contend that orange is the contemporary color of labor and surveillance, it is racialized and classed.
hiba ali is a producer of moving images, sounds, garments and words. they reside in many time zones: chicago, toronto and eugene. born in karachi, pakistan, they belong to east african, south asian and arab diasporas. they are a practitioner and (re)learner of swahili, urdu, arabic and spanish languages. they work on two long term art and publication projects: the first being an art-based phd project that examines womyn of colour’s labour, and architecture of surveillance as it exists within the monopoly of amazon (corp.) and the second being a series of works that addresses music, cloth and ritual practices that connect east africa, south asia and the arabian peninsula in the indian ocean region. they are an assistant professor of new media artist/ feminist discourse at the college of design in the art & technology program at the university of oregon, eugene, or. currently, they are a phd candidate in cultural studies at queens university in kingston, ontario. their work has been presented in chicago, stockholm, vienna, berlin, toronto, new york, istanbul, são paulo, detroit, windsor, dubai, austin, vancouver, and portland. they have written for the following magazines: “c”, the seen, newcity chicago, art chicago, art dubai, the state, medium’s zora, rtv, and topical cream. note: the profile picture indicates the need to not be precieved by all carcereal, surveillant and monitoring systems including the corporeal, digital and virtual. the use of lowercase on this site denotes a turn away from egotism embedded in the english language (danah michele boyd) and towards ideas of the collective (bell hooks) and reminds us of the many realities, names and glpyhs that cannot be said in such a colonial language.
Welcome to the Alter-Ego Citadel, KanikaXx, 2020. 14:22.
Welcome to the Alter-Ego Citadel is an experimental film that explores concepts of safety and security in digital spaces. Set in a world that closely resembles our own, the digital sphere acts as both a prison and portal to freedom. As viewers, we are transported inside the inner workings of the dark web, including hyper-surveilled chat rooms with encrypted messages. Pointing to themes surrounding the surveillance state, gender identity, and safe spaces, the work acts as a mirror held to society: as viewers we are asked to consider our own relationship to digital tools, which have the ability to bring us together or tear us apart.
KanikaXx is a digital media artist and soundscape designer exploring perception and identity.
Saint-Madamette of Los Angeles, Océane Buxton, 2021. Chapter 1 and Chapter 2, 14:14.
Saint-Madamette of Los Angeles is a one-woman dilogy about three women. The first part of this video production follows a young Parisian model named Brigitte Boire-De-L’eau. Her claustrophobic world transforms itself when the enigmatic Madamette becomes her new neighbor. In the second part, these two characters cross paths with a glamorous flight attendant impersonator known as Mademoisette. Despite their noticeable differences, these three ladies all share a passion for fashion and an appetite for a loving connection.
BIO During my early teenage years, I became involved with several Internet communities and this led me to a three-year career as a child influencer for a questionable yet popular Youtube channel. Since then, I have developed a body of work that is heavily influenced by my complex relationship with fame, cyber-culture and identity. As someone who finds comfort in self-delu- sion and roleplaying as an obscure cult figure, I am drawn to the aesthetic codes that have been applied during various centuries as a means to represent "important figures" in religion, mytholo- gy, popular culture and visual art. My practice focuses on world-building and I am constantly conceiving characters who are navigating these codes while existing in a cohesive, glamorous and dream-like universe. I embody these roles through ambiguous self-portraits, homemade cos- tumes and infrequent reality TV appearances in order to reflect on the way I perceive myself after years of online personae and distorted perceptions that unfamiliar people have of my image.