SLab’s Hallie Siegel and OCAD alum Matt Donovan open at Olga Korper Gallery, supported by Canada 150 grant

olga-korper

Unabridged runs at Olga Korper Gallery (17 Morrow Avenue) from November 17, 2018 to January 12, 2019. The opening reception will be held on Saturday November 17th from 2-5pm.

Hallie Siegel is a Dean’s Scholar and the Strategic Foresight and Innovation Lab, and Matt Donovan is an OCAD U sculpture and installation alum. Learn more at donovansiegel.com

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Given the ubiquity of text, it is hard to see it as the disruptive technology it once was. Hallie Siegel and Matt Donovan’s exhibition, Unabridged, takes a long view of the written form, offering up an experiential future of a speculative post-literate society that evokes the decay of modernity while also telling a story of repurposing, transformation and renewal.

Conceived as a submission to the Canada Council for the Arts New Chapter program – a one-time grant created to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation, their exhibition explores — and hopes to transcend — the dark side of the printed word as an institutional mechanism for cultural erasure.

The featured installation consists of 707,349 letters and glyphs representing every single character from Hugh MacLennan’s 1945 novel Two Solitudes, a CanLit classic hailed as the first novel to explore the idea of “Canadian identity”. Designed to be walked on, touched and rearranged, the interactive exhibition asks us to reinterpret Two Solitudes in a contemporary Canadian context that is at once personal and political: to redefine for ourselves what it means to be Canadian today.

In keeping with the poem that MacLennan inscribed in the opening pages of his novel — “Love consists in this: that two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other” —  the work also asks us to listen, hold space for, and acknowledge what “being Canadian” means to others, whether or not this is hopeful, uncomfortable, or painful. In so doing, it attempts to negotiate the tension between Canadian nationalist identity, as it has been narrated for 150 years by Canadian political and cultural institutions, and Canadian national identity, as it emerges collectively among the individuals and cultural communities living within this nation’s borders.

Unabridged runs at Olga Korper Gallery (17 Morrow Avenue) from November 17, 2018 to January 12, 2019. The opening reception will be held on Saturday November 17th from 2-5pm.

Hallie Siegel is a Dean’s Scholar and the Strategic Foresight and Innovation Lab, and Matt Donovan is an OCAD U sculpture and installation alum. Learn more at donovansiegel.com

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