Sonya Mansour

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really [this show is rented]

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really [this show is rented]

Redhead Gallery, 401 Richmond Street, Toronto, ON
Heldscalla Foundation, Second Life, Heldscalla, Buttemere
(66, 129, 23)

November 21, 2007 – December 15, 2007
Reception: Saturday, December 1, 2007, noon – 5 pm (EST),
“Dress Like Your Avatar” Day (no avatar? dress like yourself)

There are no toilets in Second Life (SL). It is a somewhat weird and flat world, with a decidedly photoshopped, airbrushed aesthetic. Most of the time you are alone in huge shopping malls full of sex-crazed clothing options and body parts. Often the place feels like a deserted ghost town rather than a world teeming with 9 million members. One of the most unnerving of SL characteristics is its unpredictable spirit. Internet speed lags result in strange, glitchy motion, slow communication and bizarre physics. A feeling of ambivalence and superficiality permeates. At any time you can quit / log-off / teleport with a button click. Unlike First Life (FL), you can just leave.

As much as possible, I’ve rented all the components for this installation – lights, projectors, streaming server, classic office-accessory rubber-plants and space. I intend for all these ‘by the week’ artifacts to underline the transitory nature of virtual existence.

Rented plants are a particularly critical part of this work. Redhead will be filled with tropical plants usually found in office lobbies. Rentable landscaping plays a largely unnoticed role in filling our daily lives with a vague semblance of the outdoors – a marker of our idealization of nature. This flora is the stand-in for nature in our everyday lives and will become even more so situated within the hermetic world of the art gallery.

Lynne Heller, Toronto based artist and designer, works in a variety of disciplines. Principally known for her work in fibre, she also has created new media pieces, sound, websites and installations. Heller completed her MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2004. Group exhibitions include, The Stray Show, (Art Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA), Wide Borders, Heller, Roy & Thiessen, (Burlington Art Centre, Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery, Cambridge Library & Gallery). Her solo exhibitions have been shown both nationally and internationally (Havana, Cuba; Chicago, USA; Santa Fe, USA). She is currently a member of Redhead Gallery, Toronto.

http://lynneheller.com

Nar Duell hasn’t done much in her short life but she does own a great wardrobe.

Oh hang on – Abaris Brautigan just reminded me that Nar also attended an epic quest to the edge of the world and thereby participated in an allegorical act of electrate thinking!

Info: Peter Kingstone, director – 416-504-5654, art@redheadgallery.org
Media contact: Susan Procter, procter.susan@sympatico.ca, 416-588-5756
Hours: Wed – Sat, noon – 5pm (EST)
Website: http://lynneheller.com/really

God Grew Tired of Us

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God Grew Tired of Us is as much about America as it is about Africa. The moving documentary begins in war-torn Sudan with the mid-1980s exodus of 27,000 Christian boys, most between five and ten. After their arrival in Kenya, the UN steps in with aid. Directors Christopher Quinn and Tommy Walker pick up the story a decade later, narrowing their focus to Panther, John, and Daniel, three of 3,800 given the opportunity to resettle in the US. Quinn and Walker are with them when they land in the States, where everything is new and exciting–electricity, running water, pre-packaged foodstuffs–all the things Americans take for granted. Through the assistance of various relief organizations, their expenses are covered for the next few months. After that, the trio is expected to provide for themselves (they’re older than the subjects in 2003’s The Lost Boys of Sudan). Divided between Pittsburgh, PA and Syracuse, NY, the young men are thrilled with their suburban lives. Over the next year, however, joy turns to sorrow. They miss their families and have trouble making connections beyond their social group. The directors document another two years, by which point things are finally starting to look up. Produced by Brad Pitt, God Grew Tired of Us won the Documentary Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at Sundance. Nicole Kidman provides a little narration, but for the most part, the Lost Boys speak for themselves, which is exactly as it should be. –Kathleen C. Fennessy (Amazon.com)