A group of professionals coming from different disciplines – engineers, technicians, mathematicians, scientists, artists and curators – meet every year in Toronto for the «Subtle Festival» and in the name of «when art meets science». Once again this year, the festival presented performances, video events, lectures, panel discussions, networking and much more. President of Ontario College of Art & Design Sara Diamond sustains that «Subtle Technologies provides entry into the paradigm shifting practice of art and science collaboration — revealing prescient and salient models of new worlds in the making.»
The festival is over but the exhibit curated by Nina Czegledy that took place at the same time is open to the public until the end of May. The works on display refer to issues related to urban planning projects as «participative public art». In this particular case, special attention was dedicated to the present situations in Toronto and South Africa. Artists were invited who explore continuous urban reconfiguration and information (Marcus Neustetter and Stephen Hobbs, visiting artists from Johannesburg); who make materialized liminal space perceivable through sound experiences (Donna Legault); who explore the outstanding ideas which have given shape to the mathematical landscape (Ron Wild and Joseph Geraci); who underline preconceptions and dogmas regarding the origin of things in order to achieve awareness of modernity and appreciate its changes (Willy Le Maitre). There was even a real time work – a luminous installation that animated the façade of the Ryerson Image Centre during the months of February and March: a combination of architecture and information by Patricio Davila and Dave Colangelo. A blue wave appeared on its façade every time the «Homeless» hashtag appeared on Twitter.
«From the early legacy of the Situationist movement involving mediation of social relations through objects – concludes the curator in the exhibition statement – we have arrived to expressions of participatory public culture. In this landscape, critical discourse by scientists and artists working with cross-disciplinary concepts remains of extreme importance. The investigation and the eventual presentation of these vital issues is sustained by centuries of reflections. on previous history. Foreshadowing future interactions, a fundamental aim of many artists is to examine the altering paradigms and develop distinctly different types of interrelationships, for instance, replacing the role of the viewer-spectator with a new type of participatory audience. The aim of this exhibition in line with the Subtle Technologies Festival theme is to reflect and create new awareness of social issues in the city of Toronto and beyond»[…].