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Coming of age as a ‘fake nerd’ • Artist Talk with Maya Ben David

July 25, 2017 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Maya Ben David embodies characters and anthropomorphizes inanimate objects, such as airplanes and other machines. She constructs and interacts with alternate universes, largely through the Interne and videos, but also live performance. Negotiating this online presence within her art practice, Ben David reflexively addresses the complex commingling of agency and misogyny online platforms engender.

On Tuesday, July 25th at 7pm, Ben David will present a public artist talk and screening, marking the second public presentation programmed in conjunction with Wendy Book Club – session two of our 2017 Summer Institute research program, lead by Walter Scott and Niki Little. Ben David will familiarize Winnipeg with her practice, emphasizing the underpinnings of her work with personas and character development, addressing the limitations and freedoms of persona performativity on the Internet. She will introduce and expand on the concept of vore – “the desire to consume or be consumed by a fictional character”- as a tool for coping with anxiety. In drawing out the complexity of this social practice, Ben David will deconstruct the underlying misogynist culture present in many online forums such as 9gagReddit and furry/anthro fandoms — with specific interest in the “fake nerd girl”, a term used to delegitimize women’s claim to “nerd content”.

As part of this unique performative presentation, Ben David will also screen a recent short film titled Anthro Baseball (2017).

Maya Ben David (MBD) is a Toronto based video performance Jewish-Iranian Anthro Plane. Ben David creates worlds and characters that explore concepts such as anthropomorphism, cosplay and performative personas. Ben David’s characters origin stories are established via video performance and are performed continuously through her online presence. Her characters inhabit alternate universes but also interact with each other and already established nostalgic universes such as Pokemon and Spider-Man. In addition to this, Ben David is also a character know as “MBD” who feuds with the many manifestations of herself and the art world. Most infamously, MBD is known for inciting online feuds with other artists such as Jon Rafman and Ajay Kurian. Ben David received her BFA from the University of Guelph, studied abroad at Hochschule für Künste Bremen, University of the Arts Bremen, Germany, and at Nanjing University of the Arts in Nanjing China. She has been featured in numerous group exhibitions in Canada, the USA and Europe. This talk and screening is programmed in conjunction with Session II of our Summer Institute research program, Wendy Book Club, co-facilitated by Walter Scott and Niki Little. The talk will be followed by a small reception and the chance to mingle with Summer Institute participants and faculty. Cash bar will be open. Everyone welcome!

Other public programming for Wendy Book Club includes:

Monday, July 31 | 10am
Curatorial talk with Becca Taylor

Wednesday, August 2 | 7pm
Artist talk with Tau Lewis

Friday, August 4 | TBD
Open Studio

All public programming is free and open to the public. Everyone welcome! 

The Summer Institute is an international post-graduate research program for professional artists working in all disciplines and media. In 2017 Plug In ICA hosts two sessions of the Institute, both emphasizing writing as an expanded field incorporating elements of critical confession, reflection and artistry. For the second session, July 17 to August 4, participants work with writer, artist and editor, Walter Scott and artist and curator, Niki Little with special guests Tau Lewis, Becca Taylor, and Maya Ben David.

Each session invites participants who wish to work independently or collaboratively based on their own interests and projects and includes opportunities to work in a peer-to-peer environment through group activities planned during the session. A number of guest artists, curators and theorists will visit the Summer Institute for lectures and studio visits.

The participants in the Wendy Book Club, Summer Institute Session II include:

Joi T. Arcand • Alex Ateah • Madeline Bogoch • Viola Chen 陈宜晴 • Kristiane Church • Kelly Campbell • Dayna Danger • Jillian Groening • Whess Harman • Emma Mayer • Mariana Muñoz Gomez • Pooja Sen • Sarah Stewart • Tanis Worme

For More information on the Wendy Book Club Summer Institute, Session II, see:

Plug In ICA extends our gratitude to our generous donors, valued members and dedicated volunteers. With special thanks to our Director’s Circle.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Manitoba Arts Council and Winnipeg Arts Council. We thank the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts for their support of our 2016 and 2017 program, as well as Payworks and Wawanesa Insurance for the direct support of our youth programs.

Plug In ICA relies on community support to remain free and accessible to all, and enable us to continue to present excellent programs. Please consider becoming a member of Plug In ICA and a donor at or by contacting Angela Forget:

For media inquiries please contact: Sarah Nesbitt at or by phone at (204) 942-1043. For general information please contact:


July 25, 2017
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm