Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art launches Stages Speaker Series with talks by Toril Johannessen and Kara Hamilton

Monday, March 6, 2017 | 7pm
Toril Johannessen: Artist Talk 

Link to talk

Thursday, March 9, 2017 | 7pm

Link to talk

Off-site location: Unit 73, CityPlace Mall, 333 St Mary Ave, Winnipeg 

Kara Hamilton.Wane Awareless & Lifted (2015–2016).
Installation view,G Gallery, Toronto.

Over the next three months, Plug In ICA will present a series of talks featuring artists from Canada and the world. The series is offered in anticipation of Stages: Drawing the Curtain, a constellation of site-specific artworks to be launched in August 2017. This large-scale public art project asks artists to locate a site within the city of Winnipeg from which to contemplate the stage - its function as a platform; its meaning as a point of attention; and its physical design. Directed by their individual interests and material preferences, the artists will build sculptural ‘stages’ ranging in shape and form, connected as platforms for audiences to occupy, physically engage, and contemplate.

The Stages Speaker Series commences with Oslo-based artist, Toril Johannessen, known for captivating installations that incorporate scientific methods, materials and language to poetic ends; and Toronto-based artist, Kara Hamilton, who questions object-subject relations in her dioramic installations.

In keeping with the drive of Stages to bring art beyond our walls, all talks for Stages Speaker Series will be held at an off-site location: Unit 73, CityPlace Mall, 333 St Mary Ave, Winnipeg, MB R3C 4A5.

*Artists for Stages: Drawing the Curtain include: Abbas Akhavan (Toronto), Pablo Bronstein (London, UK), FASTWÜRMS (Toronto), Toril Johannessen (Tromsø, Norway), Kara Hamilton (Toronto), Federico Herrero (San José, Costa Rica), Divya Mehra (Winnipeg), and Krista Belle Stewart (Vancouver). 

Stages Speaker Series and Stages: Drawing the Curtain are supported by the Canada Council for the Arts through its New Chapter Program.

Toril Johannessen
Artist Talk
Monday, March 6, 2017 | 7:00pm 

Toril Johannessen. Unlearning Optical Illusions (III), 2015. Installation view, 
Trondheim Kunstmuseum, Trondheim.

On Monday, March 6 at 7pm, Plug In ICA presents an artist talk by Norwegian artist, Toril Johannessen. Working in a range of media including photography, text, drawing, and installation, Johannessen’s practice verges on the scientific. From the collection of Icelandic Spar to an Aurora from the equator, she focuses her research on perception, often building disorienting installations. For her talk, Johannessen will give an introduction to her work with specific emphasis on the ongoing project, Unlearning Optical Illusions (I), (II), and (III].

Toril Johannessen’s practice often engages in methods and source material from the domains of science. Thematically, her work spans a wide range of interests, from visual perception to linguistics; impossible energy cycles; alternative methods for time measurement; optical illusions and spatial disorientation. By combining scientific fact and the history of science with her own investigations, she applies a critical and subjective view of the impact of modern science on the production of knowledge. She received her MA from the Bergen Academy of Art and Design. In addition, she studied at Mountain School of Art, and took part in the artist-in-residence program at WIELS, Brussels. She has exhibited widely, at venues and biennales including dOCUMENTA 13; the Istanbul Biennial; deAppel, Amsterdam; Witte de With, Rotterdam; the Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna; Hasselblad Center, Gothenburg; and Palais de Tokyo, Paris.

Kara Hamilton
Thursday, March 9, 2017 | 7:00pm

On Thursday, March 9 at 7pm, Plug In ICA presents an artist talk by Toronto-based, multi-media artist, Kara Hamilton. Activating the history of set design, architecture, and craft, Hamilton’s exhibitions often perform like stages with object characters. For her talk at Plug In ICA, WHEN IS A PLATFORM A STAGE?, Hamilton will lead us through an inquiry that takes up the stage as author and architectural form, incorporating aspects of her practice and her ongoing fascination with the performative nature of materials. Thinking in comparative terms, Hamilton sets up the dialectic: If the stage is the architecture of an audience and a platform is the architecture of congregation; do musicians perform or lead? And actors? What can be said of the objects?

Kara Hamilton’sworkintegrates objects of various materials, including brass, marble, and glass. Building prototypes that actively respond to their context, or props that may be potential collaborations, Hamilton’s exhibitions have been described as dioramic in structure, allowing viewers to move through the work, transformed into supporting characters to the objects that lead. Hamilton received her Bachelor in Architecture from the University of British Colombia, and her MFA in sculpture from Yale. She has shown extensively in North America and Europe at venues including Salon 94, New York; EFA Project Space, New York; Kate Werble Gallery, New York; Siegel House, Marfa, Texas; Taut and Tame, Berlin; G Gallery, Toronto; and Tatar Gallery, Toronto. She is represented by Salon 94. Hamilton with Kari Cwynar form the curatorial team of Kunstverein Toronto.

Stages Speaker Series and Stages: Drawing the Curtain are supported by the Canada Council for the Arts through its New Chapter Program. 

Our community partners include Winnipeg Tourism, Alliance Française Manitoba, Urban Ink Design, CityPlace Mall (Triovest) and Fillip Publishers.

Plug In ICA extends our heartfelt gratitude to our generous donors, valued members, and dedicated volunteers. You make a difference.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts New Chapter Fund, 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 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 more information on this and our other education programs, contact Sarah Nesbitt at For general information please contact: or call 1.204.942.1043