2012 Archive

The Summer Institute is an international post-graduate artist residency for professional artists working in all disciplines. This is the fourth annual Summer Institute at Plug In ICA, and the second in Plug In’s new purpose-built facilities. This four-week intensive studio program will be led by visiting faculty, director of Artext(e), Sylvie Gilbert (Montreal) and mixed-media installation artist Andrew Kearney (London, UK). Nine sculptors, architects, curators, new media and installation artists have been sharing a collegial, open-studio environment designed to instigate collaborative or independent projects with support and feedback from faculty and Plug In ICA staff.


Andrew Kearney is an Irish mixed media installation artist. He studied fine art at Limerick College of Art and Design, and completed an MA in sculpture at Chelsea College of Art and Design. He won the Barclays Young Artist award at the Serpentine Gallery, London in 1992. The same year, he was awarded a fellowship at the PS1 studios of contemporary art in New York, then returned to London in 1993, and developed an installation for the Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin. The following year he developed installations for the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, the Camden Arts Centre, London and the Ottawa Art Gallery, Ontario. Site-specific work led to collaborative architecture and public art projects, including a commission for Heathrow Terminal One with architect, Nicholas Grimshaw, and the Public Art Development Trust. In 2001 Kearney worked with Glen Howell architects on their “Millennium Project” for Westminster Council and on the “Courtyard Interface” for South Thames College, London and the Public Arts Commission Agency. In 2001/2002 he completed two large installations in Ireland, “With Intent”, Limerick and “Illumination” at the Boiler House in Ballymun, Dublin. In 2004 he was commissioned to develop an artwork entitled, “Art Wall”, in the new chambers of Limerick County Council. In 2004 Kearney completed his second residency on the ”Informal Architecture” program at the Banff Centre for the Arts. Last year he completed a research program funded by the AHRC at Middlesex College of Art, London, which looked at how we inhabit a purpose built environment of an art campus. Two books were published: “Phase 2”, 2007 and the “Spaces Buildings Make”, 2008, culminating in an installation on the South Bank for the London Architecture Biennale. His recent projects include interactive lighting for the Wexford Opera House in Ireland, entitled, “Liquid Mountain”, 2009, Hull, England, and “Art in Empty Spaces,” 2010, Tate Britain, 2011.

Sylvie Gilbert is currently the director of Artexte in Montreal, a centre dedicated to the study, the documentation and the interpretation of documents produced in the field of contemporary visual arts. Amongst the various positions she has held in arts organizations, museums and public galleries, she was senior curator at the Walter Phillips Gallery and the Banff International Curatorial Institute at the Banff Centre (2004-2008), and director/curator of the Lianne and Danny Taran Gallery at the Saidye Bronfman Centre for the Arts in Montreal (2001-2004). Gilbert acted as the Canadian Commissioner for Catherine Richards for the Sydney Biennale (2004). She has curated numerous exhibitions, the most recent include alt.publication.artists.contemporary.mtl.ottawa.gimli, Pickpocket Almanack Project, Artissima, Italy (2010); Derek Sullivan and Gareth Long: The Illustrated Dictionary of received Ideas (2010); Bureau de Change (2008), Micah Lexier’s Touch Paper Once: Selected Documents from the Walter Phillips Gallery Archive 1976 – 2007(2008), Garry Neill Kennedy: Simple Functionalism (2008), Dagmara Genda: Screamers and Bangers: The Wallpaper Project (2008), and Comic Craze (2006) among others. She has also edited numerous publications including the latest two issues of Supplément a periodical published by Éditions Artextes.


Scott Billings’ practice centers on issues of animality, mobility, and cinematic spectatorship. Through video, sculpture, and installation, Billings’ work examines how the video apparatus itself reveals both the mechanisms of causality and its own dormant animality. Billings has exhibited both locally and internationally. In 2010, Billings attended an artist residency in the Czech Republic where he explored the old underground sewage tunnels in Prague and produced the solo show ‘Maledicta Paradisus…’ at the Communication Space Školská 28 Gallery. In 2011, in collaboration with video artist Josh Hite and with the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the BC Arts Council, Billings constructed and installed a 70-foot helical camera rig in a ‘hidden’ stairwell inside the Burrard Bridge in Vancouver, a stairwell which has been closed to public access for over 80 years. Billings holds an MFA from the University of British Columbia, a BFA from Emily Carr University, and a BASc in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Waterloo. Billings works and lives in Vancouver.

Choi Ho is completing the last legs of year 1 hee-haws in Neil Minuk’s Donkey Studio as part of the University of Manitoba’s 2 year Master of Architecture program in Winnipeg. Her current project seeks to design Architecture for a radically imperfect world by first exploring the human condition then striving to locate this critical conceptual content in a practical Architecture, bringing theory into practice. Choi’s site of invention is her very own backyard, the West Broadway Neighbourhood Centre, where she moved to only this summer of 2011. Going farther back, Choi began her formal architecture training in 2000 at the University of Toronto obtaining an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree specializing in Architectural Studies and minoring in Fine Art History. With successes in her undergraduate studies, Choi continued onto graduate school, finishing year 1 of the University of Toronto’s 3 ½ year Master of Architecture program in 2005. After this point, Choi made the decision to leave the program and Toronto, for Montreal then London, UK, to pursue a study of architecture (more) aligned with her interest in the theoretical and historical landscape fo the field. By 2008, Choi completed a 12 month Master of Architecture degree at London’s Bartlett School of Architecture under the supervision of Simon Herron, son of the late Archigram genius Ron Herron, and conferred in 2009 with her revised thesis titled Destabilized Geographies (Centerfolds: Massaging the American Dream, 2008) applying sex and gender theory to create the third body, a hybrid body in space; a hybrid space for the body.

Dara Humniski is a multi-instrumentalist & emerging Edmonton artist with a diverse background encompassing drawing, installation, curation, design and public art. She completed a Bachelor of Design from the University of Alberta with focused study on furniture design, sustainability and materials research, as well as drawing and printmaking. “MASS” is her first major gallery installation, hand-painted on site in November 2011 for the inaugural Manning Hall commission at the Art Gallery of Alberta. Her first permanent public artwork will be installed this summer – a drawing etched in granite for the Alberta Ave Streetscape Project funded by the City of Edmonton. Her work is included in the permanent collection of the Canadian Centre for Austrian and European Studies at the University of Alberta. Dara has shown in solo/group shows since 2005. Dara was involved as an artist and curator with the National Portrait Gallery, a show staged at Latitude 53 in 2010. The stimulus was the Federal government’s move to rescind the new Portrait Gallery of Canada project. The curatorial focus was to present a current and broad vision of how Canadians see themselves and show artists experimenting with the limits and traditions of portraiture. Dara is one of four founding members of the Loyal Loot Collective, an Alberta-based independent furniture design company, creating objects that embrace traditional craft processes and local small-batch production. Loyal Loot exhibits and retails their work internationally. The new year also marked the launch of her independent design brand HERE WITH ME. Dara currently works as a public art project manager with the Edmonton Arts Council, working as a liaison to City of Edmonton, helping artists bring ideas to fruition in the form of permanent public artworks.

Ricarda McDonald graduated from the National Ballet School in Toronto and continued her dance studies while acquiring a Bachelor of Mathematics at the University of Waterloo. McDonald then worked in the aeronautical industry and the financial sector as a computer systems analyst followed by work in the social service area as a therapeutic parent for emotionally disturbed children, all in the Toronto area. In India she worked as a volunteer in trade school education for children too poor to attend school, a literary researcher and editor/publisher in Delhi, and as supervisor for the construction of two buildings in the Himalayas. Returning to Canada, McDonald resumed work in the computer industry as an operating systems analyst, computer software specialist and project manager. Simultaneously, she taught Ballet at the University of Calgary and performed in local dance productions. After moving to Vancouver, McDonald attended Emily Carr University Of Art and Design, graduating in May 1997 with a Bachelor of Fine Art. At this point she began exhibiting her art. McDonald’s practice includes computer-manipulated photography, video, sound, light and computer mediated installations and collaboration.  While maintaining her art practice, McDonald also served on the Board of Directors of the Richmond Art Gallery as Vice President and Chair of the Permanent Collection Committee for a number of years. She designed a redirected focus of the gallery collection and led the deaccession process of the parts of the collection no longer required.  In 2011, Ricarda built a theremin and became one of the founding members of the Vancouver Experimental Theremin Orchestra (VETO).  VETO performed at Signal & Noise 2011, Xenakis: Vancouver New Music Festival 2011 and at the Interactive Futures’11: Animal Influence Conference held at ECUAD. McDonald continues her art practice and exhibitions of her work.

Hilary Harp Trained in sculpture at Parsons School of Design (BFA), Tyler School of Art (MFA), and at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Hilary Harp creates sculptures, installations and media projects which explore new hybrid forms, and challenge categories, particularly categories of high and low, male and female, technology and craft. She has exhibited her work widely including: the Gale Gates Gallery, The Sculpture Center, White Columns and Esso Gallery in New York City; Delaware Center for Contemporary Art in Wilmington, DE; The Philadelphia Art Alliance and the Samuel Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia, PA, and Bucheon Gallery in San Francisco. She has been artist in residence at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, The Kohler Center for Arts and Industry, and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. Since 2003 she has collaborated with Suzie Silver on a range of projects. Their single channel videos have screened at over one hundred festivals on four continents and are distributed by the Video Data Bank. Harp’s awards include a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, a Heinz Creative Heights Grant, and an Arizona Commission on the Arts. Project Grant. Harp is Assistant Professor of Sculpture at Arizona State University.

[Edison Del Canto] I am a Chilean-Canadian. I am an exiled that came to this country, which now I call home. I came from prison escaping from a totalitarian military regime whose economic and social model was the first laboratory for the application of neo-liberal doctrines of “free” market economy and privatization of public wealth. I left Chile in 1978, and was one of the last Chileans to abandon the country as recognized political prisoner. I was a member of the resistance working against the military regime, organizing, documenting and networking with others until the time of my arrest. Through the Geneva Convention, and the United Nations Decree 504, I was able to negotiate my imprisonment for exile as many others did before me. When I arrived to Canada, I did not speak English, although learned some in high school, this learning was irrelevant in the real world. Three years took me, to be able to feel human again. Since then I recovered my identity as agency, incorporating myself into the struggle against oppression, injustice, fear and oblivion. I have been an active member of the Canadian progressive community, Latin America community, and the Canadian art community. I am a father, son, artist, designer and intellectual. Art is to me the most fundamental field of knowledge and human experience able to fracture, transgress and disrupt those who seek to escape rather than engage against compliance, existential musing and social lethargy.

Erica Eyres was born in Winnipeg, 1980. She completed her BFA (hons) at the University of Manitoba School of Art in 2002, and her MFA from the Glasgow School of Art in 2004. In 2003, she attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Recent solo exhibitons include Erica Eyres at Haas and Fischer, Zurich (2008); The Lunatic Box, at Prussian Projekte, Nottingham (2010); and  Pam’s Dream at ROKEBY, London (2011). Recent group exhibitions include Rumble Stir at the Glue Factory, Glasgow (2010);Terminal Jest at  Delaware County Community College in Media, Pensulvania (2011); and Out of Nowhere at Julie Saul Gallery, New York (2011). She has recently completed a six-month Canada Council Residency at SPACE, London. She is based in Glasgow and is represented by ROKEBY, London.

Born in Winnipeg, Sarah Jane Gorlitz grew up in southern Ontario and Toronto.   She studied languages and history at the University of Toronto, and received a BFA with a focus in Painting from the University of Waterloo in 2002.  In 2006 she began a video-centered collaboration with Wojceich Olejnik, under the name Soft Turns. This has since grown into a fully developed practice that has been widely exhibited in Canada and internationally, and was recently featured in the fall 2011 edition of Canadian Art.  Meanwhile, she has maintained her individual practice, and was a finalist for the RBC Painting Competition in 2008.  After a period of living in Berlin, she was accepted in the post-graduate program at the Malmö Art Academy in Sweden, from which she graduated with an MFA in 2011.  She was awarded a graduating award as well as an Edstranska Fellowship, in order to undertake further research during her post-academic year.  In the past year, her collaborative work has been shown at Stride (Calgary), the 17thInternational Contemporary Art Festival, Videobrasil (Sao Paulo), Centre Clark (Montreal), Paved Arts (Saskatoon), Southern Exposure (San Francisco), Kunstraum T27 (Berlin), and her solo work at BKS Garage (Copenhagen), and upcoming at Galleri Arnstedt in Östra Karup (Sweden).

Reva Stone is a Canadian artist who creates computer-assisted installations that engage with a variety of forms of digital technologies. In her work, she responds to the technologization of living matter by creating works that seem to mutate, evolve and respond with a life of their own. She situates her work at the increasingly blurred boundary between what is born and what is manufactured, what is animate and what is inanimate. By creating pieces that explore the permeable space between human and machine, she raises questions about agency, consciousness, and the relationship of embodiment to thought. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally. In 2002, her robotic work, Carnevale 3.0 received an honourable mention from Life 5.0, Art and Artificial Life International Competition, Fundación Telefónica, Madrid, Spain. She recently presented a paper at the Super Human: Revolution of the Species Symposium organized by the Australian Network for Art and Technology (ANAT) in Melbourne, Australia. The paper Past and Possible Future Selves, addressed her work in the context of collaborations in art and science.

Visiting Artists & Curators:

Elle Flanders| Toronto
Tarmira Sawatkzy | Winnipeg
Alona Rodeh | Tel Aviv, Israel
Aoife MacNamara | London, UK
Richard Hill | Toronto
Alexander Pilis | Montreal

Plug In ICA’s Summer Institute is supported by RBC Emerging Artist ProjectThe Winnipeg Foundation and Francofonds.

The Summer Institute has been made possible by the generous support of The Winnipeg Foundation, RBC Foundation, and Francofonds.

Plug In would also like to acknowledge the ongoing support of the Manitoba Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Winnipeg Arts Council, the Province of Manitoba Department of Culture, Heritage and Tourism, The Winnipeg Foundation, our donors, members, and volunteers.