GUEST CURATOR: ALA ROUSHAN
ASSISTANT CURATOR: JACQUELINE KOK, NANCY MCCAIN & BILL MORNEAU CURATORIAL FELLOW, 2021-2023
The Power Plant is pleased to announce a unique partnership with curator Ala Roushan, to present BREATHLESS, a multifaceted project that considers the urgencies evoked by today’s air crises, including a global respiratory pandemic, racial injustice (“I can’t breathe”), forest fires, and carbon emissions, all of which instill feelings of uncertainty for our futures.
BREATHLESS will take shape as an immersive installation–a public space that is experienced individually within a translucent pavilion on The Power Plant’s South Terrace, opening May 2022. Conceptually, the project builds upon a recent history since post-World War II when multiple threats from the air were imminent much like today. From this point of departure, the BREATHLESS pavilion expands on Alison and Peter Smithson’s speculative project House of the Future (1956), specifically challenging the closed condition of domestic space and the notion of uncontaminated air. The pavilion was conceived and designed by project curator Ala Roushan; Alex Josephson, co-founder of PARTISANS; Bryan Schopf, Project Director at Maffeis Engineering; Charles Stankievech, artist and professor at the University of Toronto.
The pavilion and select artworks create a dynamic ecosystem, including artists Flaka Haliti, Marguerite Humeau, Donna Kukama, and Julius von Bismarck. On entering the pavilion Haliti establishes the ground by inverting the blue sky into a sandy floor of microparticles. The post-human sculpture of Humeau, composed of disembodied respiratory tracts, breaths the air from a future world. Kukama vibrates the air of the pavilion with a sound installation of her voice, marking the breath. The video installation of von Bismarck threatens the hermetic boundaries of the pavilion with a fiery projection of a world engulfed in smoke and smog.
In advance of the exhibition, The Power Plant presents a book launch on Wednesday, 6 October 2021 at 6 PM. The BREATHLESS book, published by The Power Plant, has contributions by Dehlia Hannah, Achille Mbembe, Charles Stankievech, Alireza Taheri, Ala Roushan, Kate Whiteway, and Heather Davis, with graphic design by Raf Rennie.
Additionally, select artists and contributors involved with BREATHLESS will participate in a program series during Fall 2021 and Winter 2022.
The exhibition BREATHLESS is organized and presented in partnership with The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery and ArtworxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art 2021-2022; the technical resolution is the invaluable in-kind expertise and close collaboration with Bryan Schopf at Maffeis Engineering.