For Machine’s recent talk at the 2023 TED conference in Vancouver, he created Mother Nature, a detailed look that straddles the boundaries of costume and set. Worn by his friend and collaborator Matty Crosland, Mother Nature states the importance of fostering a nurturing environment for plants, creatures, and humans to learn, thrive and co-exist. When worn, the front of the garment represents a fruiting tree shaded by a fluffy cloud headdress. A garden of flowers springs up from the train of the costume.
In the closing moments of Machine’s TED Talk, the representation of the natural world is reversed, revealing a politicized space of growth and learning hidden within Mother Nature. Crosland slowly turned to face away from the audience. The budding flowers transformed into the backs of students seated and listening to a story being read by a drag queen, who can be seen perched on the bustle in the back of the garment.
Machine’s re-creation of a Drag Queen Story Hour, a popular educational event for children at local libraries throughout the U.S. that promotes reading and diversity, has more frequently drawn the ire of right-wing protesters. Mother Earth underscores the intimate connection between nurturing the health of our society and the environment. In a final, pointed critique, a spot within the group of young listeners is empty, labelled by Machine: “your face here,” inviting the viewer to participate in the story shared.
(Formerly Artport Gallery)
Wednesdays to Sundays 12pm–6pm
Large gallery located in the middle of the main building. Doors will remain open during gallery hours.
235 Queens Quay W
Toronto, ON, M5J 2G8