THE FUTURE IS…, 2016
Site-specific installation of digitally printed vinyl panels applied to Ontario Place pavilion rooftops
Commissioned by Ontario Place in conjunction with for InFuture Art+Music Festival, curated by Shani K Parsons and featuring original artwork by Brooklyn-based artist Tamara Gayer.
Responding to the history of Ontario Place as a place of possibility, THE FUTURE IS… considers the question put forth by InFuture’s curators, “What do we learn about ourselves in the present when we look to our past to examine the ways in which we envisioned the future?” and provides answers — not in the form of didactic explanations, but as a series of poetic and often paradoxical responses gleaned from the oracle of our contemporary time: Google Search — the domain of crowdsourced contingencies.
Engaging the dialectic of question/answer, or query/result in digital parlance, the project features a series of statements on 'the future' sourced from Google’s predictive search feature, Instant Autocomplete. Entering the phrase “The future is…” into the search field immediately brings up a list of suggested terms appearing in order of popularity.
For this project, the artist rendered selections from selected top results in striking 2-colour textual abstractions that were legible from various angles, “flickering” in and out of view as visitors move through the site. These statements, containing the most searched terms to complete the given phrase, are a snapshot or reflection of human hopes and desires as determined by algorithms that process over 3.5 billion searches per day.
The installation was conceived to be modular and scalable, so it could be applied to the site with maximum flexibility. For example, panels were concentrated at the entrance and over the main areas so that they had the double function of identifying destinations. The artwork was also applied to maximize sightlines from the Lakeshore.
Applied as a composition of parts over the whole, the artwork encompassed a narrative aspect — not by telling a literal story, but as an abstracted visual unfolding that happened as people moved through the festival spaces. The colours shifted and changed, as did the texts.
The Future Perfect, 2016
An additional series of visually related panels greeted visitors at the entrance to the festival as well.
Curation, project management, site design, production, and documentation by Shani K Parsons
Concept and artwork by Tamara Gayer
Printing, fabrication, and installation by Beyond Digital
Commissioned by Ontario Place on the occasion of the InFuture Art+Music Festival, organized by Rui Pimienta and Layne Hinton, 2016