Video Art Pars Pro Toto: Are You Real?

Jello © Adonia Bouchehri © A. Bouchehri

Fri, 07/01/2022 -
Thu, 09/29/2022

Toronto, Ontario

Curated & presented by Peer to Space & Goethe-Institut Toronto

The Toronto iteration of Pars Pro Toto, “Are You Real?,” jointly curated by Gloria Aino Grzywatz (peer to space) and Jutta Brendemühl (Goethe-Institut Toronto) deals with the push and pull between perception and reality and pokes at the idiosyncrasies in our identities. The stories told consider in particular this digital moment where perceptions are increasingly shaped by AI, social media and other “non-real” or non-human parameters.

The program title “Are You Real?” is borrowed from Bernauer’s polyphonic investigation of (non-)realness. It was used as a slogan during the student movement and second wave feminism in the 1960s, reflected focus on female-centric stories.

“Are You Real” is online for free without geo-blocking from 1 July to 30 September 2022. It is presented as a space installation on large screens at the Goethe-Institut Toronto 7 September to 1 Oct 2022, open for free on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays 11am-5pm EST.

Pars Pro Toto, founded by Berlin independent media arts exhibition platform peer to space, is a series showcasing video art that focus on personal stories narrated by the artist or protagonist. Pars Pro Toto creates a digital space for users to observer the social complexity of the world. By discovering artworks based on individual experiences yet presented in a broader community context, the series demonstrates how the personal symbolizes a part of the whole, a pars pro toto. The personal story seen as an extract of an overall reality becomes visible and fits into the mosaic of the collective experience.


Sarah Bernauer (Germany/Switzerland), Feeling Felt, Ep. 1: Are you real?, video, 13:42 min, 2016
(English and German with English subtitles)

Feeling Felt is an ongoing investigation of forms of perception. Are you real? unites different statements about reality, dreams and virtuality into an ongoing stream of consciousness. “Real? Like in keeping it real, or for real, or seriously?”

Sarah Bernauer lives and works in Berlin and Basel. She studied Multimedia and Fine Arts in Basel and Vienna and works as an artist and writer. Her work has been shown across Europe, including outsider art fair (Paris), Salt Galata (Istanbul), Kunsthalle Basel, Kunstverein Heidelberg, Technisches Museum Vienna. Bernauer also initiates artist projects and conceptual exhibition formats like Radio Desir, A Word for a Play, Art Entertainment & Desire or The State of Making Things.      

Adonia Bouchehri (Germany/Italy), Jello, video, 12:00 min, 2020

Jello explores themes of isolation and obsession, showing how boundaries between everyday lived experiences, imaginative states and dreams can blend if we are cut off from human interactions and left to create a world far removed from society.

Official Selection BFI London Film Festival 2020

Adonia Bouchehri is an artist working across sculpture, installation and single-channel video. She investigates how the images we live and grow up with affect our bodies. She perceives images as agents that can inhabit the body and structure our feelings. Utilising a combination of CGI, live action footage, sculpture and writing, Adonia creates spaces that bring together elements from lived experiences as well as those that spring from an imaginary place. She is particularly interested in thinking about the moving image as an in-between space, a fragmentary realm that can traverse places. Exhibitions and screenings include the London Film Festival, VAS/SSA Scottish Royal Academy Edinburgh, Currents New Media US, Videoex Switzerland, Fotogenia Mexico, B3 Biennial of the Moving Image Frankfurt and MUTEK Montreal. She held the 2020/2021 Flamin Fellowship.               

Yarli Allison (Canada/Hong Kong/UK/France), Datafication Act 1: May Ian Valley 0101, video, 05:18, 2021
(Cantonese, French, German, English, with English subtitles)

Datafication Act 1 is part of Yarli’s mixed-media series exploring themes of digital humanity. In this looping dreamscape, Yarli imagines daily influences of AI emergence and gamification on our behaviour -- taking the most intimate sexual encounters as a departure. Viewers will join the data-mining authorities to monitor May Ian's machine-readable body, known as 'Subject 06'. In the control room, all sex acts are constantly being extracted and analysed. They will be rewarded unpredictably every time a new data pattern is detected, creating an addictive effect.

Allison is a Hong Kong-Canadian born, UK/Paris-based art worker with a multidisciplinary approach that traverses sculpture, performance, digital, film, drawing and installation. Yarli graduated with an MFA in Sculpture from The Slade School of Fine Art , University College London, UK. She was one of the Canadian artists presented at The State Hermitage Museum's Young Artists Program in St. Petersburg and 30 Under 30 at The Gardiner Museum, Toronto. She has exhibited at TAF_The Art Foundation, Athens, in Venice, Hong Kong, New York, Madrid, Ireland, Berlin, Poland and Japan. Her works are exhibited at VIDEOTAGE Gallery, HK, TAI KWUN CONTEMPORARY, HK, LINZ FMR, Austria, FACT Liverpool, ICA London. She is a member of the Asia-Art-Activism Network.

Part of the Goethe-Institut focus on Global Feminisms