Exhibition & talk VR artists Erin Gee and Li Alin @ Digifest

Enter Me Tonight by Li Alin, Photo: Franz Wamhof Photo: Franz Wamhof

Thu, 04/26/2018 -
Sat, 04/28/2018

Corus Quay

Presented by the Goethe-Institut Toronto
Curated by Tina Sauerländer (Berlin) and Erandy Vergara (Montreal)
by Erin Gee and Alex M. Lee
Enter Me Tonight by Li Alin
At the invitation of the Goethe-Institut curators Tina Sauerländer and Erandy Vergara have selected VR works for this year’s Toronto Digifest, including two recent pieces by Berlin-based Canadian artist Li Alin and Montreal-based artist Erin Gee in collaboration with South Korean-born, US-based artist Alex M. Lee. The artists use humor and irony to engage in controversial topics: emotions in first-person shooter video games and war in the case of Gee, and a futuristic exploration on human reproduction in technology-oriented times in the case of Alin.
The audience itself explores Gee's H.E.A.R.T., a virtual work where you have to control your emotions to control the leading character in a war-related VR game, as well as Alin's Enter Me Tonight, a VR environment engaged with issues on human reproduction, economy, biology, pornography and technology.
In a contextualizing event on April 26, 3 pm, the curators will speak about the history of VR and current trends and critical perspectives on this technology.
Since 1996, Li Alin has presented art works questioning evolution strategies and human reproduction. Her projects have taken her to the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris and a provocative sperm distribution experiment has been part of the exhibition Menschenpark in Karsruhe, Germany. She has also worked with Tanzhaus NRW in Düsseldorf and the Society of Art and Technology in Montreal. She is the co-founder and co-director of Real Art Estate (RAE), an experimental interdisciplinary arts farm in the countryside near Berlin.
With her latest project, Enter Me Tonight (EMT), Li Alin recreates a world where women reflect and take action to upgrade the reproductive system that seems to become more and more artificial and inhuman. Entwined around a main character, DeNA, it talks about reproduction methods, improving dysfunctional reproductive systems and new evolutionary strategies that emphasize the role of women and female orgasm. EMT is taking form in sculptures, prints, a series of reading-performances and the virtual reality work that will be presented at Digifest.
Erin Gee is a Canadian artist and composer who explores digital culture through metaphors of human voices in electronic bodies. Working across musical performance, choral composition, robotics, and audio art, Gee’s practice is distinguished by an interdisciplinary approach to sound in art and music, as well as in areas of technology, science and engineering. Her recent work has been shown at Transfer, NYC, Trinity Square Video, Toronto, and the Device_art Triennale in Croatia.
Her research in sonification of physiological markers of emotion has been noted by Scientific American, VICE, MusicWorks, Canadian Art Magazine, among others. She has been teaching sound production, gender and technology and sound studies at Concordia University and is currently leading a research group at University of Maine on the topic of creative open-source biosensor development. Gee is also the creator of futurefemmes, an online blog on the topic of women working in tech culture.
H.E.A.R.T. is a code name for the Holographic Empathy Attack Robotics Team, a biosensor-driven virtual reality artwork Gee developed in collaboration with 3D-artist Alex M. Lee. H.E.A.R.T. invites the viewer to place their fingers on a biodata gathering device and then summon their enthusiasm in order to direct their avatar in “combat therapy.”

Berlin-based Tina Sauerländer works as an independent curator and writer. With her exhibition hub peer to space she has been organizing and curating international group exhibitions in various institutions throughout Europe. She currently deals with the artistic self-staging in digital art as a PhD candidate at the University of Art and Design in Linz, Austria.

Erandy Vergara curates and writes about contemporary and media art. Her main research interests include feminism, global art histories, curatorial studies, postcolonialism and critical race studies. She earned a MA at Concordia University and a PhD in Art History at McGill University.

Toronto’s Digifest is a tech festival and startup event, organized annually by the Digital Media and Gaming Incubator at George Brown College, bringing together thought leaders, entrepreneurs, designers, students and creatives engaged in the interactive, gaming and design industries.