Meta 2012

Ryerson Image Arts grads strut their stuff at META 2012

Ryerson's School of Image Arts is hosting its annual graduating class showcase, this year held at Airship 37 in the Distillery District. Today is the last day to check out the student installations designed to make you think or play while tightly-wound suits pass around melon skewers, jerk chicken and cocktails. This year's theme is how technology affects the modern era (and in many cases, Karl Marx.)

Five pieces not to miss:

ANIMAL ART: Sam Zaret has placed a Siamese Fighting Fish in a tank and uses colour-tracking technology to project a graphic depiction of its movements onto a large screen. "He's unaware that he's producing art," Zaret explains.

THE ICING ON THE CUPCAKE: Forget artistic merit for a second, and take heed: if you time your visit right, you can get a free chocolate cupcake. Rikki Cohen and Christina Parente have recreated a 1950s kitchen set and are ready to engage in live performance art. Every hour, the two dress in vintage clothing to frost cupcakes using a machine of their own creation. "The cupcake was a symbol of a loving home where things were home-made. We wanted to show how mass production could take away control and lead to the automation of even the most simple processes," they explain. Free. Chocolate. Cupcakes.

PUPPETEER: It's hard to miss an 11-foot puppet installation. Ashley Lewis plays with themes of the working class and political elite as she invites users to pretend they're politicians and exercise control over the marionette. In place of a face, the giant puppet features a screen showing clips from Occupy Toronto and other footage meant to evoke empathy.

CARGO: An audiovisual installation inviting users to enter the Door of No Return, a relic from the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. (Spoiler alert: there is a return.) Inside, listen to a four minute audio track accompanied by filmed shadow puppetry. Artists Kwame Newman-Bremang and Kyle Weltman describe the piece as a "poetic audio-visual narrative structure" meant to speak to the commodification of humanity by recapturing the final exit point for captives before they were sent to slave ships.

GREGORY: An interactive "choose your own adventure" style series by Kelvin Wu and Jason Yeh. The duo created a participatory film evoking, for once, more angst in the subject than the artist.

META 2012 is a free exhibition open from 11AM-7PM, March 31st at 37 Parliament Street.

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