The Work of Media Art in the Age of Hashtag Politics

Feb 7, 7:00pm - 9:00pm at Bagnani Hall, Traill College, Trent University

The Work of Media Art in the Age of Hashtag Politics
Kris & Will, The Desearch Repartment, and Jordan Arseneault; moderated by Ger Zielinski.

Just how does media art address the political without being swept into the vortex and tranquilized? This of course is a longstanding question since artists dared to subvert through various tactics or sleights of hand. With new media comes new tactics through formal invention. The artists brought together in this panel each have their own unique practices that arise from a special combination or constellation of critical political position, lightness of touch (understatement) or heaviness (overstatement), even détournement. The artists will discuss through their own work the question of political gestures in contemporary media art in the age of easy hashtag politics.

This event is presented in partnership with The Trent Centre for Gender and Social Justice, Trent University Catherine Parr Traill College, Cultural Studies Department, and Media Studies.


Kris Harzinski & Will Haughery currently live and work in Philadelphia where they create works both individually and collaboratively. Their collaborative work has been featured in a solo exhibition at ACRE Projects (Chicago) and in performances and exhibitions at the Institute for Contemporary Art, Grizzly Grizzly, Little Berlin, AUX Space (Philadelphia), the Gene Siskel Film Center (Chicago), and L’hybride (Lille, France).

The Desearch Repartment embraces intentional failure as a method to critique careerism, the status quo and economic/cultural hegemony, while highlighting the inane and arbitrary modes of recognizing value and revealing how themes of social justice and political dissent are absorbed, neutralized, and commodified. Their anti-disciplinary processes quantify the art world on its own terms using formulaic art making, constantly fluctuating terminology and signposts of success as our mediums.

Born in Saint John, New Brunswick, in 1980, Jordan Arseneault is a bilingual artist living in Montréal. He has a BA in Philosophy from McGill University (2005) and works as an editor, translator, facilitator, organizer, MC, and sometimes performer. Active in Montréal’s independent and queer performance scene since 2008, Jordan employs song, spoken word, cello, drag, humour and movement in his staged work, which is often improvisational. His social practice workshop “Fear Drag” employs elements of theatre of the oppressed to stimulate dialogue and group performance on themes of relational anxieties and fears (presented as workshops at Concordia University and in community settings). Variously, his performances, public talks, and participative workshops address issues of criminalization, stigma, mental health, HIV/AIDS, addiction, biculturalism, inherited trauma, queerness and community. In Fall 2014, he was a co-creator of the projets hybris performance escapade Propositions for an AIDS Museum, and premiered SEROCENE, a new work (with interdiscplinary artist Matthew-Robin Nye) at MIX NYC.

Ger Zielinski is an assistant professor of cinema and new media aesthetics at Trent University. His research projects range from the cultural politics and emergence of queer film festivals to the movement of transnational underground cinema to the culture of algorithms in everyday practices. Zielinski has published widely on film and contemporary art in academic and art journals, including FUSE, Static, Cineaste, European Journal of Cultural Studies, among others. He was also an active board member of Toronto's Images Festival and served as a curator with Pleasure Dome and continues to curate independently and write on media art and film. Moreover, he had a summer research residency at the Canadian Centre for Architecture (2008) and was a visiting researcher at the Institut National d'Histoire de l'Art in Paris (2010).


ON Edge
Feb. 6 to Mar. 14, 2015

ON Edge brings together artists and the public in a series of participatory events and workshops focusing on experimental and/or queer media and performance art practices.

Artspace would like to acknowledge funding support for ON Edge from the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario. ON Edge is presented in partnership with Eastern Bloc (Montreal) and The Darkroom Project (Peterborough) with additional support from The Trent Centre for Gender and Social Justice, Trent University Catherine Parr Traill College, Cultural Studies Department, and Media Studies.