Attention is a task we share

Robin Love

Feb 19 - Mar 27, 2021

“Isn’t it funny how sense has no schedule.” – Robin Love, Attention is a task we share: Thesis Presentation (2019)

Attention is a task we share consists of three video works by Nogojiwanong / Peterborough based artist Robin Love, all created during her BFA at OCAD University. In these works, Love carves out space for moments of not knowing. Her performances resist the audience’s desire for a satisfying instant of completion and bring to light how process, with all of its pauses, failures, improvisations, and revelations, can yield delightful and insightful moments of discovery.

The exhibition assigns value to waiting, to effort, and to just being and in so doing offers an alternative to capitalist modes of productivity that value outcomes over process. Attention is a task we share also demonstrates how placing our attention is a profound act with significant consequences. In her practice, Love tries to focus and use her attention to allow for shifts in perception and, in these works, she actively makes room for multiplicity, pointing out instances where there are multiple truths, where there is ease in imperfection, and where there is confusion and clarity at the same time.

More about the works:

In The Mistake is The Thing (Gallery 1), Love captures a moment of learning through trial and error. Her repetitive actions before the camera are the movements of someone trying, then trying again. The relentless nature of learning can be a discouraging force. While the desire to just get there, to be done is common, Love suggests in this work that there is more to learning than achieving the end result; in many cases “the mistake is the thing.”

Love is joined by eight recruits in her video Things Take The Time They Take (Gallery 1). As each person attempts to memorize lines of poetry, their individuality is revealed through distinct gestures, bodily movements, and coping strategies. Because the videos are looped, the moment when they each accomplish the task is quickly replaced by the extended period of trying to get there. A similar cycle of grasping, failing, and succeeding plays out in A Short Talk on Process (Gallery 2) where Love performs as a guesser in a game of charades. In both cases, the outcomes fade into the background, undermining the audience’s expectation for a clear conclusion. Throughout Things Take The Time They Take, the overlapping voices of the participants intertwine and pile into messy soundscapes, occasionally uniting in a chorus, creating what the artist has called “a poetry of trying.” These poems are accidental and always changing, further demonstrating how rummaging can generate something useful.

Listen to the artist read from her thesis “Attention is a task we share” (2019) below.


About the artist:

Robin Love is a Nogojiwanong / Peterborough based artist working in writing, performance, and video installation. Her work investigates the space between theory and practice, between not knowing and knowing, between the virtual and the real. She holds a BA in Philosophy (University of Toronto) and BFA Sculpture/Installation (OCADU) and has participated in group shows at Artspace in Peterborough, Xspace, Beaver Hall, and Dragon Academy in Toronto, as well as Institute für Alles Mögliche in Berlin. This is her first solo exhibition.

Curated by Hannah Keating.