For the love of CAFKA

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CAFKA == Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener and Area. It’s a great thing. On this day of Valentinian love, I thought I’d dig up a whack of pics from CAFKA.16 that never saw the light of day and share ‘em with you, for the love of art.

The CAFKA biennial happened last May/June, drawing artists from far beyond our WR borders and stretching our brains through new levels of art experience. It delivers a stunning level of talent on a shoestring budget and is driven by hard workers, fuelled by their commitment to keep this 20-year old happening going. I’ve only been playing close attention for eight years, but I really connected with the 2016 show.

Here’s the TL;DR: as always, if you like the work, support the work. The call is out for CAFKA.18 artists, so artists get your submissions in before Mar15. And if you’re looking to get involved, the annual general meeting is mere weeks away, Mar20.

Above is a photo of Mary Ma’s wicked cool piece called Wind Water Wave. Giant fans billowed this ginormous piece of fabric upon which was projected a video of light on water. So mesmerizing was this piece that people camped out inside the piece. I came back three or four times in the course of June to see this piece. Well, and also to see the people seeing the piece.

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It was on a Jane’s Walk of public art that I started hearing about the CAFKA.16 installations…

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Artist and CAFKA board member Michelle Purchase leading the tour. CAFKA did some excellent work in this cycle to engage the community and broaden the audience. They did some strong communication work on social media channels and experimented with pub crawl, coffee crawl, and biking tours of CAFKA.16 sites. Nice work.

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Artist and CAFKA board member, Stephen Lavigne.  He’s standing in front of the piece Between The Acts by Jane Buyers.

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Untitled White Van by the MAW Collective out of Toronto.

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The aforementioned van, sparking discussion on surveillance.

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This rig…

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by Chicago artist Claire Ashley (right) turned into dancing inflated sculpture Double Disco, in part animated by the trooper Sarah Goldrup (right?)CAFKA16_launch_night 101

To the off-speed playback of Stayin’ Alive, this show drew a good crowd for the square. It was delightful.

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My pal and CAFKA board member, Catherine Bischoff.

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Music-making plants of Akousmaflore by France-based collective Scenocosme.

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CAFKA director and man from the future, Graham Whiting.

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Leading the 2016 launch…

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at Kitchener City Hall, which I gather is the birthplace of CAFKA.

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Let’s see a little more of Mary Ma’s installation. I loved watching the people.

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My friend Bob McNair. Meta.

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Like a scene from The Truman Show.

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Remember this? Let’s rejoice that Charles Street is now recombobulated.

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Monuments, by the collective Acapulco out of Quebec City.

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Delightful schedule-overload by mashing up the Open Ears festival with CAFKA.16. Here’s OE artistic director Gregory Oh introducing…

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this drawbot by Tristan Perich out of New York. This rig and output, titled The Machine Drawings, created a month-long drawing inside Open Sesame.

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First up though, we heard from sound artist Ryan Maguire out of Virginia.

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He talked about his piece…

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titled Ghost in the MP3 dealing with interesting artifacts of lossy audio recording and playback.

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Then Tristan Perich talked us through his work.

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Particularly interesting to the maker in me.

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If you don’t know about Open Sesame, you should. It’s out front of Kitchener City Hall, invented and run by Lauren Weinberg.

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Back on the CAFKA trail, here’s a little meta-Sam catching video of the very interesting forum of artists, gathered in 44 Gaukel.

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Gordon Hatt, Exec Director of CAFKA.

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Marcel O’Gorman, Prof in UW’s English Department and shepherd of experimental digital media.

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Mona El Khafif, Associate Prof at UW’s School of Architecture.

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Interesting discussions.

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We were all ushered outside in anticipation of the performance piece Belle & Boy’s Savage Buffalo Happy Hour by Saskatoon artists Adrian Stimson and Lori Blondeau.

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Ivan Jurakic, curator of UWAG.

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And then it was *on*! Lori and Adrian in costume as Belle and Boy.

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Believe me when I tell you I went to this whole gig cold. No prior reading.

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To begin the show…

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we had to squeeze between Belle and Boy, completely removing the arm’s length approach of aloof audience member.

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In costume. Out of costume.

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This was a very interesting piece, tackling, with great gusto, stereotypes around indigenous people, gender and a whole bunch of other stuff.

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where you really had to…


This is one of those things…

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be there and…

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hear it from the artists.

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Staged photos.

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Taking on the issues.

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So many photographs.

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Nicely done.

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More meta-Bob.

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Artist panel.

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Maker of the sequin t-shirts.

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Gabrielle Moser, curator out of Toronto.

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Lori and Adrian.

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Pick your word…

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Iga Janik, curator at Idea Exchange Art and Design out of Cambridge.

Alright, I’m a bit rushed here as I gotta go make some Valentine’s pancakes at home before dashing off to the regular 2Tue Art$Pay meetup at 7pm.  Feel free to add in a comment.

This is us.


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