Reverberations of a Topological Daydream - Santiago Tavera

Friday, March 2, 2018 to Friday, April 13, 2018
Opening reception: Friday, March 2, 7:00pm - 9:00pm

Reverberations of a Topological Daydream is a multimedia architectural installation that presents a virtual space in constant translation between physical and digital experiences. Multiple video projections and 3D graphic animations immerse the gallery space, taking viewers into the vastness of a virtual suburbian galaxy. Within this constructed digital environment, plexiglass and vinyl structures are used as reflective screens and visual filters, which are activated through the light of the projected image. These reflective and translucent materials break the geometric animations present in the work. Memories and sensations are translated around the space through the repetitions and echoes of images and sounds. This creates a perceptual topology of virtual reverberations that travel unobstructed by borders. Topology, as a mathematical term, refers to the exploration of how shapes preserve their permanence in change, by only bending, twisting and stretching, without ever breaking and losing their original self.

This multimedia exhibition presents digital architectural houses as sites of refuge, where memories and illusions emerge, and where perception collides with that of the immediate future and the re-constructed past. Interlacing the role of an outside observer with the one that inhabits an interior site, viewers virtually journey through a familiar place, moving from one room to the other within these digital houses. As viewers inhabit the exhibition space, virtual spaces are consequently inhabiting them. The audio used in one of the animations of this installation, presents fictions simultaneously spoken in English and Spanish. These fictions  evoke a sense of displacement by narrating tales of dreamlike spaces. Repeating words and mixing different phonetics and accents, highlights that the process of translation is an infinite reverberation. Translation, afterall,  is a transfer of meaning that is never fully resolved, since it only presents approximations of an original source.

Digital media allows subjects to constantly navigate between perception, memory, physicality and the virtual. The self becomes a translation and it is constantly translating. Individuals find themselves in a never-ending process of constructing and re-constructing their sense of being, and in turn their sense of belonging. Reverberations of a Topological Daydream, aims to illustrate the impact our current digital culture has on how we form our identity within multiple realms. Dislocation, familiar to those who have experienced cultural displacement, has become more apparent as subjects now live as virtual immigrants within the realm of the digital. In cyberspace, subjects and objects exist as images that are constantly moving from one screen to the next, a virtual dislocation similar to the one of a migrant body. Dislocation, can also be paralleled with the action of daydreaming, which is the displacement of the conscious mind. In this state, the body experiences a double sense of place, with multiple perceptions and memories. There is a simultaneous sense of being physically here and virtually there, while belonging everywhere and nowhere. By merging architectural 3D animations, digital video, sound and reflective materials; this installation immerses the viewer in an endless transfer across geographical, linguistic, psychological, physical and virtual borders.

Reverberations of a Topological Daydream, presents a suspended state of mixed realities, triggering in the viewers virtual narratives of dislocation, accompanied by fictions of self re-presentation.  The installation generates an intimate space that acts as a topological exploration, aiming to examine the interactions of the body with virtual environments. How is self-representation, social interaction and our understanding of space, affected by the ubiquity of digital media in our everyday?



Santiago Tavera is an interdisciplinary Colombian and Canadian artist, based in Montréal. He explores virtual narratives of dislocation and perception through the construction of interactive and immersive multimedia installations. His practice intends to place bodies in spaces of translation between the physical and the virtual. In Tavera’s work, a combination of videos, 3D graphic animations, sound and reflective materials become elements that present the potential of digital media to create experiences of (dis)embodiment (elasticity, alteration, translation). This notion of dislocation, parallels experiences of migrant bodies who find themselves in a infinite process of being and forever becoming. Tavera investigates the potential of digital media to create virtual architectural environments that alter our thresholds of perception. He combines personal and fictional narratives of re-presentation, belonging and displacement. Tavera’s works have been exhibited at Agence TOPO (Montréal), Montréal’s 3rd International Digital Art Biennial, The 2017 Ottawa International Animation Festival, Chromatic Festival 2016 (Montréal), Art Mûr (Montréal), Interaccess (Toronto), La Galeria de Arte e Pesquisa–UFES (Brazil), Solange Guez + Arte Contemporaneo (Argentina), Laboratório de Arte Alameda (México), The Wrong – A New Digital Biennial (Online), and a screening at the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto). Tavera’s paper, ‘Translational Spaces: Virtual narratives of being and belonging’, has been recently published in the Journal of Virtual Creativity - Intellect Books Ltd. In 2017, his projects presented at the International Symposium on Electronic Arts (ISEA) in Colombia, the Besides the Screen 2017 Conference in Brazil, and the 3rd International Elastic Spaces Symposium in the United Kingdom, were supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec and the Ministry of Culture of Colombia. Tavera holds an MFA (Intermedia) from Concordia University, and a BA (Honors) Specialization in Visual Arts and a Major in Psychology from Western University. www.santiagotavera.com



Aligned with the current exhibition at Forest City Gallery, Reverberations of a Topological Daydream, Santiago Tavera will give and artist talk followed by an experimental workshop session. Tavera will first introduce his practice-based -research followed by a multimedia workshop that will invite 10 participants to collaborate on a VR performative-multimedia piece using a 360 VR live broadcasting camera. The goal of this workshop is to virtually capture an entire space and a moment of media based exploration, to make it accessible in a public domain (the internet). The workshop session will focus on the potential of technology and digital media, to expand the body by constructing virtual narratives of the re-presentation of the self. With the ubiquity of digital media in our current cultural state, the self remains in a constant state of dislocation, similar to the state and experience of a displaced body. This workshop will further explore the sense of a virtual body as 360 VR footage will be recorded and played back all at once. The goal is to blur the lines of the observer and the performer, as participants will engage with each other, the space, and the technology, both physically and virtually. Recently, Tavera has been exploring experimental and pedagogical studio-based collaborations. In 2017, Tavera co-organized a workshop sessions at  Bath Spa University, UK during the 3rd Elastic Spaces Symposium, at Artscape Youngplace in Toronto during the Hemispheric Institute GSI Convergence, and finally at the Universidad de Caldas in Colombia part of the International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA) and the International Images Festival. Being able to provide these workshops in different places, highlight digital media’s potential of interconnectivity between multiple bodies, identities, cultures and communities. http://www.santiagotavera.com/workshops