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Life Preserver by Alvin Luong
October 21, 2020 @ 7:00 pm - October 24, 2020 @ 10:00 pm
Life Preserver by Alvin Luong is the second of three projections in a series entitled The Essentials, curated by The Bentway as part of BigArtTO. The video projection was displayed from Wednesday, October 21 through to Saturday, October 24 from 7-10pm each evening at the Donald D. Summerville Olympic Pool, viewable on the south side of the building.
In Life Preserver a leisurely walk along the water leads to the discovery of a bundle food that has been washed ashore. The bundle appears purposeful in its assembly yet its function is unknown. We watch as a pedestrian tries to make sense of the bundle as they grasp it, look through its seams, and place it upon their body.
Life Preserver continues the artist’s curiosity into the physical and historical properties of meatballs eaten in the food cultures of Asia Pacific. These meatballs are characteristically buoyant in liquids, such as soups, and have been integrated into the various food cultures of Asia Pacific through generations of sea migration between different shores of the region. In Life Preserver these meatballs find their way to the shores of Toronto bundled together as a makeshift water floatation device. The artwork is inspired by the essentials of food, shelter, and mobility; and the pursuit of these essentials by people across geographies, histories, and nations. Life Preserver is produced in a period when access to these essentials is in a deepening crisis as routines to life have been halted and borders have been closed.
About Alvin Luong
Alvin Luong creates artworks based on stories of human migration, land, and dialogues from the diasporic working class communities that he lives and works with. These stories are combined with biography to produce artworks that reflect upon issues of historical development, political economy, and social reproduction; and how these issues intimately affect the lives of people. The artist is currently focused on migration and economic corridors between the South China Sea and the West.
Recently in 2018, Luong was Artist-In-Residence at Inside-Out Art Museum (Beijing), lectured at Institute for Provocation (Beijing), and was a finalist for the EQAA Emerging Digital Media Artist Award (CA). In 2019, the artist exhibited at Boers-Li Gallery (Beijing), pursued research at HB Station Contemporary Art Research Center (Guangzhou), lectured at YiZhong Art Lab (Shunde), screened at CACHE (Beijing), screened at Alice Yard (Port of Spain), and lectured at Gudskul (Jakarta). In 2021, the artist will exhibit at Modern Fuel (Kingston, CA), The New Gallery (Calgary), and VAC Clarington (CA); and lecture at The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre (Ho Chi Minh City).
About The Essentials
The year 2020 has forever altered the foundations of public life leading to dramatic shifts in society’s understanding and appreciation of routine, mobility, sustenance, education and cultural production. In a time marked by great upheaval and prolonged uncertainty it is not surprising that we are questioning what we deem essential. From basic freedoms, to critical labour, to crucial kindness, now is the time to work collectively to ensure we are building cities, spaces and institutions that address these vital needs.
The Essentials is a digital public art exhibition presented by The Bentway as part of the City of Toronto’s BigArtTO campaign. The project invites selected artists to reflect on that which is essential now, reaffirming priorities and commitments for the post COVID city.
Echoing The Bentway’s relationship with the Gardiner, the exhibition is presented across three lake-side sites of industry, leisure, and infrastructure. During this pivotal time of transition for both the buildings and the city the works suggest further multi-purposing of civic assets. Collectively the projects reflect on Toronto’s past and imagine an urban future premised on fundamentals, all the while asserting art’s own essential role in that evolution.
Experience art illuminated at BigArtTO, a city-wide public art celebration featuring free access to over 200 hours of temporary public artworks projected onto local buildings and landmarks. Created by Toronto artists, the projections will play Wednesday through Saturday in each of Toronto’s 25 wards allowing residents access to artwork without having to leave their neighbourhood.
For additional event details and the complete schedule, visit the City of Toronto website.
Share your experience by tagging @TheBentway & using #ShowLoveTO on social media.