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The Essentials | Erika DeFreitas
September 30 @ 8:00 pm - October 3 @ 11:00 pm
a composition for an elegy to what once was and all that remains; or, a score for the past, the present, the future tenses
a composition for an elegy to what once was and all that remains; or, a score for the past, the present, the future tenses (2020) by Erika DeFreitas is the first of three projections in a series entitled The Essentials, curated by The Bentway as part of BigArtTO. The video projection was displayed from Wednesday, September 30 through to Saturday, October 3 from 8-11pm each evening at The Canada Malting Co. silos, viewable on the west side of the building, facing east.
The remnants of architectural structures, some displaced from their original location in Toronto, carry the scores of time. A finger conducts, mitigating the meeting of the past with the present. What we witness is the collapsing of the space between, but perhaps what we experience in the fissures of unease is a longing for what may come to be; what the future holds for us.
The elegy is composed of fragments extracted from eulogies written by the French philosopher Jacques Derrida to commemorate a number of his friends upon their passing. My use of Derrida’s words produces a new text that reflects our present moment, allowing for a merging of space and time. From words written about many, collapsed into the singular, this work may encompass us all.
a composition for an elegy to what once was and all that remains; or, a score for the past, the present, the future tenses (2020) is an invitation to pause and to consider what it means to embrace integral facets to the experience of being human; to grieve, to mourn, to encounter uncertainty and change, while reflecting on the recent past to imagine possibilities for the distant future. It offers a permissible moment to acknowledge that we have endured a past; a reckoning with our collective remembrance as we are at once unable to elude the present.
About Erika DeFreitas
Erika DeFreitas is a Scarborough-based artist whose practice includes the use of performance, photography, video, textiles, works on paper, and writing. Placing an emphasis on process, gesture, the body, documentation, and paranormal phenomena, she works through attempts to understand concepts of loss, post-memory, inheritance, and objecthood. DeFreitas’ work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. She was the recipient of the TFVA 2016 Finalist Artist Prize, the 2016 John Hartman Award, and long-listed for the 2017 Sobey Art Award. DeFreitas holds a Master of Visual Studies from the University of Toronto.
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.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JACK LANDAU