Artist nichola feldman-kiss explores global migration and flights from homelands in a multi-disciplinary exhibition on view at the Koffler Gallery in Toronto.
Curated by Karen Alexander (UK) for the Koffler Gallery, nichola feldman-kiss \ SIREN is a monumental multi-disciplinary investigation into global migration and everyday flights from homelands. The exhibition uses immersive video installations, vocal harmonics and photography to address shared conditions of oppression and displacement, alongside the cultural complexities of ocean passages.
The exhibition marks the culmination of four years of detailed research into the often catastrophic nomadic passages made across the water, alongside the artist’s characteristic experimentation with digital technologies. Visitors are taken on a visual and sonic journey through photography, video installations and immersive soundscapes.
SIREN makes unorthodox use of imaging technology and sonic harmonies to confront the very significant humanitarian crises at the intersection of conflict and climate. The artist’s 25-year oeuvre is an ongoing critique of the Colonial paradigm – the violent ingestion of land, resources, peoples and cultures.
The multi-layered presentation encompasses Siren III, a new large-scale single-channel video installation and surfacings, a new installation of video stills commissioned for the entrance of the Koffler Gallery. At the core of SIREN is reflection on concepts of diaspora, migration and displacement, the paradox of national boundaries and borders within an ecology of elemental flows.
“My artworks and installations lay bare the entanglements of globalized order that insist rights onto some while withholding the same entitlements from others, and ask us to reconsider difficult questions about what it means to be conscious social bodies within the contemporary moment,” says nichola feldman-kiss. “Siren honours the urgent will to survival through tenacious journeys into unknown futures and invokes ambivalent emotions associated with grand passages and existential transitions.”
The exhibition title SIREN is a nod to the ancient mysterious coastal bird/woman who, like the mermaid, is known to seafaring folk for her mesmerizing call and beguiling beauty. Her song is an exquisite beacon and a spellbinding lure. Guests are pulled into the exhibition through the soundscape and transfixed into an immersive scene of underwater cinematography.
SIREN soundscape harmonics are composed of ululations, improvised vocal expressions common to feminine cultures of the global south. Ululations are performed individually and collectively as a kind of vocal applause, celebrating arrival and clearing paths forward. For SIREN the artist has worked with local women of African, Mediterranean, Asiatic diasporas. The primal vocals combined with the impactful imagery envelop the viewer, inviting them to perform as an unseen witness to underwater scenes of near drowning, ascension, birth and rebirth.
The exhibition opens to the public on November 2, 2022 and continues until March 5, 2023. A public engagement program will accompany the gallery show and will offer a series of focused events to contextualize and help audiences unpack the intertwined layers of urgent concerns and references that underpin the exhibition. Across the run of the show, there will be opportunities for public comment and debate, ranging from lunchtime talks and thematic conversations to live vocal performances and workshops.
For more information on the exhibition, hours of operation and public programming, visit www.kofflerarts.org
180 Shaw Street
About Koffler Gallery
The Koffler Centre of the Arts is a cultural platform that explores critical ideas and concerns of our time through a year-round program of exhibitions, publications, performances, literary events, digital initiatives and arts education programs. We examine complex issues through transformative art experiences that stimulate intercultural dialogue. Through our in-gallery and off-site programs, the Koffler engages thousands of visitors each year. From school children and teens, to newcomers and seniors, we provide vital opportunities for self-expression and community connection. As a Jewish organization, we value and aim to foster social justice and equity, while nurturing a passion for creativity, learning and understanding. We position Jewish identity in conversation with diverse perspectives and global voices to examine complex issues. Through its public program of exhibitions and events, the Koffler offers common ground to engage the most relevant ideas shaping our cultural life and defining our shared social values. Visit us online at kofflerarts.org to learn more and follow our programs and future artistic collaborations.