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Speculative Ecologies

Vector Festival, 2019


At a time when humanity’s collective dithering in the face of impending ecological disaster is threatening to harm our world beyond repair, Vector Festival 2019 explores how contemporary media art reflects on this dire state of affairs. Featuring interactive installations, screen-based works, experimental games, generative art, performances, sound art, and other digital works, the festival’s curators invite you to join us in speculating on possible futures, alternative realities, and post-calamity archaeologies of the mess we have created for ourselves. Now in its seventh year, Vector Festival showcases experimental new media art across a series of events that include exhibitions, performances, workshops, discussion panels, and screenings.

Speculative Ecologies was curated by Katie Micak and Martin Zeilinger.

For 5 days, over 40 artists and curators participated in our multi-venue programming, which included:

4 exhibitions
3 GIF installations
2 screenings
2 panel discussions
1 evening of live performance
2 workshops



Exhibition at InterAccess. July 11-August 17, 2019

Artists: Anna Eyler, Aksel Haagensen, Lisa Jackson, Raquel Meyers, Matthew Plummer-Fernandez, Scenocosme (Grégory Lasserre + Anaïs met den Ancxt), Jeff Thompson

How will post-extinction media archaeologists rediscover our lost civilisation? What will robots have to say about the last days of humanity? What possible futures are already inscribed in the technologies and digital tools we use today? Future Relics, this year’s Vector Festival flagship exhibition, refers to a speculative museum in future, hosting media artists whose work offers insights and outlooks on digital culture and the environment that oscillate between the playful and the critical, the hopeful and the dystopian.


Exhibition at Electric Perfume. July 11-14, 2019

Artists: Iodine Dynamics, Brianna Lowe, Kris Pierce, Zeesy Powers

Our collective inability to grasp the scale on which imminent climate change will impact our world might one day be described, by future generations of survivors, as ‘the great derangement’ (Amitav Ghosh). Surreal, unsettling, but also with a bit of comic relief, the works included in this exhibition negotiate the lunacies of human-environmental interaction by drawing on the tropes, technologies, and aesthetics of videogame culture.


Online Exhibition. July 11-14, 2019

Works by: John Ayliff, Matt DesLauriers, Droqen, Nick Montfort, Vera Sebert

Ranging from generative art and games to experimental moving image collage, the works in this exhibition reflect a desire to imagine worlds that exist away from, despite, and beyond humanity’s follies.


Exhibition at Ontario Science Centre. July 11-14, 2019

Milumbe Haimbe

African Space Dream is an animation depicts the Moon landing of an imaginary spaceship. Inspired by the true story of Edward Mukuka Nkoloso, a Zambian science teacher and founder of the Zambia National Academy of Space Research in 1964. His unorthodox methods included placing astronauts-in-training in drums, rolling them down a hill in order to simulate zero-gravity. Although his attempted mission failed, Nkoloso’s legacy and ambitions have endured within the collective consciousness of Zambians.

This project was produced by the Ontario Science Centre’s partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto-Idea Projects which provides studio residencies to artists focused on science and technology.


Performance at Small World Music Centre. Friday, July 12, 2019. 8pm

Raquel Meyers, Jenn Norton, Tasman Richardson


An international line-up of performance artists working with experimental visualization tools, archaic home computing, and immersive sound welcome you to an evening of otherworldly, post-calamity, ‘future perfect’ entertainment. Works look at scale and time from macro and micro perspectives, while contemplating how the world is adapting to us.


Screening at Celebration Square Mississauga . July 11-August 17, 2019

Works by: Stephanie Comilang, Henning Frederik Malz, Adrienne Matheuszik, Alex McLeod, Jessie Sheng, Leslie Supnet

Wild Blue Yonder shows videos that are focused on the sky and beyond. These works tell personal, political, and science fiction narratives from the untethered void. Stories are told from the perspective of the sun, drones, spirits from the past, a futuristic traveller, rainy day TV-watching, and digital simulations clouds. As we move closer to atmospheric destruction, how will we remember the skies?


Screening at TMU School of Image Arts | 8pm. Saturday, July 13

Works by: Anxious to Make (Liat Berdugo + Emily Martinez), Christina Battle, Jennifer Chan, Thirza Cuthand, John Greyson, Geoffrey Pugen, Claire Scherzinger, Tom 

The future is environmental disaster. Humanity is slowly but surely reaching the point of no return, a point of irreversible environmental damage, a point of mass extinction, widespread catastrophe, and a step toward uninhabitability. In this screening program, using views from the past, present, and future, artists ask—where can we go from here? When the end seems to be looming and those who can do something about it refuse, what else is there to do but to sit back and watch it happen? Curated by Shahbaz Khayambashi. Presented in partnership with Pleasure Dome



Roadkill by Lorna Mills at Trinty Square Video

Bot in the Woods by Sarah Imrisek at InterAccess

Canadian Abstracts by Jordan Shaw at Artscape Yongeplace

Artist talks 

Featuring Jenn Norton, Thirza Cuthland, Adrienne Matheuszik, Drogen at Electric Perfume


"Bio-sonfication: Non-Human Collaboration" led by Tosca Terán at Museum of Contemporary Art, Toronto

"Digital Sculpting with Rhino" led by Jaimie Howard at InterAccess

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Vector Festival is a participatory and community-oriented initiative dedicated to showcasing digital games and creative media practices. Presenting works across a dynamic range of exhibitions, screenings, performances, lectures, and workshops, Vector acts as a critical bridge between emergent digital platforms and new media art practice. The festival was founded in 2013 as the “Vector Game Art & New Media Festival” by an independent group of artists and curators: Skot Deeming, Clint Enns, Christine Kim, and Katie Micak, who were later joined by additional curators.

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