MA3 — Week 4: Playfulness, Para-fiction and Memory

Provocations Task

For the provocations task I am still grappling with separating opinion from the self in debate, but have been wondering about weather it might be possible to take on another persona as a way for getting around this challenge.

In my research I have been looking at the argument that empirical evidence is required to find truth in memory, and preserve ‘facts’ related to definitions of identity, which I will back up with the philosopher Dummett’s anti-realist theory that “a statement about the past is rendered true or false only by evidence available to the speaker at the time of asserting it”, and apply this to the example of moon landing deniers.

I aim to question how a search for an absolute conception of the world is unnecessary and maybe impossible, and that a conception of reality independent from our thought of reality allows multiple realities to be possible, including one in which the moon landing did not happen to some individuals.

Looking to an example of this thinking from an artist, I thought of the Museum of the Flat Earth and ongoing art installtion/museological project which was founded to “archive, preserve, and present objects and experiences pertaining to flat earth philosophies and parallel concepts associated with that lore and culture through its displays and programming.” Created by Kay Burns, she aims to grapple with parafiction, authority of the institution, skeptical inquiry, museological/archival practices, and critical thinking in relation to this example of pseudoscience.

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Museum of the Flat Earth, installation view

For this project, Kay takes on the role of Iris Taylor,, a an “independent researcher and ethnographer” who asks you to question everything, except for what she says. This direct questioning of authority, especially as it relates to history and science, truth and fiction, narrative and identity, playfully takes on the serious issue of finding truth in a post truth world.

Iris Taylor

I think for the assignment, this has lead me to take on a similar role, where I can research hoaxes without prejudice and present views which are not my own, but still worthwhile to argue for.



Jon Sasaki Artist Talk

Wednesday I was able to attend an artist talk with the current artist in residence at the local artist run center – Jon Sasaki, a Toronto-based multidisciplinary artist. He is a graduate of the same undergrad as me, but has gone on to develop a practice which brings “performance, video, object and installation into a framework where expectation and outcome never align, generating a simultaneous sense of pathos and levity.”

In the talk he started with early early work he made, mostly landscape painting, which he did as a student, and talk about how his research developed into conceptual art with  strong sensibility for humour.

Jon Sasaki, A Rightsized Limo

During the talk, I got the feeling that much of Sasaki’s work has to do with trial and error, and developing questions to execute as the actual artwork, more than only working towards the intention of a final product. The process is always a large part of the final works.

From that process often comes humour and play, from what I think is a really genuine desire to just see if things can work. This curiosity often manifesting itself as hopefulness, where the audience and viewer also wants there to be a technical success, even if coming form the most unconventional means of making.

I really appreciate all that Sasaki had to say about making it as an artist, and how we strives to find a balance between the administrative work of being an artist with the actual making an doing. Definitely finding all that difficult at the moment.

Jon Sasaki, Improvised Travel Adapters



Studio Progress

uranograhia video

Another test:

layering test from Rachel Thornton on Vimeo.

I am getting closer and closer to a deadline for this video work to be completed as it will be a part of an exhibition at Atelier Imago, as a part of Festival international du cinéma francophone en Acadie, happening 15 to 23 November in Moncton NB.

Currently all the layers are animated and edited, but the tracked movements need to be timed, and every now and then, there is a file that just does not want to cooperate, and I have to tackle them from another angle. It has been a please to work with video editing and animation more, and excited by the possibilities of these sort of moving collages.

Screen Shot 2019-10-16 at 1.53.50 PM.png

First 2 mins edited:

first 2 mins from Rachel Thornton on Vimeo.



Building up layers, looking to energy transference, bruises and the connections between scientific illustrations, life drawing and translating touch.

own work
own work



Currently Reading: The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov because Patti Smith recommends it.

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