ZOO at InterAccess (9 Ossington), to March 17. 416-599-7206. Rating: NNNNN Rating: NNNNN
Reflecting on the relationship between modern technology and nature, ZOO blows the lid off any previous assumptions.
Ingrid Bachmann , Garnet Hertz and Amy Youngs have created some of the most innovative and mind-boggling work I've seen in a while. They envision the cyborg not as a Blade Runneresque beauty, but as a reimagined postmodern flea circus that melds insects and crustaceans with machines.
By exploring a crab's terrarium via the Internet, Bachmann's Web-based project, Digital Crustaceans v.0.3: Homesteading On The World Wide Web, looks at the nomadic culture of crabs and technology.
Hertz's Cockroach Controlled Mobile Robot #3 is nothing short of genius. A giant Madagascan hissing cockroach pilots the movement of a robot. The cockroach is affixed to a trackball that directs the robot; if the cockroach moves to the right, so does the robot.
In Youngs's Holodeck For House Crickets, a constructed environment inside a glass bubble, crickets usually bred to feed reptiles are indulged.
They live in the lap of luxury, enjoying projected "holographs" (actually video projections the crickets advance by chirping) of the pastoral grass and woodlands environment of their wild relatives.
In the safety of this artificial landscape, they become strangely decorative.
ZOO is serious and deliberate in its critique of modern technology and at the same time insanely hilarious. Straddling current technologies and probing ideas about nature, it offers a barrage of unique thoughts, ingenuity and fearlessness.
The best show of 2007 so far.