IA25 at InterAccess (9 Ossington), to March 8. 416-599-7206. Rating: NNN
IA25, a group show commemorating the 25th birthday of InterAccess Electronic Media Arts Centre, attempts to bridge competing perspectives of “new media” as interesting fresh ground and eye-roll-worthy old hat.
The result is solid, though lean: just four artworks are exhibited, one from the dawn of new media (1974) and the others all post-2000.
Lorena Salomé’s Untitled (Solenoids) is a line of 15 mechanisms that whirr and click mesmerizingly until a viewer approaches – an example of human-machine interaction at its most basic.
Galen Scorer’s Network Touch, a “networked interactive performance booth,” allows two people separated physically in the gallery to interact. When bodies “touch” onscreen, the art work produces a flourish of additional sound and imagery. It gets lots of giggles, enjoyably framing interaction, however simple, as its own reward.
Unprepared Architecture by Simone Jones and Julian Oliver is the most fascinating work, letting you hold an infinite Escher-esque building in the palm of your hand. Flipping a cube with cryptic symbols on it in front of a webcam reveals a convincing 3-D space in the same cube onscreen.
Menage, a 1974 work by T.O. robot magnate Norman White, rounds out the show. In it, five robots, mostly on the ceiling, slowly interact with each other. It’s less compelling visually than the other works, but its experiment feels surprisingly current.
IA25 could’ve gone in a very different pop-cult direction. Where’s the neon? The Short Circuit posters? The TRS-80s? Though that’s a loss for the retro-addicted, it reinforces a strange timelessness: the sophistication of our creative tools may have changed, but the same human and conceptual challenges remain.