VS VS VS MOVES IN at Art Metropole (1490 Dundas West), to September 22. 416-703-4400. See listing. Rating: NNNN
Art Metropole, the brainchild of Toronto art collective General Idea, has been an internationally acclaimed artist-run centre promoting conceptual art and media projects since 1974.
Visitors to its King West location treasured the space as a repository of wildly original and eclectic artifacts: artist publications and pamphlets, vinyl and multimedia, installations and multiples, and the ever-present rack of artist-designed T-shirts.
Metropole recently moved to Dundas West and is celebrating with an in-house residency by VS VS VS, a local artist collective who share space in a port lands warehouse.
It's both an installation and a kind of occupation - the collective of nine people are living in the front window until September 22. They plan to build the living space gradually, while making sculptures, multiples, drawings and videos. Visitors are welcome to stop by, and collaboration is encouraged.
Since their moving party on August 18, they've been busy installing some essential amenities, such as a library, and plan to eventually add a work station, sound system (with record library), loft bed and TV displaying multimedia and video works.
They've used the recently installed sewing machine to make sigils that look like pirate flags for each group member. The flags, which can be raised or lowered on tiny strings in the main window, are hoisted to signal the presence of members in the collective space.
Last Sunday night, the live-in was in full swing. I caught them close to midnight, after they'd just finished screening the Serbian movie Black Cat, White Cat. The ambience was convivial and relaxed. Their bookcase, already graced with volumes on home improvement, survivalism and philosophy, was complete. Their newly made bunk bed stood against the wall. Some members were readying for bed.
"It's a fantastic space," collective member Anthony Cooper told me with solemn enthusiasm, "a great place to collaborate and put things together. Be sure to visit again."