*~._.:*jEnNiFeR X JeNniFeR*:.~

19 September - 16 October 2013

  • Vernissage: 19 September 2013, 18:00
  • Moderated discussion with artists: 21 September 2013, 16:00 - 18:00
  • Jennifer Chan
  • Jennifer Cherniack

*~._.:*jEnNiFeR X JeNniFeR*:.~ is an exhibit featuring the recent work of emerging Canadian artists Jennifer Chan and Jennifer Cherniack. Chan and Cherniack’s bodies of work illustrate a recent trend in digital culture: a limitless appreciation of the early 90’s, a time when communications media were radically reinvented and modern society completely transformed by the Internet.

While this Post-Internet enthusiasm suggests a wistful reinterpretation of the decade of the dial-up modem (think early Photoshop effects, neon colours, chrome and glitter), the works of Chan and Cherniack delve deeper into the cultural tropes that fueled the early days of the Web. The works presented in the exhibit confront the viewer with the mechanisms behind image production on the Internet. The kind of corporate branding (think Google), self-promotion (think “selfie”), high school socializing (think Instagram) and low-grade melodrama (think celebrity memes) that we’ve become impervious to, cycle through the work of Chan and Cherniack.

On the surface, their work reproduces the aesthetics of pop culture and those of advertising; yet, their video, performance, textile and text-based projects manufacture a careful critique of heteronormative online communication strategies and the larger implications of gendre representation on the Web. From the early days of instant messaging (ex: ICQ) to contemporary webcam-based chat sites (ex: Chatroulette), our online socializing is mitigated by a mass-marketed teenage fantasy – a life comprised of dating, shopping, partying – all in an effort to attract the opposite sex. While the teenage girl demographic – in the form of the avid consumer – represents a significant portion of the marketing power of the Internet, rarely is the young female portrayed as a content-producer.

The exhibit *~._.:*jEnNiFeR X JeNniFeR*:.~ does not attempt to reconcile the issue of biased gendre representation on (and through) the Web; rather, through the works of Chan and Cherniack, the exhibit attempts to navigate through the thick haze of our commodified social interactions online and uncover strategies to challenge the capitalist structures colonizing our intimate and private lives.

*~._.:*jEnNiFeR X JeNniFeR*:.~* is also presented as part of FNC Lab (Festival du nouveau cinéma).

Jennifer Chan works with video, performance, and web-based media. She makes deliberately kitsch remix videos as a form of social commentary on art and gender after the Internet. This new body of work by Chan consists of new vernacular remix videos and spatial installations referring to the negotiation of masculinity in digital culture. The video work in this exhibition consists of a series of “visual mixtapes” that employ a vernacular slideshow aesthetic to capture net culture as a form of satirical “found footage.”

“P.A.U.L.” is an anime music video cut with live action footage from other music videoclips. The video depicts a young gay man’s perfect date and romantic visions. Footage from Yaoi and music videos containing queer aesthetics are recut into a frenetic and saccharine video about a fictive love story between three men. Clichés are overwrought; romantic love so often being depicted as a caricature in media culture as it is both a universal, yet ubiquitous representation of happiness.

“Young Money” is a remix video that employs hip hop and youth cultural icons such as Red Bull and pizza to critique the predominant White male “brogrammer” archetype in new media art. Installed on large leaning monitors, the video serves as a counterpoint to “Boyfriend,” a video about East Asian diaspora discussing a variety of perspectives on love and masculinity. “Boyfriend” is a video that combines YouTube-captured webcam videos with images of dominant East Asian masculinity. Headlined by a Mandarin cover of Just Bieber’s pop hit “Boyfriend”, K-popstars, J-popstars, Taiwanese diaspora, and Cantopop icons, are recut against “gamer nerds” to deliberate the superficial aspects of performing the archetypal romantic straight male partner in Asian culture.

Chan’s fourth video work being presented, “*A Total Jizzfest*,” similarly celebrates and critiques White techno-masculinity by offering a musical overview of the sexiest and richest men in computer and Internet history. Finally, the microfibre textile pieces, “Tristan” and “Nicholas,” are composed of digital prints of chat text overlayed on manipulated advertising images of East Asian men, whose bodies and looks are spectacular in tumblr fan communities. These images are digitally manipulated to reflect the Western perception that Asian men and women’s beauty standards try to aspire to be more “white-looking,” yet simultaneously point to regional beauty standards that are homogenous due to the globalization of Western beauty.

Chan recently had solo exhibitions at the Marshall McLuhan Salon in the Embassy of Canada in Berlin for Transmediale 2013 (Germany) and Vox Populi (Philadelphia, US). Her work has shown at Brooklyn International Festival of Performance Art (Brooklyn, US), Kiasma (Helsinki, FI), Abandon Normal Devices Festival (Manchester, UK), Interstate Projects (New York City, US), Future Gallery (Berlin, Germany), Transnumériques (Brussels, BE), Portland Art Museum (Maine, US), Trinity Square Video (Toronto, CA), and Images Festival (Toronto, CA). She is a recipient of the Mississauga Art Awards for Emerging Visual Talent in 2008. Chan has presented on her work at Whitechapel Gallery (London, UK) and Hyperallergic's tumblr art symposium (New York City, US). Her writing on the vague histories and trends of Internet culture has been published on West Space Journal, Rhizome, Networked_Performance (turbulence.org), Art F City, and Junk Jet. She has a HBA in Communications, Culture, Information Technology from University of Toronto and a MFA in Art Video from Syracuse University. Chan was born in Ottawa and raised in Hong Kong. She currently works in Chicago, IL.

Jennifer Cherniack has been involved in contemporary art as an artist, educator and administrator since the early 2000s. In the context of the exhibit, Cherniack presents her most recent project, “The Hottest Hacker Chicks in Internet History and other Cyber Girls.”

“The Hottest Hacker Chicks in Internet History and other Cyber Girls” is a multi‐media project using visual and linguistic tropes from well‐known television shows and movies from the mid 90s in order to look at how early web users were portrayed and perceived in the fictional realm. The reference material used in the project—crime scene dramas, made‐for‐TV movies, public service announcements, sitcoms, and big screen movies—roughly spans the first five years that the World Wide Web was available on a consumer level. This material illustrates the fear, caution, interest, and finally acceptance, of this new technology, and with that, an expanding vocabulary to talk about it.

“The Hottest Hacker Chicks in Internet History and other Cyber Girls” captures the emerging language of the first years of the World Wide Web. While some of the vocabulary established during this era remains part of our lexicon, the way in which we talk about the Internet and online culture has changed, and much of the language—both visual and linguistic—used during the mid 90s has now revealed itself as transient and antiquated.

“The Hottest Hacker Chicks in Internet History and other Cyber Girls” looks at various permutations of the effect of populist representations of early web with a focus on gender, sexuality, and our relationships with, and through, the World Wide Web. While the actual WWW was a space with endless potential for anonymity, experimentation and expression, popular television and film provided us with gendered experiences of the web; different behaviour codes were assigned to both the male and female ‘user’. Nearly 20 years later, these ‘user’ archetypes have, for the most part, dissipated, but remnants of these times can still be found in language, fashion and, of course, popular media.

“The Hottest Hacker Chicks in Internet History and other Cyber Girls” is comprised of several small projects that come together to form a larger narrative about these archetypes and codes, and provides an opportunity to revisit our not‐so‐distant past.

Cherniack received her BFA at University of Western Ontario in 2003 and was an intern at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice in 2004. She then moved to Toronto, and worked as an administrator and educator for organizations such as InterAccess Electronic Media Arts Centre, Regent Park Focus, Gallery 44 and the National Film Board of Canada. In 2009 she moved to Montreal to pursue an MFA in Open Media at Concordia University. During her time at Concordia, Cherniack taught at the undergraduate level, led professional development workshops for art students, and in January of this year defended her thesis project. Cherniack has exhibited in a variety of venues across Canada and the United States, from artist‐run centres such as TRUCK Gallery in Calgary and Centre VU in Quebec, to a train car in Northern Canada, to the NY Art Book Fair. Cherniack finds inspiration from television, movies, and pop culture in general.


19 September - 16 October 2013

  • Vernissage: 19 September 2013, 18:00
  • Moderated discussion with artists: 21 September 2013, 16:00 - 18:00