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Following its debut at Arsenal Contemporary Art Montreal in Fall 2019, Arsenal Contemporary Art Toronto is pleased to present Kali Yuga by Tasman Richardson, an audio/visual experience that takes viewers through an immersive and psychological journey. Visitors are invited to navigate the exhibition’s dark pathways, relying on the artist’s signature analogue monitors, digital projections, and confronting video works to light their way.

Six maximalist media pieces are carefully arranged in a slightly askew, nearly symmetrical formation and showcase Richardson’s technological ingenuity and sculptural sensibility. The collection includes a combination of generative content pillaged from the Internet, pre-recorded playback captured in the artist’s bedroom, and live video feeds that produce hauntingly decayed, surveilled, and teleported reflections of each gallery visitor.

Here, Richardson manipulates ways of seeing and being seen, focusing on the complexity of transmitting one’s own image through technology. In an age of spectacle, he critiques the artifice of (self) images by underlining the parasitic relationships they encourage between us.

The title of the exhibition, Kali Yuga (which translates to “The Age of Vice”), refers to a Hindu apocalypse tale. As the story goes, while dreaming of our universe and all of the people within it, a deity is suddenly stirred from sleep. Upon awakening, our shared reality is destroyed, ready to be rebuilt, anew.

Richardson draws parallels between Bentham’s panopticon design, the contemporary media landscape, and this ancient myth, concluding that so long as the deity sleeps, our world remains a fragmented feedback loop of hyper-connectivity, self-obsession and alienation.

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