Curatorial project featuring Olivia Boudreau (Montreal), Peter Courtemanche (Vancouver), Cal Crawford (Los Angeles), Stephen Ellwood (New York), Marla Hlady (Toronto), Adrian Piper (Berlin) and Liv Strand (Oslo).

Presented at the Leonard & Bina Ellen Gallery, Concordia University, Montréal, January 24 – March 1, 2008 as part of the position of Visiting Curator of Contemporary Art, 2007-2008. This was the first part of a two-part exhibition project which continued with Stop. and produced a catalogue Start Stop. which includes the curatorial essay On Off.

Peter Courtemanche, Preying Insect Robots (2006)
Liv Strand, Pipeline (2005)
Marla Hlady, (various)
Cal Crawford, Closed Universe (2003)
Olivia Boudreau, Salle C (2009)


START, the pull of the switch, the activation, the triggering — that first yelp into the air. The intoxication of beginnings, when all is ahead, including infinity. Start proposes to dwell on that moment of inception, to sputter and stammer at the onset, and to investigate the performative imbrications of these tentative movements with time and space. START presents works which address these concerns and engage the visitor with a variety of tactics, vacillating between potential and kinetic energies they offer both participatory and contemplative manifestations of the rhythmic investigations underscoring an exhibition stuck on emergence. The exhibition features performance, installation, audio, drawing, text, sculpture and video.

Stephen Ellwood invades the wall facing the atrium with the text piece, UNTITLED (INSTRUCTIONS FOR SIGHING) (1996), which instructs us to become self-conscious of our breathing. Adrian Piper’sSeriation #2: Now (1968) in the vestibule repeats the word now at various intervals, constantly reminding us that the now of the recording is but a distant then. A start does not point to an origin, or an original, it’s not the first, it’s always already a repetition. Peter Courtemanche’s Preying Insect Robots (2006) scurry awkwardly on the floor, communicate rudimentarily with each other and mechanically underline the basics of a social framework. With Salle C, Olivia Boudreau will stage her continuous presence through every hour of the exhibition run as a persistent viewer of her own projection, she will fix herself in a perpetual present. In Pipeline (2005), Liv Strand thrusts us inside a pneumatic dispatch system where a vertiginous and labyrinthine journey ensues. With the six versions of Mixer (2005-7) Marla Hlady presents cocktail shakers sitting idle up until the visitor decides to pick one up and then start might seem to be veering towards startle, as they sound and light out of the profusion of pores dotting their stainless steel form. The startle, however, remains playful and subtle. Shifting to cosmic quandaries, Cal Crawford’s Closed Universe (2003) finds proof amidst quotidian scenes that the universe is shrinking and attempts to obtain confirmation from leading astrophysicists. Finally, with Piper’s Seriation #1: Lecture (1968) times are announced, they mark a deferred ‘now’ that incontrovertibly fails to correspond to the present.

START marks an inexorable moment in time and space. Start is the engine of the here and now.