After America Day by Day: A Counter-cartography

“For this project I have compiled the evidence of my counter-cartographic response to the 1947 road trip that Simone De Beauvoir took through the American Southwest. Using her book “America Day by Day” as a map, I traveled 4200 km by car through the spaces that she visited, familiarizing myself with parts of California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. I worked with photography, writing, video, public intervention, and performance as methods of processing my journey.

This journey allowed for a political dialogue to grow between myself – a Mexican Fronteriza artist – and De Beauvoir, 73 years after her original road trip. Contemporary notions of territory, citizenship and landscape are explored in our dialogical fiction as I experienced the journey in situ, against the grain, and from a decolonial perspective.”

Mariel Miranda is co-founder and director of the International Festival of Photography Tijuana (FiFT) a self-organized and feminist platform created for the undisciplined reflection on the image and its current modes of production. FiFT activities have been carried out in multiple spaces in México and the United States. Miranda’s practice as a visual artist is built at the intersection of research, theoretical writing, production and the dismantling of images. Her work is primarily concerned with the visual and textual appropriation of archival materials to discuss issues related to the history of images: their epistemic inscription, their rhetorical narratives and their role in the complex social relations of power mediated by class, ethnicity and gender. Recent honors include: The University of Arizona Fellows Award (offered to the University’s highest-ranked incoming graduate students) and scholarships for Mexican students studying abroad from the Jumex Contemporary Art Foundation and the National Institute of Fine Arts.

IG: @mariiel.mira

Racial Segregation in the Landscape of Public Housing in the United States
Crossing 8 Mile, Oil, Acrylic, and Collage on Wood, 3’ x 8’ feet, 2019

“In considering the various borders between land and people, it is imperative to recognize the current condition of public housing in America. In retrospect, within FDR’s New Deal and the Housing Legislation (FHA 1934), that created the first public housing plan in the United States, race was the determining factor. This problematic design is still visible within residential areas in the U.S., the stain of color-based housing impacting a plethora of modern-day ghettos hidden in plain sight. I am interested in revealing these invisible realities with paint, studying the Detroit landscape and locating areas of power and privilege. This is not to focus on the lines that separate us but to explore what must be done to integrate our communities and historical understandings of each other.”

Cara Marie Young is an artist from Atlanta, Georgia based in Detroit, Michigan. Her current interdisciplinary painting practice is an evolving response to the human experience, concerned with issues of race in the American landscape and the reality of life in her own skin. The artist seeks to engage with the community around her, recently exhibiting work at the Mbad African Bead Museum, Wayne State University, and The Feminist Art Museum in 2020. She was an exhibiting artist and speaker in the Race Forward Facing Race Conference in Fall 2016 at the Hilton Atlanta, and is currently pursuing a Dean’s Diversity Fellowship and MFA at Wayne State University.

Not Traumatic Enough for a Shock Blanket. Embroidered felt, dimensions varied, 2020

“When creating Not Traumatic Enough for a Shock Blanket, Yasmeen Nematt Alla posed the following question to her community: What stories do we begin telling with, “I wouldn’t call it traumatic but…”? Using some of the answers to her question, the artist takes narratives that are not seen as worthy of being traumatic experiences and places them on objects that carry the words’ magnitude and weight while letting the audience bear witness to the truth of these experiences and by extension carry some of the weight of the narratives.”

Yasmeen Nematt Alla (she/her) is an Egyptian artist and art worker living in Tkaronto, Ontario. Her practice approaches alienated narratives from an interpreter’s perspective. As someone who lives between cultures, she deciphers language barriers attached to alienation and otherness. She wonders how the translation of language, experiences, and visuals intertwine with care, grief, and community building. She is currently the Communications Manager at Akimbo Arts and has most recently exhibited at the Gladstone, Xpace Cultural Center, and ACRE Projects.


“My practice is situated in the larger context of environmental art and interactive installation work, and my wish for the viewer is for them to notice nature’s subtleties and recognize that plants and fungi are living organisms that have agency and autonomy. Still a work-in-progress, Natural Systems is a sculptural installation made out of stiffened natural fabric, wire, yarn, string, and jute, placed over a mold to create a hardened structure.”

Sage Barker is an emerging interdisciplinary artist and a recent graduate from McMaster’s Honours Studio Art Program. Focusing on the networks and systems of communication found in nature, she portrays the fragile inner-workings of ecosystems through audio and video installation, sculpture, photography, and site-specific works. Her practice is deeply rooted in environmental stewardship and ideas of decolonization. Sage aims to spread awareness through her work about the autonomous nature of plants and how these organisms have agency. She was born in Dundas, Ontario and has completed numerous commissioned works for various private collections, and has also exhibited at McMaster University and Carnegie Gallery.
IG: @tree__spirit

Natural Systems, Multimedia Installation, ongoing


“The artist’s work is driven by her interest in the simplistic movements we complete in our everyday lives. Working with the genre of still-life painting has allowed her to examine how fabrics can show the way humans touch and handle materials in our daily routine actions. Utilizing images of familiar objects and materials, Brown aims to evoke memories and psychological responses from the viewer that call our attention to what is overlooked. The artist’s hope is that her work creates a space of contemplation in which one can reflect on the ways that small details, like a smudge of leftover paint or the intricate formation of crinkled sheets, can transform the mundane.”

Gwendolyn Brown is a Toronto-based Canadian artist, known for her realistic still life paintings. In 2018, Brown graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design University in Toronto, where she received her BFA in Criticism and Curatorial Practice with a minor in Drawing and Painting. She honed her skills at OCAD University’s Florence Off-Campus Studies Program in 2017, where she lived and created work in Italy for a year. Exhibiting and curating both nationally and internationally, Brown’s work has been included in private collections all over North America and abroad. Her work is currently represented by the Beauchamp Art Gallery.

23.25”x31”, Oil on Canvas, 2017


“People Archives is a set of chlorophyll prints about preserving love. In my relationships where I find the most comfort, I also find the constant fear of losing the people around me. I attempt to preserve relationships through objects before they are gone so that in the future I may experience them again through memories. For this work, I documented my objects and printed them onto leaves. My process uses sunlight to naturally bleach an image onto a leaf using an alternative form of photography. Due to the nature of my materials, my work is alive, and because it has a life it will also have a death. I use the death of my work as a reminder that although nothing is permanent, impermanence makes life beautiful.”

Dessa Ely is a 17 year old artist based in Toronto attending Etobicoke School of the Arts Contemporary Arts program. She makes work using various mediums about loss, healing, and her individual experiences through time.

People Archives,
Chlorophyll prints, 8×4 and 8×5, 2020


“By incorporating familiar forms of loading imagery, this body of work proposes waiting as a form of resistance in an online realm. Suspend Server is a body of video work that creates a liminal space in which loading bars pulsate and spinning wheels can mark time forever. My videos play with illusions of progress and visual rhythms, focusing on moments in which we become idle online. These works reimagine loading as a non-traditional progression of time. When entering these online spaces, I want to make space for the meditative moments that can take place during what is often our impatience and inaction. I am proposing waiting as something we do not need to resist, but as something we can lean into.”

Ronnie Clarke is an emerging artist based in Toronto. Clarke’s work blends choreography, movement, video, and installation. She is interested in how language becomes translated and mediated in the digital age. She explores the poetics of digital spaces; using movement she investigates how technology plays a role in our interactions with others. Clarke’s practice is also rooted in the Greater Toronto Area, where she has worked as the Community Outreach and Cultural Events Coordinator at the Varley Art Gallery in Markham, ON. During her time at Varley, she has lead and designed arts programming and workshops for all ages. She takes pride in her past positions as President of the Visual Arts Supporters Association and as the Digital Resources Intern at The Department of Visual Arts at Western University. Clarke has performed and exhibited professionally at a number galleries and performance venues such as Forest City Gallery (London), Artlab Gallery (London), Trinity Square Video (Toronto), and Xpace Cultural Centre (Toronto).

Spin, Video, 2019

High Honey! 360 degree digital video with soundscape by Aidan Hughes, 2019

Press “Play” and look up!


“High Honey is an immersive 360 video that finds similarity in multi-racial identity and maintaining family relationships in a digital landscape. Created with screen recordings of video calls between the artist and her mother, the piece explores a purely digital mother-daughter relationship, informed by the geometry of patterns found in Chinese temple ceilings. The soundscape is generated from recorded calls, interwoven with synthetic and natural sounds. In their in-between, details are lost – cultures fading over generations is analogous to the loss in intimacy from communicating digitally. Yet, contrarily, we gain a new layer as we rebuild our relationships and identities – a unique understanding of cultures that comes from growing up in a mixed race home, and a texture of digital artifacts that is only possible in a post-internet world.”

Evangeline Brooks (she/her) is a hybrid media artist specializing in generative art and art direction, working in the liminal spaces between races and post-internet technology. In an interdisciplinary practice, she focuses on the context, bias, and allowances each choice of medium provides. While staying safe inside, she has found a niche in digital visualizations for livestream performances. She co-hosts ponyHAUS, a monthly AV showcase on Twitch, and is the in-house visual artist for Frequencies, a Toronto based electronic music series.


“Void is an interactive sculpture that examines the space between your perceived self and self perception. When two participants stand inside the Voids, they are able to see either a reflection of themselves or a window to their counterpart. When one can see only themselves, the other sees their counterpart. This piece forces the viewers into a space of self reflection, but only while under the watch of others. Void uses acrylic semi-opaque mirrors and LEDs to create an effect of mirror or windows depending on the orientation of light.”

Lee Wilkins is an artist, cyborg, and educator currently based in Toronto. They hold a bachelors from Concordia University, a masters from OCAD University, and currently is a PhD student at the University of Toronto. They teach wearable tech, physical computing and New Media at OCAD University and Ryerson University. Their interests include lasers, technology, weird and wacky curiosities, and building whimsical robots. Wilkins is co-executive director at Little Dada, but may know them from co-organizing Make Change Conference, Make Friends Meetup, Long Exposure Festival, Stupid Shit Hackathon Toronto, or from being director at Site 3 coLaboratory. Their work explores the body and cybernetics through a materialist lens. 


“Using a refrigerator and a soundscape to create a multi-dimensional atmosphere, we are creating a portal which stretches a moment to preserve its place in reality rather than replicating its experience like other technologies. Things appear and disappear, and existence is limited to a temporal environment. Through a refrigerator, we take an object and express this truth through the invention of the technology itself with its functional purpose but also with an intimate approach; the desire for a moment to last.”

Nima Salimi is a multimedia artist and writer living in Toronto. Her favourite medium is time, experimenting with collaging techniques to create non-linear narratives. Whether it be the conceptual nature of time or the materiality of it, she explores a variety of media like video, photo, sound, and installation to express a psychological and emotional state within herself and her observations of the world around her.

IG: @nimasalli

Larissa Yeung a second-generation Chinese-Canadian artist and maker, whose work is often about exploring her identity and history. This can be explored directly through learning about her family history, the history of Chinese immigration and the diaspora—as seen in her thesis film “Chicken and Noodles: A Portrait of My Father”. Other times it is explored non-directly, which recently has been through textiles, material arts, and making garments to relate to her mother’s life who had worked in a clothing factory when she first immigrated to Canada. Yeung expresses her identity in multiple mediums as a way to honour and connect with her past, integrating her family’s history and culture into the present. 

IG: @rissyeung

Portal, Multimedia Installation, 2019


Exploring the potential behind electronic waste and responding to contemporary technological development, Silver Wings is a kinetic sculpture collection built by recycled electronic components from discarded printers, computers and keyboards, etc. As social and cultural researcher Gay Hawkins wrote in her book The Ethics of Waste in 2005, “What we want to get rid of also makes us who we are.”  The idea of combining electric-waste with children’s toys builds the conversation between technological extension and childhood development through transforming the technological trash into the object that people are familiar with in their childhood. The way of emotionally framing the discarded electronic waste encourages the viewers to notice what we usually ignore and to remind people of the survival crisis of the next generation. 

Jiaqi Yuan is a third-year Chinese international student of UTSC specializing Studio Art. Through her art practice, she primarily focuses on making conceptual installations. Exploring the social issues in highly industrialized and mechanized society, her sculptures incorporate mechanical devices and industrial objects. Recently, she held her solo show “System” in Gallery 1265 on UTSC campus. Her work “Futuristic Toy” was selected to be part of the Shelley Peterson Student Art Exhibition (SPSAE), from April 17-May 18, 2019 in The Art Museum at the University of Toronto. Due to the rethinking of conceptual and material boundaries through risk-taking and playfulness of form, Jiaqi Yuan’s Futuristic Toy was nominated to be one of the winners of 2019 Juror Prize.


1361.99m: A Study in Object-Oriented Ontogeny examines objects in a state of becoming by looking at their movement in two different ways. Firstly, the carving of 1361.99m on the brick refers to physical movement, the distance the Earth has rotated at the latitude of Toronto during the exposure time of the photography, and secondly, by looking at the objects’ movement through time; the bricks were made from clay, fired, used to build a house, removed from the house, and incorporated in this stop-motion video all in Toronto. This piece examines how we mis/understand time and movement through photographic and object experimentation. Bricks, typically perceived as static, can also be viewed as tools of colonialism, with shifting ontogenies of meaning, form, movement, and locality.

Stephen Severn is a still life photographer whose practice provides a space for the exploration of human and object ontogeny. His work explores objects not as representations of human identity, but in a process of becoming alongside human existence, where human-object relations intertwine and transform through time, space, and movement. He is currently a MFA Candidate at OCAD University in Toronto, Canada.

1361.99m: A Study in Object-Oriented Ontogeny,
stop-motion video, Oct. 21 6:55-7:11pm 2020.