Terraforming: An exhibition of recent work by Trinity Square Video and SAVAC members

Anna Eyler | How to Explain Love to a Tape Measure (Take-cum6) | Video Still | 2016 | Machinima |16:9 | 9 min. 48 sec.

Anna Eyler’s “How to Explain Love to a Tape Measure,” video still (2016).

Exhibition Runs: 06 July–25 August 2016
Reception: 06 July, 5 –7 PM

An exhibition of recent work by Trinity Square Video and SAVAC members
Curated by Maria Alejandrina Coates

Artists: Melissa General, Kristina Guison, Trudy Erin Elmore, Anna Eyler, and Safiya Randera

Trinity Square Video (TSV) and SAVAC are pleased to announce a joint exhibition of recent work by their members curated by Maria Alejandrina Coates.

Originating in science fiction, terraforming is a term that refers to the alteration of foreign environments in outer space in order to make them suitable to support human life. The term represents an outward horizon for colonialist projects of expansion and hegemony. In addition to political and social encroachment, terraforming can also be seen as a way to describe human encroachment onto the natural world. This exhibition directs attention to the process of terraforming found not only in the physical manipulation of environments, but also in the systems of thought shaped by language and culture that give order to society. These works re-position subjectivities to highlight their entanglement within their environments, and to critique current capitalist and machine-based systems that governs humans’ relationship with the land.

Featuring artists Melissa General, Kristina Guison, Trudy Erin Elmore, Anna Eyler, and Safiya Randera, this exhibition encounters Nature as a medium for creating options in relation to the established socio-economic order. From the physical movement of bodies from one place to another, through the regenerative qualities of fire and water; to expanded virtual landscapes and digital subjects; these artists engage with the elements of nature to alter, transfer, move, and reorganize established social systems or prescribed modes of thinking and acting. In resisting the naturalization of socio-political hegemonies, these works find in the earth the tools to rethink our histories and futures.

Download a .pdf of the exhibition catalogue here.

Artist Bios

Trudy Erin Elmore is an emerging, new media artist based in Toronto, Canada. Her work deals with issues of mortality, technological evolution and the paradoxical human condition relating to and existing in a hyper consumer culture. Although her practice is largely digital, she remains weary of the ‘new way of seeing’ —mediated almost entirely by electronic screens— and of technological evolutions’ contingency upon systems of wealth and resource extraction. Hailing from a rural life in the Kootenay Mountain Range in BC, she spent her formative years hiking in the back country and tending a hobby farm. Upon her arrival at OCAD University she was exposed to new medias and the digital method of creation. Elmore became enamored with the limitless and serial nature of digital realm, where the complexities of the mind can be represented. Her art practice is based in digital medias, print, and video and sound installation.

Elmore participated in OCAD Universities’ Nomadic Residency Program with Ryan Gander (2016) and Pedro Reyes (2015). She was awarded the Summer Student Artists in Residency at Trinity Square Video for her selected screening at Video Fever (2016). Elmore has recently showed work in the 2016 Toronto Images Festival and in the 2016 Luminato Festival.

Anna Eyler is a multidisciplinary artist based in Montréal. In her work, Eyler reflects on contemporary ideas of the sacred. Her media-based installations question strict distinctions between interior/exterior, nature/technology, absence/presence, and cyclicality/linearity. According to theorist Jane Bennett, contemporary culture is widely understood to be devoid of a sense of “enchantment,” which is an experience of being “struck and shaken by the extraordinary that lives amid the familiar and the everyday.” Through the subversion of familiar forms and objects, Eyler aim to reinvigorate these sites of wonder within daily life.

Eyler holds a BA in Religious Studies and Art History from Carleton University (2010) and a BFA from the University of Ottawa (2015). Recent awards include the Governor General’s Academic Medal (2010), the Jacqueline Fry Scholarship (2014), and the Artengine New Media Award for her graduate exhibition (2015). Her work will be shown in the upcoming two-person exhibition beyond différance, and now at Ace Art Inc. in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Melissa General is from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. She is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design and completed a Masters of Fine Arts degree at York University. Working in photography, installation and video, concepts involving memory, history, land and her Indigenous identity have been a focus in her practice. Her work has been exhibited at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Harbourfront Centre, Art Gallery of Peterborough, Gallery 101, Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography and has been included in the 2016 Contemporary Native Art Biennial in Montreal.

Kristina Guison is a Manila-born, Filipino-Canadian artist based in Toronto, a graduate of OCAD U for BFA major in Sculpture/Installation and a minor in Integrated Media from OCAD U in 2016. Her practice derives from pathways of socio-political interactions and intersections between pre-colonial and contemporary cultural identities in the heavily globalized 21st century. She combines social practice with fabrication-based process that are research-based, performative, culturally immersive, collaborative and generative.

Her body of work for the past recent years has existed in different forms ranging from experimental research projects, gallery shows and artist residencies across Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Andalucía, Cleveland, Toronto and The Philippines.

Safiya Randera is a multi-disciplinary artist primarily working within the fields of painting, experimental video and creative documentary. Randera has received international acclaim for her films My Father, the Terrorist? (2010), My Girl 2012 (2011), Health Status Survey (2000), and Jangri (1998). She has over a decade of experience as an independent director, producer and editor, addressing diverse topics such as disability, feminism and multiculturalism.

In 2012 Randera broadened the scope of her visual art practice by incorporating the spiritual practices of her ancestors as well as learning from the Shipbo. Establishing a commitment to these traditions has lead to an indelible relationship with plant medicine. Randera has since been initiated into the medicine way and works as a channeller and energy healer. Her current thematic focus in the visual arts is an exploration of how we materialize the unseen through a connection to the plants and other spirits. Ongoing attempts to harness the mysteries of natures and inviting a public into an unseen, immersive and luminous world are key interests in her work.


Curator Bio

Maria Alejandrina Coates is a Uruguayan born, Toronto-based curator whose practice is focused on creating environments that can challenge, disrupt, and re-organize normative perceptions of reality and cultural identities. She recently served as Curator for e-fagia visual and media arts organization, as well as a Board Member for Gendai Gallery. She co-founded and currently contributes to the community based sos curatorial collective.

Maria received a bachelors degree from the University of British Columbia; and a Masters degree in Art History and Curatorial Studies from York University. She is a mother of two and maintains an active curatorial practice in Toronto, ON.



SAVAC (South Asian Visual Arts Centre) is the only non-profit, artist-run centre in Canada dedicated to supporting South Asian artists. For over two decades, SAVAC has increased the visibility of culturally diverse artists by curating and exhibiting their work, providing mentorship, and facilitating professional development.

Our mission is to produce programs that explore issues and ideas shaping the identities and experiences of people from the region and its diasporas. We encourage work that is challenging, experimental and engaged in critical discussions that offer new perspectives on the contemporary world.

SAVAC develops and produces a range of contemporary visual art interventions and programs. We work without a gallery space, and typically in collaboration with other artist-run centres, public galleries and visual arts organizations. This unique, collaborative model allows for SAVAC to play a vital role in Canada’s visual arts ecology by expanding the frameworks that support culturally diverse perspectives in art.


Co-presented with South Asian Visual Arts Centre, with the support of YYZ Artists’ Outlet.








Media Contact:

Nahed Mansour
Program Coordinator, SAVAC