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Focal Points: 2023 EDAA Exhibition

Focal Points: 2023 EDAA Exhibition

Focal Points features the winning works by recipients of the 2023 Emerging Digital
Artists Award: Bomi Yook, Jasmine Liaw, Melissa Johns, Santiago Tamayo Soler, and Sophia Oppel.

09 September – 06 October 2023

Check out the online exhibition here!

This year’s projects share a common pursuit in stretching the potential of digital media to spotlight untold stories and reconsider established frameworks. Bomi Yook’s work blends Korean cosmologies with procedurally-generated particle systems, inviting us to view the world through a lens of interrelation. Jasmine Liaw weaves an auto-ethnographic visual poem rooted in an experimental dance practice, celebrating her own diasporic identity and that of many others. Melissa Johns fills her virtual reality experience with the voices of multiple generations, creating a living archive of her French-Canadian and Kanien’keha:ka heritage that questions how we define “Canadian identity”. Santiago Tamayo Soler’s work unfolds like a vintage video game, documenting the repercussions of a global ecological catastrophe and presenting humans as the solution to world salvation. And finally, Sophia Oppel’s faux virtual assistant contemplates her own involvement in the surveillance systems and unequal distribution of feminized labor under a capitalist system, urging us to consider our role in AI-informed technology.

The five works speak to the realms of diasporic identity, the complexities surrounding emergent technologies, the effects of late-stage capitalism, the vulnerability arising from environmental crises, and our intricate connections to the myriad systems that shape our existence. Each artist considers a distinct aspect of their subjective worldview to paint a broader picture of our collective experience.


Bomi Yook

Bomi Yook is a Korean-Canadian media artist based in Los Angeles. Using CG Immersive Media, 3D generative world-building, Experimental Animation, and Video Performance, her work explores the blending/blendedness within identity, cultural landscapes, and knowledge systems- from the mythological and metaphysical, to cultural and historical, to ontological and computational.

Layering diverse frameworks of understanding, her work inter-enfolds disparate beliefs and practices that structure together and apart multiple realities that are inter-constitutive. What harmony and disarray arise from conflicting and contentious perspectives and paradigms that intersect and cross-pollinate across space and time? Yook blurs the structural and conceptual divisions created by individualistic and essentialist thinking; revealing that things and thoughts emerge and evolve through relationship rather individuality.

Breaking singular narrativization, her videos and installations recreate a multi-temporal multi-spatial quantum experience of reality, rendering the world as a paradoxical pluriverse in ongoing flux and transformation. Yook investigates blended hybridity as the source from which to imagine an infinite possibility of becoming and belonging. Her immersive animations envision the world through a sublime osmosis rather than singularities.

Yook holds an MFA from UCLA in Design Media Arts, and a BFA from Alberta University of the Arts in Media Arts and Digital Technology.

Jasmine Liaw

Jasmine Liaw is a queer emerging Chinese Hakka Canadian interdisciplinary artist in dance performance, new media art, and experimental film. Bicoastal, she is based in so-called Toronto and Vancouver.

Her practice explores her complex contemporary views of Hakka diaspora, queerness, and environmental anxiety.

She is the Artistic Associate of Chimerik 似不像, a member of Dias:Stories – a Toronto-based Asian-centred research group, and Shoes Off Collective – an emerging artist community centred within the Asian Diaspora. In 2020, she graduated with Distinction at the Conteur Academy in Toronto.

She is the current artist-in-residence with F-O-R-M Recorded Movement Society’s Technology and Interaction Program. Some of her recent collaborations and presentations include The Asian Artist Culture and Trust/Holt Renfrew, Vector Festival, MPCAS/Grunt Gallery, RT Collective Commission Film Program in partnership with Toronto Dance Theatre, in conjunction with Chimerik’s project “Ritual Spective,” and adelheid dance projects.

Her practice explores intersectional connections that branch dance and new media landscapes within her Hakka diaspora, queerness, and environmental anxiety. These themes are often entangled as one, aligning with the multiplicity and vulnerability she offers in her work. Through these intimate relationships between the body and the digital world, she seeks to unearth her mixed-race, queer identity with immersive and interactive technologies that challenge the integration of new media art. Liaw prioritizes research over outcome and is deeply interested in meaningful utilizations of dance-technology. Reducing her carbon-footprint through the engagement with sustainable technologies and virtual art making is critical to Liaw’s practice, as she prioritizes these acts of care within the gestures and movement explored in her body.

Melissa Johns

Melissa Johns is a multimedia visual artist and educator from a mixed Mohawk/French Canadian background, currently based in Toronto ON.

Melissa’s visual practice manifests at the convergence of contemporary media, using interdisciplinary methods to collect, preserve, and transform fragments of the stories around her. Specializing in virtual reality installations, digital painting, and video art, Melissa’s work centers on investigating the narrative potential of these emergent channels.

Having completed her undergraduate degree in Fine Arts & Business at the University of Waterloo, as well as an Advanced Diploma in 3D Animation from Humber College, she is pursuing a Master’s in Interdisciplinary Art from OCAD University.

Melissa is interested in themes of intimacy, memory, and ephemerality.

Santiago Tamayo Soler

Santiago Tamayo Soler (he/him) (Bogotá, Colombia 1990) is a Montréal based multidisciplinary artist working mainly in video, with a background in performance art and film. He holds a BFA in Studio Arts from Concordia University.

Santiago is interested in world-building and juxtaposing digitally built locations with archival footage. To give life to these universes, he creates stories ranging from fiction to historical. Through the use of multiple narrative devices, Tamayo Soler proposes an eco-political examination of Latin America from a diasporic perspective, giving a home to immigrant and queer stories that suggest a radical futuristic fantasy.

Sophia Oppel

Sophia Oppel is an interdisciplinary arts practitioner and researcher interested in examining digital interfaces and physical architectures as parallel sites of power. Oppel deploys transparent substrates —glass, mirror and the screen— as a framework to consider the paradoxes of legibility under surveillance capitalism. Currently, Oppel is interested in addressing both the complicity with, and refusal of, biometric capture on a bodily scale.

Oppel received a Masters of Visual Studies from the University of Toronto in 2021, and is based in Tkaronto/Toronto. Oppel received her BFA from OCAD University in 2018, and has exhibited locally and internationally, including exhibitions at Arsenal Contemporary, InterAccess Gallery, Queen Specific, Gallery TPW, Bunker 2, Forest City Gallery, and Xpace Cultural Center.