Data Thieves: What Our Archives Tell us
presented by Massimadi and Nigra Iuventa
The exhibition Data Thieves: What Our Archives Tell Us, takes a look at time and History. The characters depicted in the works of artists Yannis Davy Guibinga and Syrus Marcus Ware establish strong connections between identity, gender fluidity and futurism. These characters, at times in tangible spaces and at other times in uncertain places, give us some clues as to what our future holds. Hoping to give us the information we need to move forward in the present, they cross eras and send us archives of our past. They are hybrid beings, data thieves, for whom time is no longer an enemy but rather a learning tool.
Data thieves, figures created by the Ghanaian artist and writer John Akomfrah, can’t be defined. Like timeless beings, they have neither genre nor precise era. They materialize in many forms, that of a child or an adult showing us
how to protect ourselves
how to take care of us
how to celebrate
how to unite
how to support yourself
how to survive our grief
and commemorate us.
Ancestors, Can You Read Us? (Dispatches from the Future)
Toronto-based artist Syrus Marcus Ware imagines a world where racialized people have survived the “Black death spectacle” writ large on the nightly news; survived the catastrophic impact of the Anthropocene; and survived the crushing effects of white supremacy. Commissioned by the Toronto Biennial of Art 2019, the artist draws on the shared language of speculative fiction and political activism to transform the Salah J. Bachir New Media Wall at Ryerson Image Centre into a portal through which the next generation of racialized activists communicate with us, their ancestors, and offer us insights into the future.
Originally featured as a two-part and multi-site installation at 259 Lake Shore Blvd E (The Toronto Biennial of Art main site) and Ryerson Image Centre’s New Media Wall, Antarctica imagines a world where racialized people have survived the “black death spectacle” writ large on the nightly news; survived the catastrophic impact of the Anthropocene; and survived the crushing effects of white supremacy. Drawing on the shared language of speculative fiction and political activism, Ware creates a portal that takes us to eleven characters in the summer of 2030, each with birthright citizenship to the only habitable place on earth: Antarctica. Their task? To begin terraforming for the new colony.