February 4 – April 23

Finnbogi Pétursson, Iceland  Infra/Supra, 2014 – 2023

Verena Friedrich, Germany  The Long Now, 2015

Labofactory, France  Sky, 2022-2023


Opening Reception + Artist Talks
Saturday, February 4
Artist Talks  2pm-3pm
Opening Reception  3pm-4:30pm


…all of life together consists of a membrane around earth so thin that it cannot be seen edgewise from a satellite yet so prodigiously diverse that only a tiny fraction of species have been discovered and named.                                                                                                                                                E.O. Wilson

Before biosphere, before life, there were only the non-living, abiotic factors and a world of water. The three installations in aBIOTIC each synthesize the mysterious and ethereal behaviours of water.  Technology and chemistry are used to reveal or extend fundamental patterns and laws.

In this exhibition phases of water are an expressive tool: liquid, gas, solid; water, steam, bubbles, ice. Water is mirrored, suspended, projected and directed. Water is the surface, the object and the medium, over, through and around which play precise exchanges of light, movement and sound. Sound is spun into this watery fabric and becomes a defining component of each installation.

The first work you encounter is The Long Now (2015), by Cologne-based Verena Friedrich.  Within this technology-based still-life, a single, perfect bubble floats, persisting long after all other bubbles would have collapsed.  The artificial atmosphere holds it aloft for an extended but uncertain period of time. Friedrich’s innovative use of technology & science greatly prolongs the normal life of each fragile sphere. But it eventually succumbs. The technology that produces the bubble and evacuates the atmosphere is triggered again and again; the brief, violent sound of working technology…followed by… the wonder. The work builds on a long art tradition of depicting soap bubbles in still life & portraiture. Known as Vanitas, the bubble serves to remind us that life is transient and our demise is certain.

Spanning an isolated, gallery space is Sky (2022-23), by Paris-based Labofactory. The collective is comprised of Jean Marc Chomaz, Laurent Karst, Filippo Fabbri (composition) and Greg Louis, all currently residing in Paris. This  kinetic, sculptural landscape with sound relies on the complex manipulation of steam or mist to produce ever-changing patterns and behaviours evoking a changing timeline of sky or ocean currents. A digital soundscape unique to New Media Gallery will be composed by Fillipo Fabbri in the week leading up to the exhibition in response to this moment in time and the surrounding environment.

A large gallery contains Infra/Supra (2016/2022) by Icelandic artist, Finnbogi Pétursson. A shallow, ground-level pool is filled with water and black ink and subjected to sound vibration and light. This hypnotic soundscape incorporates a series of speakers delivering the equivalent of three hertz of composed, sound vibration over and into the planar water surface. The pulsating waves generate a series of intentional ever-expanding concentric circles and patterns on the water surface. Lighting serves to project these patterns onto the wall as moving tidal lines and shadows, or ‘drawings’.

Three remarkable physical art installations that  convey primordial beginnings, environmental systems and conditions, a world or life held in fragile balance and, perhaps, the potential for technology to affect positive change.

For more information visit: https://www.newmediagallery.ca


Credits + Thanks

Hafthor Yngvason, Director/Curator,  Western Gallery, Western Washington University

LABOFACTORY –  Jean Marc Chomaz, Laurent Karst, Filippo Fabbri, Greg Louis

Verena Friedrich,  THE LONG NOW was realised within the framework of EMARE.  Move On at OBORO’s New Media Lab, Montréal, and a residency at Rustines|Lab, Perte de Signal, Montréal. With the support of the Culture 2013 Programme of the European Commission, the Goethe Institut, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec and FACT.