Art is just self expression
until there is an audience
to deem it art

No Art Without
The Spectator

custom retina capture + fabrication, faduicial programming, infrared sensory
CONTACT Photography Festival

The Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival is the largest annual photography event in the world, and a premiere cultural experience in Canada, with over 200 exhibitions and happenings from May 1-31 in Toronto.

Founded in 1997, CONTACT is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to celebrating and fostering photography and related media with an annual Festival in May and year-round programming in the CONTACT Gallery.

The Festival’s curated programming, Primary Exhibitions and Public Installations explores diverse subjects, motivated by artistic innovation and critical discourse locally, nationally and internationally. Collaborating with major museums and galleries, CONTACT is renown for outstanding photographic imagery that reflects issues relevant to our times and the history of the medium. In high profile locations, site-specific installations of images transform everyday activity in public space into unique encounters with works of art that resonate with their environment.


Derooted is in a  constant state of experimental innovation, building our capacity to push conceptual boundaries. Our ongoing engagement with the artist community reflects our fascination with the new – the creative.

Taking part at various artistic exhibitions gives us the opportunity to interact with audiences, engage their senses and define our relationship with various art forms.

We decided to build an installation for the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival to explore ways we can give the audience an opportunity to interact with art and participate in the storytelling. This installation turns the passive viewing experience into an immersive multi-sensory engagement. The spectator becomes the art.


In Understanding Media, Marshall McLuhan defined photography as a ‘hot’ medium, characterized by single sense stimulation with a high degree of data. According to McLuhan, absorption of the ‘hot’ message requires minimal involvement on the part of the viewer. ‘Cold’ mediums, by contrast, are low in data because little visual information is provided, thus putting the user in a more active role of filling in the gaps.

The exhibition reacts against McLuhan’s principles by demanding viewer involvement in the process; suggesting that the consumption of still images can be ‘cold’. The show presents five unique artworks, collaborations by 11 artists, that enable highly participatory experiences and interactions between photography, technology and the viewer. See Talks for information about the panel discussion.

in collaboration with Javier Lovera+motion
curated by Hermann & Audrey
- optometry : Case Study
- Optometry Exhibit Opening Party
experiment 001
experiment 002

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