Media Releases

Melanie Gilligan: Crisis in the Credit System & Popular Unrest

February 24, 2012

March 9 —  April 8, 2012

Recep­tion: Thurs­day 8 March, 7:00 — 9:00 pm

Artist Talk: Thurs­day March 8, 5:30 — 6:30 pm

Justi­na M. Bar­nicke Gallery, Hart House

The Justi­na M. Bar­nicke Gallery is pleased to present the Toron­to pre­miere of two major video works by artist-in-res­i­dence, Melanie Gilli­gan, titled Cri­sis in the Cred­it Sys­tem (2008) and Pop­u­lar Unrest (2010). In con­junc­tion with the exhi­bi­tion, Gilli­gan will be work­ing on a new work, cur­rent­ly titled The Com­mon Sense.

Melanie Gilli­gan’s videos lean on the tra­di­tion of tele­vi­sion rather than cin­e­ma. Tak­ing the form of episod­ic nar­ra­tives, Gilli­gan weaves togeth­er research in bio­science, tech­nol­o­gy, and eco­nom­ic the­o­ry with pop­u­lar cul­ture ciphers to devel­op sto­ries dis­tin­guished by uncan­ny pre­science. Her four-part dra­ma, Cri­sis in the Cred­it Sys­tem, com­mis­sioned and pro­duced by Artan­gel Inter­ac­tion (UK), in the sum­mer of 2008, rep­re­sents the first filmic for­ay into the loom­ing debt cri­sis in the fall of that year. Draw­ing on exten­sive research, includ­ing dis­cus­sions with bankers, econ­o­mists, jour­nal­ists, and activists, the work explores in a spec­u­la­tive and imag­i­nary man­ner the way in which the finan­cial sys­tem would deal with its break­down. The dra­ma unfolds as char­ac­ters devise respons­es to the cri­sis, tum­bling between prac­ti­cal and absurd solu­tions that func­tion as a pierc­ing analy­sis of the debt-fuelled hav­oc of the con­tem­po­rary finan­cial econ­o­my, and the des­per­ate attempts of finance to cap­i­tal­ize fur­ther on the col­lapse.

The exhi­bi­tion also fea­tures the video instal­la­tion of Gilli­gan’s recent mul­ti-episode dra­ma, Pop­u­lar Unrest, which takes as its point of depar­ture the cur­rent state of pol­i­tics and the pub­lic realm in the midst of cap­i­tal’s ongo­ing cri­sis. Pop­u­lar Unrest presents a dis­turb­ing sci­ence-fic­tion nar­ra­tive set in a future much like the present, whose sto­ry cen­ters on a rash of mys­te­ri­ous killings and a vast com­put­er sys­tem called “the Spir­it,” which over­sees all eco­nom­ic and social rela­tions. Reflect­ing on the bio-polit­i­cal nature of pow­er today, Gilli­gan’s work draws styl­is­ti­cal­ly from David Cro­nen­berg’s “body hor­ror,” and was influ­enced by the vis­cer­al turn tak­en in much con­tem­po­rary Amer­i­can tele­vi­sion dra­ma (CSI, Bones, Dex­ter).

For more infor­ma­tion:

Justi­na M. Bar­nicke Gallery

Gallery Hours

Mon­day — Wednes­day & Fri­day: 11:00 am — 5:00 pm
Thurs­day: 11:00 am — 7:00 pm
Sat­ur­day — Sun­day: 1:00 pm — 5:00 pm
Justi­na M. Bar­nicke Gallery
Hart House
7 Hart House Cir­cle
Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to
Toron­to, Ontario
M5S 3H3