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Soft Spoken Update

John Boyle-Singfield
December 3, 2016 – January 21, 2017

ARTIST TALK: Saturday, December 3, 2016 at 8:00 pm. Reception to follow.


Works in the exhibition, Soft Spoken Update, from John Boyle-Singfield, will include an online audio project called, Soft-Spoken Updates, a series of ASMR MP3s narrating essays related to philosophy, art and literature. ASMR or Autonomous sensory meridian response is a strange phenomenon happening on YouTube where thousands of people are making relaxation videos. This project uses this recording technique to narrate essays including a transformed John Cage 4’33” performance into a very banal relaxation-therapy sound.

The vase project is based on a existing work of art by Ai Weiwei. It is called Coca Cola Vase (1997). Back in the day, Ai Weiwei took antique Chinese vases and painted Coca Cola logos on them, transforming the objects into works of art. The results were quite shocking at the time, because it was not really a pop art object, and not completely an artifact either. The piece address complex issues including cultural appropriation, cultural labour, the transformative, pop art and American cultural authority that is to be read as a form of resistance and critique against the current ideologies in the art world.

About the work, Terms Of Service (TOS), from Dallas Medianale and the exhibition, Call and Response at the MAC 02 Feb 2015, Colette Copeland says, “John Boyle-Singfield’s Google’s Terms of Service pays homage to John Baldessari’s seminal early video where Baldessari sings lines from Sol Lewitt’s writings in an off-key monotone. (Even though I have watched it numerous times, it still cracks me up.) Artist Boyle-Singfield sings in the same deadpan monotone, and his spot-on reference combined with the suggestion that Google is the new-world prophet is brilliant.” See the Baldessari work here;


John Boyle-Singfield lives in Montreal. He was born in Canada and studied at the School of Fine Arts in Lyon. His work echoes a society in which the effects of technology and late capitalism have been absorbed into our bodies and altered our vision of the world. He is also interested in banal forms and everyday objects, especially when they become art by renouncing their likeness to the living. From them, he elaborates complex installations questioning structures of value, language and identity within a society heavily affected by class struggle.

John Boyle-Singfield vit à Montréal. Il est né au Canada et a étudié à l’école nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Lyon. Son travail exprime principalement une société dans laquelle les effets de la technologie et du capitalisme tardif ont été absorbés dans nos corps et ont altéré notre vision du monde. Il s’intéresse aussi aux formes banales et aux objets de tous les jours, surtout lorsqu’ils deviennent de l’art en renonçant à leurs ressemblances avec le vivant. À partir de celles-ci, il élabore des installations complexes questionnant les structures de valeur, de langage et d’identité à l’intérieur d’un monde lourdement affecté par la lutte des classes.