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Window Gallery: Thirty cents, fifty cents…

Miles Rufelds
March 12 – April 17, 2021

THIRTY CENTS, FIFTY CENTS… is a three-channel video essay made specifically for Neutral Ground’s window space. The piece takes its name from an early voice recording Alexander Graham Bell made in 1885, prototyping a new business machine for his telecommunications empire, where the Canadian inventor aimlessly lists sums of money. That same year, the Canadian Pacific Railway was officially completed, joining an expanding network of telegraph lines to seamlessly connect Canada’s interior with coastal export markets and far-flung imperial centres.

Inspired by Regina’s imbricated history with the CPR, and the railroad’s singular role in the violent, extractive story of Canadian colonial “Western Expansion,” this video installation reconsiders Canada’s involvement in the 2nd Industrial Revolution, telling a sprawling, speculative history of imperial capitalism manifest through transportation and telecommunications systems. Three rubber plants, communicating in Morse code, act as the piece’s symbolic “narrators.” In piecemeal chapters alternating between the three screens, these plants weave a mixture blurry of fact and fiction, musing on the recent history of empire and capitalism as an obliterating push towards information and abstraction.

MILES RUFELDS is an artist, writer, and filmmaker based in Toronto. He holds a Master of Visual Studies in studio art from the University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Ottawa. With strong emphasis on investigative research, conceptualism, and experimental forms of storytelling, Rufelds’ projects explore the braided histories of political economy, technology, and aesthetics. Rufelds has shown his work in exhibitions and screenings nationally and internationally, including the Art Museum at the University of Toronto, the Blackwood Gallery, PAVED Arts, and the SIM Gallery in Iceland. Rufelds is also a founding member of Toronto gallery the plumb.

Photographer: Daniel Paquet —