Sorting Daemons: Art, Surveillance Regimes and Social Control

Agnes Etherington Art Centre, 2010
Art Gallery of Mississauga, 2011
Co-curated with Jan Allen

Information-gathering systems increasingly affect our lives, tracking our movement and consumer preferences. Such “sorting daemons” reinforce existing streams of influence and quietly create new ones. The artists in this exhibition take measure of our relationship to surveillance by addressing its social, political and aesthetic dimensions. Sorting Daemons features works in a range of media –including painting, photography, video, installation and responsive electronic art – by artists Brenda Goldstein, Antonia Hirsch, Dave Kemp, Tran T. Kim-Trang, Germaine Koh and Ian Verchere, Arnold Koroshegyi, Ruthann Lee, Michael Lewis, Jill Magid, Walid Ra’ad, Kathleen Ritter, David Rokeby, Tom Sherman, Cheryl Sourkes, and John Watt. Setting a context for current concerns, the video program draws on artists’ tapes produced over the past two decades. This exhibition extends off-site with presentation of Kathleen Ritter’s Hidden Camera at the Union Gallery in Queen’s University’s Stauffer Library.

The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated multi-authored publication with critical essays on artists and the culture of surveillance, social sorting and data-aesthetics by Jan Allen, Kirsty Robertson and Sarah E.K. Smith. The publication is available here.

Press coverage in the Queen’s Journal and on

Image credits: Sorting Daemons, installation views, Agnes Etherington Art Centre. Photos by Paul Litherland.

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