November 13th, 2019     by Team Shameless     Comments

Illustration: Saul Freedman-Lawson

Join us at the Talking Back Feminist Media Conference on November 16 and 17 at the Toronto Media Arts Centre! Tickets on sale now!

For the complete conference schedule, please see the post here.

For detailed descriptions of each track and session, please see:

Track One

Track Two

Track Three

Track Four

For details on our Arts Market vendors, please see the post here.


The Choice VR - an immersive interactive documentary about women’s right to choose
Presented by: Joanne-Aśka Popińska
Saturday, November 16
Gathering Space

The Choice is an interactive experience that allows you to talk to real women who’ve had an abortion. It addresses stereotypes and stigma by inviting people to have a conversation on a personal level, and making them see the human aspect of each story.

It is an interactive experience, starting with the participant entering the body and mind of a fictional woman who finds herself in an unplanned pregnancy. She is looking for someone she could talk to. This is a way to introduce interviews with real women who share their abortion stories, and they do it for the first time. Each story is artfully illustrated with spatial animations.

The whole experience is framed from the user’s perspective and it is the user who shapes the narration by choosing who to talk to and how the conversation will unfold.

The interviews are recorded with a pioneering technology, developed internally: we combined stereoscopic and volumetric processes, giving users an impression of talking to a real person. I feel this is an essential moment for expanding empathy and engaging people in a conversation around choices. There are a lot of stereotypes surrounding abortion. I believe a powerful way to address these stereotypes is for people to engage in challenging conversations, to meet in person with the women who’ve made this decision.

Candid discussion of abortion.

Neutrois - a playable experiential future scenario
Presented by: Dikla Revah
Saturday, November 16
Gathering Space

Neutrois, a personal feminist digital game — a nonlinear interactive novel that makes use of strategic foresight as a critical approach to strive for the desired change in social norms to help envision the alternative future — life in a postgender world.

The game narrative takes place in 2069, in a world where humans have been upgraded to an advanced form of life — Neutrois Entities (NE). The narrative takes place in an idealistic future world in which NE has no biological sex or gender identity, the characters are defined in relation to themselves with no notion of relativity (agency), and live an eternal life.

The game involves a critical discussion of social norms related to sex and gender. It uses science fiction to speculate on subjects such as gender, sexuality, and reproduction, and aims to stimulate discussion of a possible future in which gender and biological characteristics and definitions are a matter of choice.

Neutrois was created as part of my master’s thesis research at the Digital Futures program at OCAD University. I consider my work to be instructive, aiming to inspire and encourage the game players to consider a shift in social values, and resting on the belief that the future is not given, but created by our daily actions.

Art Exhibition (The Public, 58 Lansdowne)

Langar Haul by Priya “Pree” Rehal and
한/han, 2019 by Heidi Cho

Langar Haul by Priya “Pree” Rehal

When your parents are below the poverty line working minimum wage to support you, you don’t get the opportunity to experience a parent that isn’t stressed about how they’re going to pay rent. They’re always thinking about how they will (or won’t) make ends meet.

“Langar Haul” is representative of the little things that are tied to my experiences of class trauma, community, markers of happiness or success, and conspicuous consumption. One of the most important things my parents gave me can’t be bought in a store, but can be experienced there – language and culture. As a child of immigrant settlers who also happens to be disabled, trans and informed by intersectional feminism, this project is the product of thinking about how we assign value to aspects of our identity and culture.

The birds-eye-view installation of these pieces is to mimic food blogger/Instagram photography aesthetics of food spreads waiting to be consumed. “Langar Haul” is not only the physical place, but a reference to my parents’ “long haul” from Punjab, the fragrant memory of the Langar Halls (Temple community kitchens) that taught me Punjabi, and the promise of curry-chol. The watercolour paintings I did in 2019, framed in found objects (metal dishes from my mom’s kitchen) from my parents’ homeland is a way of literally framing the present in my past, for an intentionality of my future as a third culture kid. This work is reflective of a personal journey forward, and looking back at my parents’ “long haul” as immigrants.

This project is part of a process of coming in to myself, rather than “coming out” in colonially defined ways. It’s about navigating my past as a devout Sikh, resenting that part of my identity, and now reconciling with these feelings as I knit a healthy version of myself with each piece of myself I’ve healed. And the most comforting thing I need when I need to heal is food and community.

Pree was raised in Tiohtiá:ke/Montreal and went to school in Tkaronto/Toronto. They are a child of immigrant settlers from Punjab. They graduated from a joint Master’s program at York and Ryerson Universities in 2016 and got involved in community arts shortly after.

As an artist educator, Pree’s work centres the experiences of racialized gender diverse and queer individuals, and they strive to curate spaces only for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour). Their creative research interests include cosplaying, storytelling, crafting, social justice issues and how racialized trans and queer folx navigate daily life.

한/han, 2019 by Heidi Cho

한 or han is a word in the Korean dictionary which is said to have no English language equivalent. While there is no direct translation, han speaks to a contradictory emotional experience ranging from yearning, grief, resentment, anger, sorrow and guilt. While the experience of han is painfully experienced, it is often described as being “passively experienced” or “internalized” in the body. Korean historians have located the emergence and concept of han with the beginning of the Japanese colonial occupation of Korea. Han is understood as the way Koreans were able to process their experience of colonial violence through silent processing of grief and trauma.

My piece, 한/han, explores the contradictory experience of familial yearning, grief, shame and resentment through my navigations as a queer Korean working-class daughter in the diaspora. With little channels for open communication of grief and yearning for the family, complicated feelings of loss are relegated to our bodies. My piece hopes to exemplify the dull embodied experiences of rejection, loneliness and 한/han, that is deeply connected to queerness, family social codes and belonging. Rather than solely being guided by anger and individualism, a sense of familial protectiveness for the historical context that led our family here here takes precedence.

Heidi Cho is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Toronto. Using a range of mediums such as ceramics, illustration and storytelling, Cho explores narratives around intergenerational trauma, mental health, queerness and diasporic Korean identity. Her illustration work has appeared in C Magazine, GUTS Magazine, Shameless Magazine and Cleo Magazine. Her visual work has been showcased in The Gardiner Museum, The Art Gallery of Ontario and Doris McCarthy Gallery UTSC. You can follow her work on instagram @ heidichomakesart

Tags: conference, media

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