Montreal, Quebec, Canada
September 22, 2021 – January 9, 2022
… and room in the bag of stars is a group exhibition that presents works produced in the context of the inaugural PHI MONTRÉAL residency, launched by PHI and carried out in the summer of 2021. The five laureates of this edition of the residency, kimura byol-nathalie lemoine, Salima Punjani, Dominique Sirois, Santiago Tamayo Soler and Karen Trask, proposed projects in response to a prompt inspired by the work of science-fiction author Ursula K. Le Guin: an invitation, after a moment of prolonged social isolation, to imagine spaces, temporalities, conditions, or systems where we can all get together, again.
The resulting exhibition engages with these themes while encompassing a wide range of formal and conceptual approaches, offering insight into the ways in which artists are grappling with the urgency of this question, and how it can resonate both on individual and collective levels. The exhibition’s title stems from The Carrier-Bag Theory of Fiction, a short essay written by Le Guin in 1986. Throughout the text, the author develops an alternative theory of the power of fiction: rather than opportunities to glorify virile and violent heroism, Le Guin sees stories as chances to reinvent our collective futures and make space for our everyday gestures and feelings. Le Guin’s thinking was profoundly inspired by the research of anthropologist Elizabeth Fisher, who posited that the most essential tool for the survival of prehistoric humanity was not the weapon, as previously believed, but the bag used to carry seeds and fruits. Following this, Le Guin reimagines bags as works of art: supple, soft and adaptable recipients, ripe for infinite future harvests.
kimura byol-nathalie lemoine (ze/zer) is a conceptual multimedia feminist artist and curator who questions binaries and perceptions of identities—diaspora, ethnicity, colorism, post-colonialism, immigration, gender—through calligraphy, painting, poetry, digital and video, and collaborative practice.
Salima Punjani (she/her) is a multisensory artist grounded in relational aesthetics. She is particularly interested in how multiple senses can be used to expand the possibilities for people to feel welcome in art spaces as well as to create artful experiences of empathy, intimacy, and connection.
Dominique Sirois’ (she/her) artistic practice takes the form of multidisciplinary installations, playing with materializations of exhibition devices through ceramics and printed images. Sirois deploys narrative devices throughout her installations using economic, archaeological, mythological, technological, and mineralogical references.
Santiago Tamayo Soler (he/him) is an interdisciplinary artist working mainly in video and performance. Interested in fiction/nonfiction, narrative devices, and live action, Tamayo Soler overlays digital footage and modified video games to create pixelated universes home to Latin American, immigrant, queer stories of a radical futuristic fantasy.
Karen Trask (she/her) is known for her explorations of language and innovative use of paper, whose works include installations, artist-books, videos, and performances. Trask’s multimedia work has been exhibited in Quebec, Canada, Europe, Mexico, and Japan.