Underground in the Aether was a one-day symposium responding to the themes of collectivity, selfhood, and communication circuits in the exhibition Hank Bull: Connexion, co-curated by Joni Low (Vancouver) and Pan Wendt (Confederation Centre Art Gallery). The symposium was held on Saturday, April 8, 2017 at VIVO Media Art Centre, Vancouver, Canada, as the closing event for Spring Fever: Vancouver Independent Archives 2017.
Having assembled speakers from across Canada, the United States and Europe, Underground in the Aether launched itself into the entanglements of technology, fantasy and sociality as engaged by an informal and international community of artists from the 1960s to present day.
Seizing upon the terminology behind our present network economy, keynote speaker Hannah B. Higgins, Professor of Art History, University of Illinois (Chicago), presented “Aether/Or: The Place of Things and Beings in the Eternal Network,” which proposed a rehabilitation of these terms following their use by artists in the 1960s. Presentations by Vincent Bonin (Montreal), Allison Collins (Vancouver), Luis Jacob (Toronto), Jee-Hae Kim (University of Cologne) and Felicity Tayler (University of Toronto), investigated the stakes and sources behind artists’ turn to the imaginary during times of crisis, how forms, identities and communities are transmuted as they circulate through networks, and how artists’ subcultures convened within mainstream and national communications circuits.
With the underground transposed into the aether all is up in the air: upturned and diffuse, yet also aloft, unfixed and in movement. Together these presentations look to artists’ practices as a means to consider possible ways of living in and through mediation today.
Underground in the Aether was organized by current Doryphore member Joni Low and past Doryphore member, Robin Simpson.