iSchool Student Puts on Two Summer Exhibitions

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Michelle Gay's summer is off to a great start.

Artist and current student in the KMD stream at the iSchool, Michelle has an exhibition at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo. "spampoet" will be on display on the PI digital screens until September 2013.

Experiments with a Reader is both a suite of works and a playful proposition. spampoet, part of this series of artworks, plays with the role of the writer and artist and toys with the mutability of language. Texts are destabilized, flowing in and out of semantic meaning before our eyes with subtle 'machinic' rhythm.

The Exhibition takes as a starting point “Trojan Horse poems”, the little texts that allowed early-circa spam to sneak through our email filters and that often appeared at the bottom of unwanted electronic messages.

One of Gay's idiosyncratic personal archives that folds back into artwork, this collection comprises hundreds of these harvested texts. Physicist, CGay developed the artware. The poemitron is a kind of 'natural language' engine operating and acting as ghost writer, collaborator and framework - where language acts upon language, activating and destabilizing texts. "I imagine that the original spams are machine written by a sophisticated algorithm. spampoet takes their oddly poetic turns of phrase to another place - potentially poetic, political, absurd or poignant. I think of spampoet as two machines attempting to write poetry to one another. In these re-writings or collaborative re-workings – I find both pleasure and pathos in the bits of occasional grace that seep through these awkward machine writings," Michelle says. 

Her work is also represented in the exhibition “Postscript: Writing After Conceptual Art” at the Power Plant Gallery in Toronto. The exhibition features paintings, sculpture, installation, video and works on paper from the 1960s to the present by more than 50 artists and writers exploring the artistic possibilities of language. 


Michelle Gay received a B.A. in Art and Art History from the University of Toronto and received her M.F.A. from NSCADU (Halifax, Nova Scotia). She is currently completing a Master of Information degree at the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto. Her work often experiments with the ubiquitous desktop PC, as a site of intimate virtual or digital experiences – teasing out resonant connections between machines and bodies and between digital and actual spaces. She often collaborates with her sibling Colin Gay on artware projects. Interested in the possibilities of touch and poetics within new media platforms, they develop artware designed to play with technologies in non-useful ways. Their work is represented in Toronto by the Birch | Libralato Gallery.