Mara Eagle explores the multilayered intertwining of humans, animals, plants, and technology. Drawing from the Internet’s vast reservoir of audio-visual content and from historical sources such as the visual history of the natural sciences, medical treatises, and knowledge presentation devices, she creates baroque and theatrical assemblages—they are monstrous in the sense of being both extraordinary and abnormal. The resulting 3D animation installations plunge visitors into a dizzying, almost narcotic, experience of self-dispossession.
For PRETTY TALK, Eagle worked with the incredible vocalizations of imitating birds who can magnificently mimic their environment. When these tropical birds’ existence and expression are so deeply entwined with ours, one wonders what human stories might be told by and with them. Starting from a sound collage composed entirely of songs made by parrots living in captivity, Eagle conceived of disquieting and utterly absurd scenes from human life. The animal simulation of the human voice is echoed by the computer simulation of characters who act as the ventriloquist’s puppets in this avian—and human—black comedy.
Mara Eagle (b. 1988, Boston, MA, USA) is an American video and installation artist based in Montreal. Pulling intuitively from the world of pop-culture, the Internet and technology industries, her work explores the legacy of Western philosophy and science from a feminist perspective. Most recently her major projects have been animation-based and focus on how practices of observation, description, and representation in Western art and science have formulated a concept of nature amenable to industrialization, colonialism and spectacle.
Mara Eagle holds a Bachelor of Arts from Marlboro College (Vermont) and a Master of Fine Arts from Concordia University (Montreal). She is Concordia University’s 2020 Bronfman fellow, as well as a fellow of the Berggruen Institute with which she participates in the Transformations of the Human working-group focused on biotechnology. Recently, her work has been exhibited at Projet Pangée, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, The Canadian Centre for Architecture, Eastern Bloc, Critical Distance, the University of Kentucky Art Museum, as well as Centre Clark, Studio XX, Leonard & Bina Ellen Gallery, and Saw Video Media Centre. Her research has been generously supported by the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, the Berggruen Institute, the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Fonds de recherche du Québec - Société et culture (FRQSC) and the Claudine and Stephen Bronfman Family Foundation.
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PRETTY TALK Tote
Costumized tote bags are available for sell at $25 as part of Mara Eagle's exhibition PRETTY TALK. All proceeds will go to Perroquet Secours, a charity whose primary mission is to reunite lost, found or stolen birds with their legitimate owner. However, their services are not limited to this mission and they transcend borders.
Mara Eagle, Conversations in Contemporary Art, November 2022
Designed by curator Ji-Yoon Han, Masquerades: Drawn to Metamorphosis aims to explore the dynamics of visibility and invisibility that shape representations of the self and the other from the metamorphic potentials of mimicry. The exhibitions, the publication, and the public programs will be organized around this theme. Like a parade, the exhibitions form a sequence of surprising scenarios: humans who converse through mimicking parrots; a cephalopod that sways to the music of Whitney Houston; people with a complex about singing who form a choir; a scorpion, a bat, and a snake who unite their voices in a satirical musical comedy; and more.
MOMENTA Biennale de l’image is a contemporary art dissemination and mediation platform that operates year-round with ongoing activities. The organization stands out for the position it takes and the questions it asks on the place of the image in today’s societies. Among MOMENTA’s wide range of activities, the biennial is a flagship event presented in partnership with exhibition partners from all over the world.
Based in Tiohtià:ke/Mooniyang/Montreal, MOMENTA has been organizing exhibitions, digital projects, public programs, creative workshops, and collaborations of all kinds for over 30 years.
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Exhibition presented by MOMENTA Biennale de l’image and produced in partnership with FOFA Gallery.
The exhibition is made possible thanks to the support of Concordia University and the Claudine and Stephen Bronfman Family Foundation.