Project

Seeking a stand-up fellow...

A 'Maker Space' project


Toronto mixed-media artist/ graphic designer Xenia Vakova documents results of her Craigslist w4m posting experiment through text-based video, sound, and illustration, to discuss heteronormative gender roles on the internet. The tongue-in-cheek installation also includes an interactive component which encourages viewers to enter into the male identity narrative. Join us on August 14th to launch this week long installation project as part of our maker space program.

Artist Statement
Seeking A Stand-Up Fellow: Installation by Xenia Vakova!
´┐╝My multi-media installation “Seeking A Stand-Up Fellow” consists of three parts: audible, visual, and tactile. I am using these three learning styles to describe the collection of responses I have received to my craigslist personals ad. !
This experiment involved describing myself with the goal of meeting a local man for casual sex. The overwhelming 200 e-mail responses have been organized by naturally-emerging segments, such as “Greetings” and “Self Descriptors”, and compiled into one piece of text totalling over 4,000 words. I did not otherwise edit the information, leaving spelling and grammar as is.!
Having viewed the original text, the audience is invited to create their own responses using the provided magnetic phrases (taken from the entirety of the original text) and the photocopier. They are instructed to make one copy of their creation as a personal keepsake and to post another on the provided wall space with some tape. At the end of the exhibition, these audience creations will be compiled into a zine publication which can be made available for purchase at Charles Street Video.
My intent is to document this experience in order to question gender norms around sex and illustrate what is lost and gained through electronic communication. I believe the quantity of the responses shows how a posting of a sexual nature, by a heterosexual woman in my age group, is quite unusual and unexpected. !
My hope is that my audience shares my personal curiosity in the content of this text. The repetition of particular words and phrases strikes me as a fair assessment of cultural norms and expectations, as well as male-bodied self-representation.!
! By engaging personally with the text through the magnetic “fridge-poetry” aspect of the show, the audience is pushed further to explore the questions exhibited through the prints and the voice narrative. The format achieves this exploration without intimidation or self-importance, and rather through the acts of humour and play.!

Bio
Xenia Vakova (1987, Moscow, Russia) is a multidisciplinary artist, working in visual media as well as music and creative non-fiction. Influenced by the work of Sophie Calle and Darren O'Donnell, text based projects, interactive works, and installations are close to her heart. !
! Leaving Russia at a young age to begin a new life in Toronto without her extended family has left Vakova with an interest in memory and archives. Often questioning the role of personal narrative in larger stories, she combines a rich sense of family and cultural mythology with an urban sensibility. Her work exists in the intersections of many media, examining what it means to be an artist and woman in a modern world. !
! Vakova studied at NSCAD University, OCADU, and Humber college, receiving a BFA in printmaking from OCADU in 2013.!
*Each digital print was produced on archival recycled paper in editions of ten and is valued at $60. Please inquire with CSV regarding sales.



 2015




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