09 Sep–18 Sep 2022

The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery

This exhibition marks the Canadian premiere of Meriem Bennani’s Life on the CAPS and the viral sensation 2 Lizards, made in collaboration with Orian Barki and presented as part of TIFF’s Wavelengths program.

The works question contemporary society and its fractured systems, individual identity, and the ubiquitous dominance of digital technologies. Using live-action footage, computer-generated animation, and special effects, the videos mix visual references drawn from reality television, advertising, music videos, phone recordings, documentary, and science fiction.

Set in a supernatural, dystopian future, the trilogy Life on the CAPS (short for “capsule”) features a fictional island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. In the world of the CAPS, teleportation has replaced air travel, and displaced populations use this mode of transportation to cross oceans and borders. Enclosed by a magnetic shield, the CAPS houses migrants who have been caught teleporting illegally. Settled into bustling enclaves, citizens of the CAPS have developed their own hybrid culture and modes of defiance in opposition to the US troops that patrol the island.

2 Lizards reflects the unfolding realities of the COVID-19 pandemic in real time. Each roughly three-minute episode illustrates the mundanities of quarantine life: rooftop hangouts, Zoom birthdays, the 7 PM clap for essential workers, the thrill of breaking social-distancing rules with a new lover. The process of Bennani and her collaborator Barki was mostly inspired by their daily events and conversations with friends, whose viewpoints are included in the series through a cast of animated characters.

This exhibition was presented as a partnership between The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, The Vega Foundation, and the Toronto International Film Festival’s Wavelengths series, and was curated by TIFF Senior Film Curator Andréa Picard.