“Nikes are first and foremost Nikes and only later a shoe, with the symbol on the shoe becoming the material substance from which it is actually made”
–Joshua Simon, Neomaterialism
Ten minutes into Jamie Uys’s 1980 cult classic The Gods Must Be Crazy, we witness the careless pilot consuming and discreetly disposing a bottle of Coca-Cola out of his window while flying over the Kalahari Desert. While ambling the blonde safari, Xi, the protagonist bushman, encounters the bottle on the ground. Baffled and curious with its alien-like qualities, Xi immediately brings it back to his village thinking that it was a present from the Gods. The simplistic Kalahari Bushmen, who are only familiar with wood and bone, slowly find countless ways to incorporate the foreign glass material into their everyday rituals – from curing snake skins to playing music, mark making, and pounding root vegetables and grains.
Fueled by enchantment, the tribe develops a symbiotic relationship with the bottle, as if magically shifting its intrinsic ontological and practical properties. Uys’s narrative seems to happily undo the curse of capitalist refuse, reinvisioning and decolonizing the so-called gift from the Gods. However, the use value of the bottle gradually increases within the tribe and, since there is only one bottle in existence for them, tribal members start to claim ownership over it. The once harmonious Kalahari Bushmen break into chaos, creating envy and start to violently fight over its possession. The pandemonium results in a gathering of the tribal elders, which leads to an agreement to send Xi on a pilgrimage to bring the cursed gift back to the absent-minded Gods in order to restore peace in their community.
Patrick Cruz (b.1987) is a Filipino-Canadian artist primarily working in painting, installation, assemblage and performance. His profusive work oscillates between the personal and the political. Rooted in folk sensibilities, Cruz addresses the symptomatic effects and the paradoxical nature of modernity while attempting to find intersections between pre-historic desires and futuristic aspirations.
Cruz studied in the University of the Philippines and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Emily Carr University of Art + Design. He is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Guelph and a finalist of the 17th RBC Canadian Painting competition. His recent solo exhibitions and projects include Kitchen Codex: a Community Portrait (2015), Musagetes, People of Good Will & POSTCOMMODITY (ON, Canada); Brown Ninja: Ways of Moving (2015), Project 20 (QC, Philippines); Electronic Birthstone (2014), Dynamo Arts Association (BC, Canada). Upcoming projects include group exhibition Auto Feeling at Katzman Contemporary (TO, Canada) and the organization of the 2nd Kamias Triennale (QC, Philippines) in 2017.
The opening will be supplemented with an artist talk which will start at 5PM.