Gallery 101 hosts U of O alumna’s latest project, feminist edit-a-thon

When it came time to give her newest project a title, Laura Taler couldn’t help but recall a quote from Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu: “The soft and the pliable will defeat the hard and the strong.”

This emphasis on delicate, flexible movement is the driving force behind Taler’s latest video installations at Gallery 101, which are on display until April 1.

“The body carries the past without being oppressed by it,” she said at the exhibit’s grand opening on Saturday, March 4. “You have all these things that you’ve experienced and that you have to move forward whilst carrying these things with you.”

This philosophy comes to pass in The Boxer installation, which was made with choreographer Bill Coleman, and showcases the filmmaker getting ready for a boxing match by focusing on the subtle movements of lacing up the gloves and doing warm up exercises.

In Carry Tiger to the Mountain and Wave Hands Like Clouds, the larger of the two installations, Taler herself can be seen practising Tai Chi on a beach in northern Germany, where she lived for several years. This film is meant to reinforce the belief that Tai Chi, though slow and repetitive, can be an opening for tremendous change and transformation.

Taler, who has an master of fine arts from the University of Ottawa, has been practising choreography and filmmaking for the past 20 years years.

“I would say my foundational medium is dance and movement,” explained Taler. “The body and ideas about how you move through the world and how the body carries experience have always been a big part of my work.”

Her latest project, shot on Super 8 and 16mm film, also inspired various collages that look at movement and stillness in a better way than the film.

“I just like the quality of film, I always have,” said Taler. “It is a great way to capture movement. I think also my work tends to reach a little bit towards the past, and I think film gives a kind of media equivalent to those themes.”

Taler’s work in the field of feminism extends beyond her art. On March 11, Gallery 101 will be hosting their first Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon as a part of International Women’s Day celebrations and in conjunction with Taler’s exhibit.

The goal of the event is to raise awareness about the gender gap on Wikipedia for entries detailing art. The event will feature guest speakers Jean- Philippe Béland, Wikimedia Canada Representative, and Rosa-Iris Rovira, expert Wikipedia editor.

Running from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the event is free to attend and will have training for those interested in editing Wikipedia articles pertaining to art and feminism.

“People get together in groups, bring their computers and laptops, and create Wikipedia entries for women. Most Wikipedia entries have been written by men and are about men and so we are trying to populate Wikipedia with more women,” Taler explained.

To RSVP to the event, you can email office@g101.ca.

If you would like to talk to Taler in person you can join her at Gallery 101 on Saturday March 11 for the Edit-a-thon, or on April 1 for an artist round table.

To find out more about Taler’s work you can visit her official website here.