<Immune Nations>, an evidence-based exhibition about the constructive role that art can play in public discourse around life-saving vaccines, will open at the McMaster Museum of Art this fall!
As the M(M)A prepares for a re-opening, details will be released shortly about visiting the exhibition in person.
Fall 2021 – December 10, 2021
Curated by Natalie Loveless, Associate Professor, Contemporary Art History and Theory, University of Alberta
The COVID-19 pandemic has raised urgent questions related to effective use of vaccines and has led to polarized global debates on vaccine equity.
<Immune Nations> is the first multi-year research-based exhibition to specifically address the issue of vaccination from a collaborative, interdisciplinary perspective, attentive to the arts and its many roles for advocacy and political intervention. The outcome of a multi-year project that was developed prior to the pandemic (2014-2017), the exhibition explores complex issues related to the use and distribution of vaccines in the world today and the capacity of artistic research to solicit complex forms of affective engagement when dealing with difficult and divisive social and political topics such as vaccination.
For the McMaster Museum of Art, the exhibition presents original work alongside new work produced in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Featuring collaborative art and research projects by Jesper Alvær, Sean Caulfield, Timothy Caulfield, Patrick Fafard, Caitlin Fisher, Steven J. Hoffman, Johan Holst, Annemarie Hou, Alison Humphrey, Rachelle Viader Knowles, Kaisu Koski, Vicki S. Kwon, Patrick Mahon, Lathika Sritharan, and Mkrtich Tonoyan.
For more information, visit the Immune Nations website.
Save the date! Online panel discussions will take place throughout the run of the exhibition. More details including how to register will be shared shortly.
Ensuring Equitable Access: Life-Saving Vaccines during COVID-19 and Beyond
Thursday, October 14, 2021, 12-1:30 pm ET
Research-Creation and Global Crisis: Interdisciplinarity, Creativity, and Collaboration
Thursday, November 25, 2021, 12-1:30 pm ET
Vaccine Confidence, Fear, and Misinformation in an Age of COVID
Thursday, December 9, 2021, 12-1:30 pm ET
<Immune Nations> was funded with support from the Research Council of Norway and the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada.
We acknowledge the support of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).
Nous remercions le Conseil de recherches en sciences naturelles et en génie du Canada (CRSNG) de son soutien.
About the contributors
Jesper Alvaer is a Norwegian artist based in Oslo and Prague. From 2013 to 2017 he was a research fellow at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts with the project Work, work: Staging dislocation in artistic and non-artistic labour. He holds a MFA in from the Academy of Fine Art in Prague (2004) and CAGS from the Arts, Health and Society Division of the European Graduate School, EGS (2014). In addition to showing his art at a number of international exhibitions, Alvaer has also participated in numerous study, residence, and research programmes both in Norway and abroad. Visit website.
Sean Caulfield was named a Canada Research Chair in Fine Arts (Tier 2) from 2000 – 2010, and is a Centennial Professor in the Department of Art and Design at the University of Alberta. He has exhibited his prints, drawings and artist’s books extensively throughout Canada, the United States, Europe, and Japan. Caulfield has received numerous grants and awards and his work is in various public and private collections nationally and internationally. In 2017 Caulfield was elected to the Arts Division of the Academy of the Arts and Humanities of the Royal Society of Canada. Visit website.
Timothy Caulfield is a Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy, a Professor in the Faculty of Law and the School of Public Health, and Research Director of the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta. He has won numerous academic and writing awards and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. He is the author ofThe Cure for Everything: Untangling the Twisted Messages about Health, Fitness and Happiness, Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?: When Celebrity Culture and Science Clash and Relax, Dammit!: A User’s Guide to the Age of Anxiety. Visit website.
Caitlin Fisher directs the Augmented Reality Lab at York University and York’s Immersive Storytelling Lab at Cinespace Studios. A co-founder the Future Cinema Lab and a 2013 Fulbright Research Chair, Fisher is the recipient of many international awards for digital storytelling. She serves as Vice-President of the Electronic Literature Organization and on the Board of Directors of HASTAC – the Humanities, Arts, Science, Alliance and Collaboratory. She is currently engaged in a SSHRC-funded New Frontiers project investigating “Immersive digital environments and indigenous knowledges: co-creation in virtual reality environments to advance artmaking, digital poetics and reconciliation.” Visit website.
Steven Hoffman is the Dahdaleh Distinguished Chair in Global Governance & Legal Epidemiology and a Professor of Global Health, Law, and Political Science at York University, the Director of the Global Strategy Lab, the Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre on Global Governance of Antimicrobial Resistance, and the Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Population & Public Health at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. His research leverages various methodological approaches to craft global strategies that better address transnational health threats and social inequalities. Past studies have focused on access to medicines, antimicrobial resistance, health misinformation, pandemics and tobacco control. Visit website.
Johan Holst is a Senior Scientist with basic academic training as a pharmacist from the University of Oslo, and research experience in the field of development, characterization and evaluation of vaccines. He works at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) in Oslo. Since the early 1990s Dr. Holst served as an advisor to various WHO research programs, PAHO and the United Arab Emirates. His list of publications includes about 60 papers in peer-reviewed journals, a couple of book chapters and being a co-inventor of three various patents. In August 2016 Johan Holst joined the Secretariat of CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations) with Headquarter in Oslo; where he serves as a Vaccine Expert. Visit website.
Annemarie Hou is the Acting Executive Director of the United Nations Office for Partnerships. She also serves as the Senior Communications Adviser in Executive Office of the Secretary-General at United Nations, focused on advocacy and strategic communications for sustainable development. Most recently she served as Chief of Staff and Director of the Executive Office for the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). Ms Hou served as the first Global Health Communications Manager at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and as the family’s spokesperson. An award-winning writer, she started her career as a television journalist. Visit website.
Alison Humphrey plays with story across drama, digital media, and education. After starting her career as an intern at Marvel Comics, she joined science fiction author Douglas Adams’s company The Digital Village, producing one of the first ever web-based alternate reality games for Starship Titanic. Alison earned an MA in interactive multimedia from the Royal College of Art, and an MFA in theatre directing from York University, where her thesis production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream used motion-capture technology to weave real-time 3D computer animation and digital effects into live performance. Shadowpox forms part of her research-creation PhD in Cinema and Media Studies at York University, where she is a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholar. Visit website.
Rachelle Viader Knowles is Head of International for the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK. Prior to joining Manchester Met, she was Associate Head International for the School of Art and Design at Coventry University, UK, and Head of Visual Arts at the University of Regina in Canada where she taught media arts practice for twelve years. Her practice-led research investigates translocality, dialogue as art, and artistic practices/methods developed through participation, collaboration and networks. Her works have been performed, published, screened, found or encountered in numerous international venues and publications. Rachelle holds a PhD in Art+Media from Plymouth University, an MFA in Visual Arts from the University of Windsor. Visit website.
Kaisu Koski is a cross-disciplinary artist and humanities scholar with a background in performance and screen-based media. She is an Associate Professor of Art and Design at Lab4Living at Sheffield Hallam University. Kaisu’s work has been exhibited and performed in multiple gallery shows and theaters and received awards in the film festival circuit. She has also received several research grants, including organizations such as the Academy of Finland and the Portuguese National Science Foundation. In 2020, Kaisu co-founded the emergent, anti-disciplinary research entity Germini with Dr. Peter Lloyd Jones. Visit website.
Vicki Sung-yeon Kwon is a PhD candidate in the History of Art, Design, and Visual Culture at the University of Alberta. Kwon’s doctoral research explores socially engaged art in East Asia that addresses transnational issues, focusing on representation of migrant workers, victims of wartime sexual violence, and post-disaster communities. Kwon has published her research in Korean Studies, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, and Asian Studies Review. She curated exhibitions Designing Connection in Friction at Harcourt House in Edmonton (2018) and Mass and Individual: The Archive of the Guyanese Mass Games at the Arko Art Centre in Seoul (2016). She has been awarded Kyujanggak Institute’s Junior Fellowship at Seoul National University, and a competitive residency at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Korea. Visit website.
Natalie Loveless is Associate Professor, Contemporary Art and Theory at the University of Alberta, where she directs the Research-Creation and Social Justice CoLABoratory, and co-leads the Faculty of Arts’ Signature Area in Research-Creation. Loveless is author of How to Make Art at the End of the World: A Manifesto for Research-Creation, editor of Knowings and Knots: Methodologies and Ecologies in Research-Creation, and co-editor of Responding to Site: The Performance Work of Marilyn Arsem. In 2020 was elected to the Royal Society of Canada (College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists) for her scholarship at the intersection of research-creation and social and ecological justice. Visit website.
Mkrtich Tonoyan is an Armenian artist, cultural manager and current president of the AKOS Cultural NGO, founder of the “Art Centre of Social Studies” (ACOSS) international artists-in-residence program (2006), and co-founder of “Microresidence ” worldwide network of Artists residencies, based in Japan and current vice chairman of Youth4Media Network, and NGO based in Germany. Active in the professional realm of contemporary art Tonoyan has regularly presented his work, projects and lectures on Armenian culture and had talks at numerous national and international art events, galleries and universities. As president of the AKOS Cultural NGO, Tonoyan collaborates with organizations internationally to develop cultural exchange opportunities, and locally to develop socially engaged projects in the peripheries of Armenia. Visit website.
Image: Kaisu Koski, Injection Simulator, 2015. Courtesy of the artist.