Kadrah Mensah: surely you're joking

In support of emerging arts practitioners, Mason Studio has proudly partnered with X in Residence to provide gallery space for their residency program.

In the first collaborative exhibition, The Gallery at Mason Studio had the honour of hosting Kadrah Mensah’s surely, you’re joking, from April 1-30, 2023, created during her time with X in Residence. Working in video, sculpture, and installation, Mensah is interested in normalizing digital bodily manipulation as an act that is both liberatory and alienating.

Curated by Magdalyn Asimakis, a central question for Mensah is, “Who determines personhood?” Her artistic inquiries do not only consider digital body modification as an aspirational act of transformation, but also how these desires relate to socio-political acts of oppression against physical bodies. These ‘social horrors,’ as the artist calls the latter, create a desire to escape the body into liberatory digital spaces where one can create the reality they desire. However, at the other end of the spectrum, this catalyzes in-groups that are founded on exclusion. From this, Mensah asks, “What purpose does the body serve when we trade somatic intelligence for artificial intelligence? What is lost? What is repressed?”

For more information about Kadrah Mensah’s surely you’re joking, visit the X in Residence website here. Image courtesy of the artist and X in Residence, Toronto. Photography by Jessann Reece.

Kadrah Mensah is a Canadian interdisciplinary artist and creative technologist. Her practice is an exploration of technological intimacy as a site of freedom, escape, and identification. By leaning into the frictional paradoxes inherent to survival, she uses humour as a source of relief and resolution to confront mounting absurdity. The internet is her foundational instrument. Kadrah holds a BFA in New Media from Toronto Metropolitan University. She recently completed a residency focused on AI and algorithmic culture with UKAI Projects. Her work has been shown at The Music Gallery, Xpace Cultural Centre, and Whippersnapper Gallery. She currently resides in Toronto.

X in Residence is a residency in Toronto for artists and curators. Providing residents with space, resources, mentorship, and networking opportunities, XiR aims to support emerging arts practitioners by emphasizing artistic process and experimentation. Prioritizing arts practitioners from marginalized communities, XiR aims to remove accessibility boundaries to research and mentorship and foster cross-generational dialogues that nourish Toronto’s art ecology.

This project is curated by Magdalyn Asimakis, a curator, writer, and researcher based in Toronto. Her practice explores embodied experience in relation to Western display practices and methods of knowing. She is the co-founder of the curatorial collective ma ma, and is currently the Executive Director of Images Festival and a PhD candidate at Queen’s University.

The Gallery at Mason Studio is a cultural and creative hub for artists, designers, and makers by providing space and opportunities for emerging talent and established professionals. Individuals from equity-deserving communities are prioritized in the Gallery to ensure diverse ideas and experiences are expressed through exhibitions, talks, events and programming.

Everyone is welcome to the Gallery to experience how culture, business and creativity can come together to make better.

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