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Jon Sasaki’s multidisciplinary practice delves into the potentially generative outcomes of failure and futility. Sasaki’s solo exhibition at Esker Foundation will centre around a selection of his videos from the past decade that depict the artist’s persistent, sometimes reckless refusal to accept the obsolescence or inadequacy of everyday objects.

Sasaki resolutely taps and maneuvers burnt out lightbulbs in the hopes of reconnecting the broken filament and re-illuminating the bulb, if only fleetingly. He shakes a pendant lamp with a frayed cord, which illuminates briefly—tantalizingly—if shaken just so, before inevitably disconnecting again. When faced with the task of scaling a wall, he stacks small stepladders on top of one another. Sasaki’s relentlessness evokes the minor anxieties induced by the failure of everyday objects theoretically designed for convenience. At the same time, the futility of Sasaki’s actions transform these objects into conduits for improvisation—their original function shifts to a more fluid, open-ended space.

Improvised Travel Adapters (2018-ongoing) documents an ongoing series of temporary sculptures comprised of repurposed objects, jury rigged to serve as adapters for international electric sockets.  Well-intentioned warnings placed in hotel rooms urging travellers to avoid using multiple devices at once are scorned as Sasaki engineers travel adapters by jamming safety pins, paper clips, or nail files between a plug and a socket. Through this flirtation with failure – and possible electric shock – Sasaki evokes the disorientation of arriving somewhere new and being confronted with the need to improvise and make do, heightened by our intense dependence on electronic devices.

Sasaki’s videos operate as wry visual jokes that revel in the absurdities and frustrations of our relationship to the things that surround us and our habits of consumption. In the same breath, they offer a deeper meditation on our complicity in the destructive, cyclical process of consuming, discarding, and re-consuming manufactured goods.

Image: Jon Sasaki, Improvised Travel Adapters, ongoing series

Esker Foundation

4th Floor, 1011 – 9th Avenue S.E.

Inglewood, Calgary, AB, Canada T2G 0H7

www.eskerfoundation.com

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