Life on the CAPS is the first Canadian exhibition by Moroccan artist Meriem Bennani, featuring the eponymous trilogy and her viral sensation 2 Lizards made in collaboration with Orian Barki. Presented in collaboration with The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery and The Vega Foundation.
Meriem Bennani: Life on the CAPS
In Life on the CAPS and her collaborative project with Orian Barki 2 Lizards, Moroccan artist Meriem Bennani questions contemporary society and its fractured systems, individual identity, and the ubiquitous dominance of digital technologies. Using live-action footage, computer-generated animation, and special effects, her videos mix visual references drawn from reality television, advertising, music videos, phone recordings, documentary, and science fiction.
Set in a supernatural, dystopian future, the trilogy Life on the CAPS (short for “capsule”) surrounds a fictional island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. In the world of the CAPS, teleportation has replaced air travel, and displaced populations utilize this mode of transportation to cross oceans and borders. Enclosed by a magnetic shield, the CAPS houses migrants who have been caught teleporting illegally. Settled into bustling enclaves, citizens of the CAPS have developed their own hybrid culture and modes of defiance in opposition to the US troops that patrol the island.
2 Lizards reflects the unfolding realities of the COVID-19 pandemic in real time. Each roughly three-minute episode illustrates the mundanities of quarantine life: rooftop hangouts, Zoom birthdays, the 7pm clap for essential workers, the thrill of breaking social-distancing rules with a new lover. The process of Bennani and her collaborator Orian Barki was mostly inspired by their daily events and conversations with friends, whose viewpoints are included in the series through a cast of animated characters.
ANDRÉA PICARD ADELINA VLAS, HEAD OF EXHIBITIONS AND PUBLICATIONS, THE POWER PLANT
Life on the CAPS Meriem Bennani | 2018–2022 CANADIAN PREMIERE Arabic, English | 76 minutes | Colour/Digital Video
2 Lizards Meriem Bennani, Orian Barki | 2020 English | 22 minutes | Colour/Digital Video
The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, 231 Queen's Quay West September 9–18 11am–6pm Free admission
Still from Meriem Bennani, Guided Tour of a Spill (CAPSInterlude), 2021 Courtesy the artist and François Ghebaly
Meriem Bennani was born in Rabat, Morocco. Her work has been exhibited internationally, including at the Saatchi Gallery, London; MoMA PS1, New York; and Palais de Tokyo, Paris. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
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