Surveillant Subjectivities

Surveillant Subjectivities: Youth Cultures, Art and Affect is a research-creation initiative led by Dr. Dina Georgis (University of Toronto) and Dr. Sara Matthews (Wilfrid Laurier University). The project explores the ways in which youth in the Toronto region experience surveillance as an embodied aspect of their everyday lives, expressed affectively, through emotion and social practice. Our research collaborators on the project are Gallery TPW, Toronto and the Canadian contemporary artistic duo Bambitchell. As part of the project, the artists were commissioned to produce original work responding to the theme of surveillance. Their multi-part installation, Special Works School, was exhibited at Gallery TPW January 13 – February 24, 2018. You can read a review of the exhibit published in Canadian Art and authored by Aaditya Aggarwal. Youth participants encountered the exhibit in a series of workshops at Gallery TPW in February 2018.

The Canadian Network for Psychoanalysis and Culture and Gallery TPW hosted an event on February 14, 2018. Three respondents –  Nicole Charles, Nael Bhanji, and Dr. Silvia Tenenbaumwere invited to engage with the exhibit.

Dina Georgis, Lex Burgoyne and Sara Matthews presented a workshop on the project at the 2018 Biennial Conference of the Canadian Association for Cultural Studies, Simon Fraser University, BC. March 3, 2018

Dina Georgis and Sara Matthews presented a paper that explores results from the project at Youngsters 2: On the Cultures of Children & Youth Conference, Association for Research in Cultures of Young People, Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada May 11, 2019.

Variations in Black, Queer and Otherwise: Works by Abdi Osman

The project also provided an opportunity for us to curate an exhibition of works by Somali-Canadian multi-disciplinary artist Abdi Osman. Titled Variations in Black, Queer and Otherwise: Works by Abdi Osman, the exhibition was on view at The Art Museum, University of Toronto June 5 – July 27, 2019. A response to the exhibition by Byron Armstrong can be read here. In her review of the exhibition for Canadian Art, Dr. Christina Sharpe writes that

“... all of Abdi Osman’s work is concerned with the ability or inability to move, and to be. Concerned with new modes of being human. With what it means to be precarious and to still make life. Each of these photographs and films take up transition: the transit between places and states, the body as fragile and tenacious“.

Christina Sharpe in conversation with Abdi Osman, Wednesday July 17, 2019, 6:30-8pm at the University of Toronto Art Centre.

Project outputs include exhibition texts, gallery talks and further writing that is currently in development. Details about the exhibitions can be found by scrolling down.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

Photo credits Toni Hafkenscheid (2018)

Exhibition Text 1: Bambitchell (Sharlene Bamboat and Alexis Mitchell) and Richy Carey in conversation with Dina Georgis 

Exhibition Text 2: Special Works School Transcript 

Exhibition Text 3: Sara Matthews in conversation with Education Not Incarceration (Alison Fisher and Melanie Carrington) 

Nael Bhanji responds to the exhibit




Nicole Charles responds to the exhibit

Variations in Black, Queer and Otherwise: Works by Abdi Osman

Curated by Dina Georgis and Sara Matthews as part of our project Surveillant Subjectivities, this solo exhibition of work by Somali-Canadian multi-disciplinary artist Abdi Osman opens at The Art Museum, University of Toronto June 5 – July 27, 2019. With an exhibition essay by Ellyn Walker.

Photo credits Toni Hafkenscheid (2019)

Installation views at The Art Museum, University of Toronto