August 26, 2019

Automatisme Ambulatoire: Hysteria, Imitation, Performance

Owens Art Gallery at Mount Allison University

Diane Borsato, Gems and Minerals (still), 2018. Video, 25 minutes. Courtesy of the artist.

Curator: Amanda Cachia

Diane Borsato, Pauline Boudry/Renate Lorenz, Claire Cunningham, Brendan Fernandes, Every Ocean Hughes, My Barbarian

“Automatisme ambulatoire,” or ambulatory automatism, is an expression that conjures notions of the compulsive traveler, while simultaneously implying irresistible urges and movements, such as grimaces, tics, and gestures, often linked to physical pathologies. The artists in this exhibition were invited to consider such gestures as a performative style, one that might work to subvert, undo, transform, and reimagine the body and language, both real and imagined. Featuring six new works commissioned specifically for this project, the exhibition aims to question, challenge, and complicate the ethical and moral boundaries of “imitation” and how the so-called “pathologized” body might be considered in contemporary social and cultural contexts.

September 14, 2019
Unexpected Movements: a symposium for Automatisme Ambulatoire

Panelists: Amanda Cachia, Eliza Chandler, Kelly Fritsch, Alyson Patsavas, Joshua St. Pierre
A one-day symposium exploring ways to challenge social norms and expectations imposed on bodies, language, and movement.
Organized in partnership with the Department of Philosophy and the Centre for Canadian Studies, Mount Allison University.

Motyer-Fancy Theatre at Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts
Mount Allison University
152 Main Street

Registration deadline: September 1, 2019
All events and meals are free, but registration is required.
The symposium will be livestreamed at

This is one of the 200 exceptional projects funded through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter program. With this 35M CAD investment, the Council supports the creation and sharing of the arts in communities across Canada. This project was also funded by Mount Allison University, the New Brunswick Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture, and the Government of Canada (Young Canada Works in Heritage Organizations).

About the Owens Art Gallery
The Owens Art Gallery first opened its doors in 1895. It is Canada’s oldest university art gallery and the custodian of an important collection of over 4,000 works spanning the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. The Owens occupies its original building, which was designed in the Beaux-Arts style by Edmund Burke, one of Canada’s most influential architects. The Gallery stands on the unceded, ancestral territory of the Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik Nations. This territory is covered by the “Treaties of Peace and Friendship,” which were first signed with the British Crown in 1725. In addition to presenting a dynamic program of contemporary and historical exhibitions, targeted community outreach and education initiatives, and innovative online and social media projects, the Owens is responsible for Colville House, a small house museum located in the historic home of one of Canada’s best-known visual artists: Alex Colville.

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