Archive:FRUITMACHINEAugust 27 - September 1, 2019


August 27 - September 1, 2019


Critical Distance is pleased to present Fruitmachine, the master’s thesis exhibition of University of Guelph MFA Candidate, Aidan Cowling, for our 2019 Summer Session. Since 2016, Critical Distance has demonstrated support for emerging curators and artists by providing space and institutional support for graduating students and recent alumni of local educational programs through this special opportunity.

About this Exhibition

“Put another way, we are not yet queer. We may never touch queerness, but we can feel it as the warm illumination of a horizon imbued with potentiality. We have never been queer, yet queerness exists for us as an ideality that can be distilled from the past and used to imagine a future.”
— José Muñoz

Queer futurity feels especially poignant at the present moment, when queer archives and histories are being digitized and made readily available online. Fruitmachine uses green screen as a site and a methodology for video installations that steward material remnants of queer history and activate new meaning from them. Each of the works in this exhibition use archival footage and online imagery to engage what has been lost and left behind.

From the “Gay Purge” of Canada’s civil service, to the raids of Toronto’s bathhouses, the exhibition explores the historicization of queer liberation and the ongoing AIDS crisis. From this archival and thematic exploration this exhibition asks: How is technology being mobilized today to conjure a radical queer future? How can the archive inform emerging issues and help us find a way forward?

About the Artist

Aidan Cowling is an artist and educator whose work critically engages and interprets our anxiety around sex and sexuality. He is interested in how technology shapes our contemporary experience and understanding of desire, intimacy and power. His work explores how archival and online material that reflects queer subcultures is weaponized or used as pedagogy.

Gallery Hours, Location, and Accessibility

During exhibition dates, August 27–September 3, Fruitmachine will be on view at Critical Distance during regular gallery hours, Wednesday–Friday, from 12-6 pm and Saturday–Sunday from 11-5 pm. The artist will be present and available for exhibition tours during gallery hours. The exhibition is also available for viewing on an appointment basis — please contact the artist at to arrange a viewing time.

Critical Distance is located in Suite 302 on the third floor of Artscape Youngplace, 180 Shaw Street between Dundas and Queen Streets, Toronto, M6J 2W5. Artscape Youngplace is a wheelchair accessible building with a ramp at the 180 Shaw Street doors, an elevator servicing every floor, and an accessible washroom on every level. The TTC’s 63 Ossington bus stops nearby and is wheelchair accessible. The gallery is also wheelchair accessible. Please contact us at for more information.

About CDCC Summer Sessions

For more information regarding our Summer Sessions program, or to submit a proposal for a thesis exhibition, please contact Emily Peltier at

image: Aidan Cowling, Fruitmachine 1, 2019


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