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Benjamin Freedman: Observations of Foreign Objects in a Remote Town

March 8 - April 9, 2017
Student Gallery, Ryerson Image Centre

Observations of Foreign Objects in a Remote Town, an exhibition by Benjamin Freedman, presents a series of photographs and a wall-mounted vinyl image produced while in residence at the NES Artist Residency in Skagaströnd, Iceland.

Scenes of scientists in clandestine laboratories, images of geological samples with unknown origins, and views of deep space act as constellations within an unfolding narrative. In their role as photographic markers the images illuminate a narrative within the exhibition space, one that amounts to a work of science fiction. Cosmic landscapes and classified buildings establish a setting that is both eerily familiar and utterly foreign. The scientists’ faces are either obstructed or hidden, a gesture indicating an unwelcome presence. However, this raises the question of point of view: whose presence does the narrative seem to reject? An all-knowing, omniscient POV can be ruled out immediately due to the image’s limitation to represent anything more than a single static perspective. Moreover, the apparent choice of the subject to turn away from the image frame indicates a lack of control on the viewer’s part. It is possible to consider a first person perspective if the viewer is to trust the subject matter and believe that they are a character inside the narrative. However, perhaps more interesting is the potential for Observations to operate from a limited omniscient perspective—that of the artist.





Event(s):

Opening Party
Wednesday, March 8
6:00 – 8:00 pm

Exhibition Tours
Daily 2:30 pm

All events take place at the Ryerson Image Centre, unless otherwise noted

A folding chair sitting in an empty industrial room, an image of the moon sitting in the chair
Fig. 1

Benjamin Freedman, Untitled, 2017. Courtesy of the artist

A book with a white cover. Text reads 'Observations of Foreign Objects in a Remote Town.' Smaller text along the bottom reads 'Cosmic landscapes. Astronomical debris. Geological studies. The infinite and other details.'
Fig. 2

Benjamin Freedman, Observations of Foreign Objects in a Remote Town, 2017. Courtesy of the artist

Nine books open to different pages, showing images of scientists, rocks, landscapes, and old buildings
Fig. 3

Benjamin Freedman, Observations of Foreign Objects in a Remote Town, 2017. Courtesy of the artist

A large grey rock on a piece of blue fabric
Fig. 4

Benjamin Freedman, Moon Rock, 2017. Courtesy of the artist

Artist Bio

Benjamin Freedman

Benjamin Freedman (b. 1990) is an artist presently working and living in Toronto, ON. Freedman completed his BFA in photographic studies at Ryerson University (Toronto) after studying Cinema, Video and Communications at Dawson College in Montreal, Quebec. He self-published his first photography book in 2015, and has exhibited extensively across the GTA, most recently at 8eleven Gallery, Art Gallery of Mississauga, and Division Gallery. Freedman has been recognized by the Magenta Foundation and American Photography Magazine and has shared his work internationally, most recently at the Aperture Foundation in New York City.

Working in a range of mediums, including photography, bookmaking, film and installation, Freedman’s practice questions photography’s role in describing the world and its implications in a range of professional practices, particularly in history and science. While probing the relative truths and deceptions of photography, he purposefully adopts both science fiction and documentary style characteristics in an effort to create expanded narrative projects. Freedman is particularly interested in photography’s role in mythologizing historical and contemporary events and its subsequent consequences.

Installation Shots

Photograph of a rock on a black background, framed on a white wall
Fig. 1

Benjamin Freedman: Observations of Foreign Objects in a Remote Town (installation view), 2017 © Riley Snelling, Ryerson Image Centre

A large photograph of a small snowy town surrounded by mountains
Fig. 2

Benjamin Freedman: Observations of Foreign Objects in a Remote Town (installation view), 2017 © Riley Snelling, Ryerson Image Centre

Photograph of a person wearing a lab coat and a blue rubber glove holding a small clear dish. The dish holds a small rock
Fig. 3

Benjamin Freedman: Observations of Foreign Objects in a Remote Town (installation view), 2017 © Riley Snelling, Ryerson Image Centre