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The Couch

Scent Trails
April 14 - 23, 2022

SFU Galleries | Audain 

Featuring A. Branch, Aileen Yadokoro, Andrew Curtis, Aynaz Parkas, Azadeh Mehryar, Rae Ashmore, and Ysabel Gana.

Hosted within SFU's BFA Graduating Exhibition 2022: Collecting Plum BlossomsScent Trails was The Couch's inaugural exhibition. Together, Debbie Chan and Sena Cleave drafted The Couch's objective as an art space:

The Couch is a mobile art space that draws on the homemaking practices of carpenter ants to platform the work of emerging artists. Carpenter ants chew faults into human infrastructures to build their own homes, but an infestation alone cannot demolish a building. Instead, the ants uncover the foundations by disturbing surface elements like window sills or baseboards. When The Couch is installed within a gallery, it carves out space for artists that the institution did not invite, thus infesting the gallery. Consisting of a couch and a coffee table, The Couch hosts gatherings that merge art and daily life. The Couch 'infests' galleries, living rooms, lobbies, outdoor public spaces, and more—art objects are exhibited on the table and guests are invited to sit on the couch. The furniture is modular so it can be packed and moved to another site, where the next group of exhibiting artists will recontextualize it.

Chan and Cleave worked with artist and technician Andrew Curtis to design, build, and upholster The Couch's furniture. They also interviewed Asim Renyard, whose Ph.D. research at Simon Fraser University's Gries Lab centers ants’ decision making and communication techniques. This conversation, alongside short statements by each of the artists features in Scent Trails, was published in the Scent Trails Exhibition Pamphlet and made available to those visiting the gallery. 

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