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Jeremy Shaw’s Quickeners and Liminals: Imagining Possible Futures


Jeremy Shaw’s Quickeners and Liminals: Imagining Possible Futures

Tousignant, Sarah Ève (2018) Jeremy Shaw’s Quickeners and Liminals: Imagining Possible Futures. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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This thesis examines the artist’s cinema Quickeners (2014) and Liminals (2017), the first two episodes of The Quantification Trilogy by Berlin-based Canadian artist Jeremy Shaw (b. 1977; Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada). Quickeners, set five hundred years in the future, presents a group of immortal humans afflicted by Human Atavism Syndrome, which makes them behave like their ancestors. They perform antiquated rituals to return to a mortal state. Liminals is
set in 2117, a time when humans attribute spiritual experience to a neurological phenomenon which they are able to reproduce artificially; they thus lose the biological ability to believe. Liminals focuses on a cult-like, peripheral, altruistic group of humans who use spiritual tools and inject machine DNA into their brains to save humankind from extinction. Four themes in both artworks bring into consideration underlying fears in the present day, such as
technoanxiety, political and ecological crises, and the search for alternate forms of healing and spirituality in the American and Eurocentric world. Shaw’s works can be seen as projections of a
possible dystopic future. In his complex artist’s cinema, the protagonists use spiritual tools for transcendence, such as dance, music, and technology. The concept of atavism underlined in the
works raises questions about present-day cultural appropriation of traditional rituals. The trope of rebirth in the works recalls the myth of the god Dionysus and is presented as a way to perform time travelling in order to escape reality.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Tousignant, Sarah Ève
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Art History
Date:28 August 2018
Thesis Supervisor(s):Ming Wai Jim, Alice
ID Code:984249
Deposited On:16 Nov 2018 15:05
Last Modified:16 Nov 2018 15:05
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