Open Now: BC-based Multimedia Artist’s DIY-Inspired Creations Unveiled in New Exhibition at Van Art Gallery

The Vancouver Art Gallery proudly presents Kevin Schmidt: We Are the Robots, an exhibition of innovative installations on view both within and outside of the Gallery from July 14 to October 28, 2018. This presentation spotlights British Columbia-based artist Kevin Schmidt, who draws on aspects of conceptual and performance art while embodying the do-it-yourself (DIY) sensibilities of an amateur inventor.

The exhibition title We Are the Robots is inspired by the origin of the word robot, in Czech robota, meaning “forced work”. In its entirety, this presentation showcases Schmidt’s exploration of DIY knowledge production, pointing at the utopian aspects of mass knowledge distribution over the Internet and the pressures to commodify and brand knowledge that circulates through this system.

The starting point of Schmidt’s exhibition is his 2014 work DIY Hifi, which takes the refined experience of audiophile listening, typically presented in private domestic settings, and reimagines it as public sculpture. The result is a makeshift audiophile listening room comprised of gigantic stereo speakers, a kit tube amp and furniture constructed by Schmidt. DIY Hifi will have its first museum showing in North America as part of this exhibition. Visitors are invited to bring their own favourite vinyl recordings to play in the listening room, located on the third floor of the Gallery.

Anyone passing by the Gallery can see another of Schmidt’s interactive inventions: the fluorescent, multi-coloured LED light strips aligning the Gallery’s Howe, Hornby, Georgia and Robson Street façades for the work RGB Beg Cycle (2018). Once activated, the lights change hue in response to notes played on electronic keyboards that will be installed in the third-floor galleries. Additionally, this exhibition features a new video and sculptural work which involves the clever reconfiguration of a repurposed washing machine to generate electricity titled, How to Make An Off-Grid Hydroelectric Light Show (2018).

Kevin Schmidt harnesses his curiosity and passion for DIY construction to transcend the logic of the everyday. The simple genius of Kevin’s inventions and the dramatic natural settings in which he often presents them has inspired many fans. With this presentation, visitors will have the opportunity to discover his creations like never before in an exciting hands-on and interactive way, inside and outside the Gallery. – Kathleen S. Bartels, Director of the Vancouver Art Gallery

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