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Wednesday March 31 2021 at 7:30 PM

× Paula John

A(F)Tm Automated Fortune Teller

Mixed media



Price:Please Inquire

Paula John is a multi-disciplinary artist and scholar based in Toronto. She has been exhibiting her work (including photography, film, textiles, installation, and performance) since 2003. She holds a BFA in Photography, and an MFA in Documentary Media from Ryerson University, and an MA in Communication and Culture from York University. Some of the themes explored in her work include, gender, sexuality, feminism, and performance. Paula is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in the Theatre & Performance Studies program at York University.

The Automated (Fortune) Teller Machine (A(F)TM) is a project that examines issues of technology, cyber-security, mysticism, and the romanticism of the unknown. The central element of the project is an ATM modified to “tell fortunes.” Participants are invited to interact with the machine, following prompts to enter information such as their birthdate, and astrological sign. The internal computer program then interprets this data and assigns a pre-written fortune to the user that the machine prints out. The project conjures associations of arcade fortune-teller machines, and by using the medium of an ATM it plays with the dual meanings of the term fortune. Participants are asked to consider the implications of entering their personal information into an unknown machine in an age of data collection and heightened concerns over online-privacy (note: the data entered into the machine is not stored or collected).

The machine itself is painted gold, and has LED tube lighting that mimics the aesthetic of the neon-signs found in Psychic storefronts. The text of the fortunes are an amalgamation of/inspired by: Yoko Ono’s twitter account (short directions for performative actions, e.g. “Piece for the wind: Cut a painting up and let them be lost in the wind”); pseudo-profound declarations/affirmations; and messages that play with the line between science/pseudoscience by offering up awe-inspiring scientific facts from physics and astronomy (as opposed to psychics and astrology).

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Being Scene
651 Dufferin St
Toronto ON M6K 2B2