The Power Plant

In Conversation: Miles Gertler & Ala Roushan

Wed Jul 13 2022

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Admission is free. Sign up HERE.

The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery

 BREATHLESS, view of 'Fire with Fire' (2018-2021) by Julius von Bismarck

In this special In Conversation event, designer and visual artist Miles Gertler will engage with Ala Roushan – guest curator of the group exhibition BREATHLESS currently presented at The Power Plant as a part of the summer season. Speakers will elaborate on the conceptual links that tether the exhibition's elements in relation to body, environment, and world-building.
The conversation will take place outside The Power Plant building, next to the outdoor exhibition pavilion. As the sun sets, participants will view a spectacular artwork which only appears from dusk to dawn– a 'Fire with Fire' video projection by Julius Von Bismarck that will enliven the installation with flames and smoke.
Miles Gertler is a visual artist and co-director of Common Accounts, an office for design inquiry. His work considers how self-design operates across digital and material situations as a tool for city-building with a particular focus on fitness, cosmetics, and the virtual afterlife.
Ala Roushan is a Persian/Canadian curator and Associate Professor at OCAD University. Ala’s research is focused on the polemics of artificial environments, contemporary digital culture, and the public realm.


Conceived as an ecosystem, BREATHLESS manifests as an outdoor pavilion with integrated artworks that address the vulnerabilities of the breath. The pavilion builds upon architects Alison and Peter Smithson’s prototype, House of the Future, which was exhibited in 1956—a time, much like today, that was characterized by threats from the air and by a fascination with climate control technology. BREATHLESS inverts the inaccessible private courtyard of the Smithsons’ show house into a public pavilion, challenging the closed condition of domestic space and the obsession with uncontaminated air.
BREATHLESS is animated by a cyclical rhythm from dusk to dawn, with Julius von Bismarck’s video installation transforming the pavilion’s air-filled walls, penetrating the enclosure with a fiery projection of a world engulfed in smoke and smog. As the sun rises, the video evaporates, revealing a hazy gaze in the interior of the pavilion and inviting audiences onto Flaka Haliti’s ground of shifting microparticles, which blur the boundaries between inside and outside—referring to both architecture and the body. As if emerging from the liquified ground and surviving suffocation, Marguerite Humeau’s imaginary creature of genetically evolved respiratory tracts breathes the air of a new atmosphere. Deep from within, Donna Kukama’s voice interrupts the circadian rhythm of the pavilion with the asynchronous cadence of her breath sharing personal narratives as we breathe together.