What We Lose In Metrics


April 13 – June 19, 2016
Solo exhibition curated by Emelie Chhangur and Philip Monk
Commissioned and Produced by the Art Gallery of York University, Toronto

In collaboration with: Anna Friz, Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson, Diana Beresford-Kroeger, Nina Bakan, Karolina Baran, Stephanie Dodge, Laura Onderwater, and Kathryn Yani

“A popular colloquialism is that one “can’t see the forest for the trees.” And yet can we even see a tree for what it is? “The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way,” William Blake wrote in 1799. “Some see nature all ridicule and deformity… and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.” Here at the origins of the capitalist era, Blake opposed imagination to the Enlightenment project where a deformed nature was to be demystified and corrected. No more deep dark woods of the Grimm fairy tales, in this utilitarian world that we have inherited, trees are meant for harvesting. Forests have been uniformly managed into columns of statistics.

In this exhibition, Public Studio asks us what we lose in [ ] metrics, in turning forests into standing reserves for commodity exploitation. What has been given up and what needs to be recovered—and regenerated—in this pragmatic notion of the natural world in which we all participate? For millennia before we began to cultivate forests, they conditioned us psychologically. […] Metaphorically the forest symbolizes the part of our psyche that is unknown, and stands in darkness until we come to the ‘clearing’—more than fall upon the devastation of a clear-cutting. Given this lack of understanding of our place in the natural world, Public Studio speculate whether there is a possibility of alternate cosmologies of nature.”

-Philip Monk, Curator, Art Gallery of York University

 Public Studio gratefully acknowledges the support of the Ontario Arts Council for the development and production of this project.

exhibition materials

Gallery Floor Plan

AGYU Newsletter (Spring 2016) 


Public Studio at the AGYU, Terence Dick for Akimbo.ca, May 26, 2016

video documentation


The Darkness Between Lives

The Claw, The Leaf, The Twig

Gameplay: Stephanie Dodge, Dragon Age: Inquisition
Including poem “We Have Trees Now” by Prageeta Sharma

The Sea Is Another Story

Gameplay: Kathryn Yani, Skyrim
Including poem “Diving into the Wreck” by Adrienne Rich

I Have Been Her Kind

Gameplay: Nina Bakan, The Path
Including poem “Her Kind” by Anne Sexton


My Body Is A Temple

Gameplay: Laura Onderwater & Natalia St. Lawrence, The Witcher 3
Including poem by ineffable-hufflepuff