Brandon Vickerd

TORONTO, ONTARIO

Challenger


Purposely diverse, my work straddles the line between high and low culture, acting as a catalyst for critical thought and addressing the failed promise of a modernist future predicated on boundless scientific advancement. Whether through craftsmanship, the creation of spectacle, or humor, my goal is to provoke the viewer into questioning the dominate myth of progress ingrained in Western world views.


Challenger consists of a replica of the escape hatch from the NASA space shuttle installed as if it has fallen from the sky and flattened a Canada Post mailbox. The sculpture explores the relationship between humanity’s technological aspirations and the impact failure has on our collective psyche. The narrative of a space aged machine violently colliding with the mundane street furniture highlights how our collective aspirations for space travel often make us blind to the physical world we inhabit.


Challenger invokes nostalgia for a past, when science held the promise of a limitless future, and not the very strange and often frightening world of tomorrow we find ourselves living in today.

Biography

Brandon Vickerd is a Hamilton based artist and Professor of Sculpture at York University, where he also serves as Chair of the Department of Visual Arts and Art History. He received his BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (1999) and his MFA from the University of Victoria (2001). He has been invited to several solo and group exhibitions at national and international level. His research work has been supported by numerous Canada Council grants.


Skyfalls

Microfiction by Monique Juteau

Inspired by the works of Brandon Vickerd and several visits to the vaults of the Musée Pop


Louis Lalancette, the famous mouse dream specialist, has become increasingly worried by the growing number of skyfalls. Around the world, people have seen objects of all sorts plummeting down from the sky, but ten minutes and thirty seconds later (precisely), the things disappear. Monsieur Lalancette is losing sleep over it. Despite his mother reminding him of the existence of the sleep-inducing-teapot that she sent him last month, nothing helps. And again, last night, while he was grappling with insomnia, a wave of ...


A wave of gelatinous marbles apparently wafted a smell of overripe bananas through the streets of Saint-Paulin. A most surprising phenomenon, for bananas can no longer be found since Panama disease wiped them out. Therefore Louis Lalancette visited the village in order to verify the authenticity of Skyfall number 2156. Nothing. Yet again. No trace whatsoever. However...


However, while eating in a local snack bar, the scholar detected an aftertaste of bananas in his hotdog bun. Racked with doubt, he returned to his laboratory. A letter from the Ministry of the Stratosphere was waiting for him, a letter ordering him to abandon his research into the dreams of mice. From now on he must concentrate his efforts on the skyfalls, in order to prove them figments of the imagination, or fake news, just like electromagnetic pollution. Nonetheless...


Nonetheless, accounts of sightings are piling up at the Ministry of the Stratosphere. Only yesterday, three night watchmen say that they saw silver fox tails rain down onto Fort McMurray in Alberta. This Skyfall number 2160 was said to be quite magical. Then...


Then one December evening, while going to post the traditional Christmas card to his mother, who detests virtual greetings, monsieur Lalancette looked up, intrigued by a whistling sound coming from the celestial vault. An object resembling a parabolic antenna was twisting and turning in the air, and then it crashed onto a neighbourhood mailbox. The skyfalls were becoming heavy and dangerous. Ten minutes and thirty seconds later, the thingamajig had totally disappeared, just like all previous skyfalls. Had he been dreaming? The next day...


The next day in the newspaper much criticism was levelled at the uncivilized behaviour of a number of citizens who, just before Christmas, had seemingly smashed up a mailbox. Louis Lalancette was most surprised and began to doubt what he had seen. And then, a few days before the New Year, in order to reassure the population, the Ministry...


The Ministry of the Stratosphere announced the date of the ceremony to present the Porcelain Brain Award to five scientists in recognition of their belief in the non-existence of skyfalls. Replicas of the Porcelain Brain Award were immediately produced and put on sale like so many religious knickknacks. Monsieur Lalancette’s mother eagerly ordered several of them, certain as she was that her son would be one of the prize-winners, but...


But, despite being a famous scientist, Louis Lalancette was not amongst the five award-winners, for he had doubted and continues to doubt.


Showcase 1

Objects from the Musée Pop collection:
Eucharist bread cutting tool, circa 1940, wood, metal, paint
Mouse trap, circa 1930, wood, metal


Monsieur Louis Lalancette, worldwide renowned scientist, continues his research into nano-neuro HD cameras capable of capturing the images produced by the dreams and nightmares of mice. The dreamworld recorded up until now shows no more than a series of close-ups of mice traps that snap in the night. It is as if these laboratory-bred rodents were able to dream of objects that they had never known, objects that had moreover haunted the life of their ancestors who had in the past run freely within the walls of houses.


Louis Lalancette came to study the sciences thanks to the influence of his uncle, Adélard Lalancette, the inventor of a nutritious wafer containing six nanolux of hope and fifty-six grams of protein flour. Adélard also invented a handcrafted, long-handled device for accelerating the multiplication of his revolutionary product, a product very much in demand in Faraway Land – a country plunged into the darkness of war without end.


Showcase 2

Objects from the Musée Pop collection:
Teapots, circa 1980, ceramic, painting, glaze


Louis Lalancette’s mother is a collector of china, especially teapots. She buys them online; however, she asks for postal delivery since the drones never manage to deliver the parcels to the right address. She has even signed a petition requesting the Ministry of the Stratosphere to ban the unceasing toing and froing of drones flying at too low an altitude above the houses. She has also taken part in a demonstration against the ending of the postal service and the eventual withdrawal of public mailboxes.


Showcase 3

Objects from the Musée Pop collection:

School bag, circa 1950, leather, metal

Stones, undated, Archaeological Collection, Ministry of Culture and Communications


Skyfall number 2160

A mysterious hailstorm of pebbles apparently covered a school playground in a coalmining town in the United States. Just like Tom Thumb, the children immediately slipped the stones into their pockets, scared that pathless forests of black soot might tumble down. Like all reported skyfalls, ten minutes and thirty seconds later, the pebbles had disappeared. There was nothing left, neither in the schoolyard nor in the kids’ pockets.

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