Rudy Loewe in residence

Kadrah Mensah

Kadrah Mensah is a Canadian interdisciplinary artist and creative technologist. Her practice is an exploration of technological intimacy as a site of freedom, escape, and identification. By leaning into the frictional paradoxes inherent to survival, she uses humour as a source of relief and resolution to confront mounting absurdity. The internet is her foundational instrument.   

Kadrah holds a BFA in New Media from Toronto Metropolitan University. She recently completed a residency focused on AI and algorithmic culture with UKAI Projects. Her work has been shown at The Music Gallery, Xpace Cultural Centre, and Whippersnapper Gallery. She currently resides in Toronto.

XiR thanks Mason Studio for their generous support of Kadrah’s residency.

Kadrah Mensah
surely you’re joking
March 30-April 29, 2023

Kadrah Mensah’s work inquires into contemporary modes of transhumanist body modification as they exist on the internet. Working in video, sculpture, and installation, Mensah is interested in the normalizing of digital bodily manipulation as an act that is both liberatory and alienating.

A central question for Mensah is, who determines personhood? Her artistic inquiries do not only consider digital body modification as an aspirational act of transformation, but also how these desires relate to socio-political acts of oppression against physical bodies. These ‘social horrors’ as the artist calls the latter, create a desire to escape the body into liberatory digital spaces in which one can create the reality they desire. However, at the other end of the spectrum this catalyses in-groups that are founded on exclusion. Extending from this, Mensah asks, what purpose does the body serve when we trade somatic intelligence for artificial intelligence? What is lost? What is repressed?

Despite positioning itself within digital realms, Mensah’s work thinks deeply about bodily knowledge that is both inherited and gained through lived experience. She observes that while rhetoric around embodied knowledge may be increasingly accepted, the trajectories of digital realms encourage disembodiment and disengagement with physical bodies. As such, obsolescence is a major theme in her work, in particular how the feeling of being obsolete can emerge from the existential chaos of living amongst rapid technological advancements.

Navigating these narratives dialogically, Mensah also leans into the dark humour that runs through digital spaces as a coping mechanism of contemporary survival. This exhibition moves between sensations of alienation and absurdity, inquiring into the transhumanist locations of contemporary identities, and how this is tied up inconclusively with desire, repression, and liberation.

Kadrah Mensah is a Canadian interdisciplinary artist and creative technologist. Her practice is an exploration of technological intimacy as a site of freedom, escape, and identification. By leaning into the frictional paradoxes inherent to survival, she uses humour as a source of relief and resolution to confront mounting absurdity. The internet is her foundational instrument. Kadrah holds a BFA in New Media from Toronto Metropolitan University. She recently completed a residency focused on AI and algorithmic culture with UKAI Projects. Her work has been shown at The Music Gallery, Xpace Cultural Centre, and Whippersnapper Gallery. She currently resides in Toronto.

X in Residence is a residency in Toronto for artists and curators. Providing residents with space, resources, mentorship, and networking opportunities, XiR aims to support emerging arts practitioners by emphasizing artistic process and experimentation. Prioritizing arts practitioners from marginalized communities, XiR aims to remove accessibility boundaries to research and mentorship and foster cross-generational dialogues that nourish Toronto’s art ecology.

This project is curated by Magdalyn Asimakis, a curator, writer, and researcher based in Toronto. Her practice explores embodied experience in relation to Western display practices and methods of knowing. She is the co-founder of the curatorial collective ma ma, and is currently the Executive Director of Images Festival and a PhD candidate at Queen’s University.

X in Residence acknowledges the support of Canada Council for the Arts and the Toronto Arts Council.