Julia Feyrer

Background Actors
16 March — 21 April, 2018

The indi­vid­ual move­ments and actions of back­ground actors or “extras” in con­ven­tion­al film and tele­vi­sion func­tion for the cam­era and micro­phone only as aspects of the envi­ron­ment. A back­ground actor is emp­ty of an inher­ent identity—a ghost­ly epiphe­nom­e­non haunt­ing the set and blurred edges of the screen. Por­tray­ing the quo­tid­i­an roles of corpses, bystanders and inaudi­ble speak­ers, they occu­py an indis­tinct role between prop and per­son.


In Julia Feyrer’s film New Pedes­tri­ans, the back­ground actors silent­ly inhab­it the roles of pedes­tri­an or passers­by. Casu­al­ly strolling through their process of onto­log­i­cal becom­ing with every step, like an exer­cise in walk­ing med­i­ta­tion, the pedes­tri­ans trace a path that is unsta­ble, full of dis­trac­tions, thoughts and emo­tions, crises of iden­ti­ty, anx­i­ety and rest­less­ness.


By film­ing her sculp­tures as props, and the gallery instal­la­tion as set, each of Feyrer’s exhi­bi­tions seeps into the next, cre­at­ing the caus­es and con­di­tions for the next film to ger­mi­nate. The films make use of “prac­ti­cal film effects”: phys­i­cal objects and non-dig­i­tal spe­cial effects made for the verisimil­i­tude of the camera—a world of tech­niques and mate­ri­als designed to mir­ror our own but with­out the pre­text of per­ma­nence.


Indi­vid­ual works in this exhi­bi­tion include Corpse, a dum­my rough­ly life cast from the artist’s own body, hand­blown glass heads that are micro­phone sup­ports for walk­ing bin­au­r­al audio record­ings and ASMR trig­ger videos, the iron mold used to cast the blown glass heads, and a kinet­ic Device for Sens­ing Hab­it­able Zones, fea­tur­ing small exo­plan­et mod­els scat­tered around a strange ter­rain below a rotat­ing array of “tick­lers”.


This new body of work con­tin­ues Feyrer’s inter­est in con­scious­ness and non­nor­ma­tive forms of expe­ri­ence. Med­i­tat­ing on the human body and its inti­mate rela­tion­ships to non­hu­man enti­ties, such as the 100 tril­lion bac­te­r­i­al cells that make up our micro­bio­me, our bound­aries of self quick­ly become uncer­tain. In Back­ground Actors, Feyr­er asks how we can dis­rupt our anthro­pocen­tric world­view, in sol­i­dar­i­ty with the non­hu­man, as a gen­er­a­tive site of mean­ing and spec­u­la­tive sci­ence fic­tion.



Julia Feyr­er (b. 1982, Vic­to­ria, BC) works across dis­ci­plines, ground­ed by the phys­i­cal­i­ty and somat­ic rela­tion­ships of cel­lu­loid film­mak­ing and sculp­ture. By pre­sent­ing the cam­era as an exten­sion of the human body’s sen­so­ri­um with which to feel time and per­cep­tion, Feyr­er ques­tions how these tools aid and alter our expe­ri­ence of the world. She grad­u­at­ed in 2010 with a Meis­ter­schü­lerin from the Städelschule in Frank­furt, Ger­many. Feyr­er has had solo exhi­bi­tions at POTTS, Los Ange­les; West­ern Front, Van­cou­ver; and Art­s­peak, Van­cou­ver. Recent col­lab­o­ra­tive exhi­bi­tions with Tama­ra Hen­der­son include The Last Waves at the Mor­ris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Van­cou­ver; Con­sid­er the Belvedere at the ICA Philadel­phia; and Bot­tles Under the Influ­ence at Wal­ter Phillips Gallery, Banff. Her work has been includ­ed in group exhi­bi­tions at the Van­cou­ver Art Gallery; Bon­niers Kon­sthall, Stock­holm; Art Gallery of Alber­ta, Edmon­ton and Pre­sen­ta­tion House Gallery, North Van­cou­ver. Julia is also the co-edi­tor of the audiozine Spoox and author of half a dozen artist books pub­lished by Per­ro Ver­lag.