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May 9, 2018

CAFKA.18: RECOGNIZE EVERYONE opening June 2 and running through July 1 in Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge.

CAFKA - Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener and Area announces its upcoming biennial exhibition of contemporary art in the public spaces of Waterloo Region.

As an artist-run, non-profit biennial organization focused on contemporary art in public spaces, CAFKA is unique in the world. Its programming is determined by artists and art professionals from the Region who are dedicated to contemporary art as a vital element of free expression and social engagement. CAFKA’s biennial program of exhibitions in the public spaces of the Region makes available the experience of contemporary art to everyone, animating our public spaces and helping to generate conversations and reflections about the community we live in, and the community we want to be.

CAFKA.18 is CAFKA’s 12th exhibition of contemporary art projects. The biennial exhibition began at Kitchener City Hall in 2000 and has since grown and adapted to this rapidly changing community. It has grown from a weekend festival of visual art to a 30-day program of art installations, art crawls, multilingual-guided tours, art cycle rallies, and family art education. It has expanded beyond Kitchener City Hall to take place throughout Kitchener’s downtown and now the neighbouring municipalities of Waterloo and Cambridge.

The theme for the 2018 biennial will be RECOGNIZE EVERYONE. The title comes from an association game created by CAFKA.18 artist Lucy Pullen. RECOGNIZE EVERYONE is a game that helps us to orient ourselves in new places and with new people. Simply by looking to recognize someone you know in the appearance or the behaviour of a stranger, you are playing the game. RECOGNIZE EVERYONE is a playful and adaptive way to make a home or feel at home, and a creative and engaged way of being in the world.

Featured CAFKA projects this year will be:

  • Tipping Point, a linear sculpture suspended in the Rotunda at Kitchener City Hall by Montreal-based Andréanne Abbondanza-Bergeron
  • Negotiating +/-, a flock of inflatables at Conestoga Mall by Marcia Huyer of Toronto
  • A squeezable pink inflatable figure by New York artist Eunjung Hwang at Kitchener City Hall
  • Susan Blight will install five flags on flagpoles narrating a non-linear of the history of the land and thanking Indigenous peoples for their stewardship
  • A pop-up play experience about trust called Common by Berlin-based Marie Claire LeBlanc Flanagan
  • An ASL interpretation of ee cummings’s [i carry your heart with me (i carry it in] by Guelph media artist Dawn Matheson on the Kitchener City Hall cube
  • ARENA, an interactive sound sculpture by Berlin artist Benoît Maubrey at Lot 42 and Carl Zehr Square
  • A son et lumière on the evening of June 9 called ENSEMBLE by At the Reception: Michael McCormack, Zak Miller and Kiersten Holden of Halifax
  • A walk-in mural by New York artist Lucy Pullen at 27 Gaukel Street, look for associated RECOGNIZE EVERYONE cups at local coffee shops
  • A burning stone circle symbolizing the reclamation of the land for indigenous community members at the rare Charitable Reserve by Don Russell of Cambridge
  • A research and signage project in Mid-Town KW by Kitchener artists St. Marie φ Walker called Community Thoughts
  • A surreal chapel called Church, in the Berlin Tower Gallery of the Kitchener City Hall by Anna van Milligen of Guelph

CAFKA is again working with its festival partners Open Ears Festival of Music and Sound (May 30 to June 3) and Summer Lights (June 9). In addition to its concert program Open Ears will be presenting sound sculptures Tubelum, a PVC interactive pipe instrument by Richard Burrows and Scott Lindsay; Parable II: Personas, an interactive sound caldron by Colin Labadie at THEMUSEUM; and Long Phrases and Drones, an immersive sonic environment by Nico Muhly.

CAFKA’s curatorial partners this year are the University of Waterloo Art Gallery and University of Waterloo Department of Fine Arts who will be programming artist workshops (research creation projects) at the “Arts Quad” on the University of Waterloo’s main campus. Artist and curator Lisa Myers, and artists Golboo Amani and Johanna Householder (all from Toronto) will set up and put together their work as well as perform on site. On June 9th UWAG will host an all-day symposium featuring thematic panels including an afternoon panel with CAFKA artists. Please check the CAFKA website for details. UW's Critical Media Lab will be offering memorial services for dead cell phones, complete with a marble slab and 3D printed miniatures of the cell phones donated to the CML. The Cambridge Sculpture Garden will be featuring a new sculpture by Hamilton artist Laura Marotta and Open Sesame will be presenting an exhibition of work by Ashley Culver. In conjunction with the CAFKA.18 biennial and the Open Ears Festival of Music and Sound the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery will be featuring an important work by Rebecca Belmore, Ayum-ee-aawach Oomama-mowan: Speaking to Their Mother (1991) and new work by CAFKA.18 artist Susan Blight. The exhibition will be curated by Lisa Myers.

CAFKA will be collaborating with the True North Waterloo conference at Lot 42 in Kitchener where Benoît Maubrey will be assembling his interactive sound sculpture ARENA. ARENA will be comprised of over 300 working speakers built into a semi-circular three-tier amphitheatre. The amphitheatre will be at once a functional sculpture that one can sit on as well as doubling as a gigantic PA system. Provision will be made so that anyone can plug into ARENA with a 1/4-inch or 1/8-inch phone jack or connect via Bluetooth. CAFKA will be scheduling open sessions where individuals or groups can sign-up free of charge to perform with ARENA. Stay tuned for further details.

ARENA will be on exhibition at True North Waterloo from May 29 to May 31 after which it will it will be moved to Carl Zehr Square in front of Kitchener City Hall. ARENA has been made possible in part with the support of Celebrate Ontario.

The CAFKA Opening Reception will take place on Saturday, June 2, 7 PM, at Kitchener City Hall. The reception will be catered and licensed and is free to all. Following the opening reception will be the CAFKA Artist Party at 44 Gaukel Street, Kitchener, featuring DJs Liam Bristow, Aaron Francis, Mila Sevo and with special guests Robert Dayton and Marie Claire Leblanc Flanagan. Tickets at the door are $20/PWYC.

CAFKA is a non-profit, artist-run charitable organization that is supported by its members and donors. CAFKA.18 is made possible with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, City of Kitchener, Celebrate Ontario, Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation - Musagetes Fund, Ontario Arts Council, Region of Waterloo Arts Fund, and City of Waterloo.


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For more information please contact Gordon Hatt, Executive Director at
(519) 744-5123 or visit





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