I Can Hear My Echo

June 23 ,  5:00 pm

 —  9:00 pm

All times are listed in Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)

Heehyun Choi, Sara Cwynar, Laïla Mestari

Self Assessment


This brief program will screen four times on the hour from 5:00PM - 9:00PM.

Please click "Get Tickets" above and select your prefered showtime when checking out.


Yes, I can hear my echo and the words are coming back on… on top of me. The words are spilling out of my head and then returning into my ear.


It puts a distance between the words and their apprehension or their comprehension. The words coming back seem slow. They don't seem to have the same forcefulness as when I speak them. I think it's also slowing me down. I think that it makes my thinking slower. I have a double-take on myself. I am once removed from myself. I am thinking and hearing and filling up a vocal void. I find that I have trouble making connections between thoughts…


—Nancy Holt and Richard Serra, Boomerang, 1974. www.moma.org/collection/works/314418

Video at www.ubu.com/film/serra_boomerang.html


The videos of which this screening is compiled are themselves compiled of collected images and sounds. Artists and filmmakers Heehyun Choi, Sara Cwynar, and Laïla Mestari consider contemporary image-capturing practices highlighting the joy, anxiety, and utility of limitless, unmediated, isolated yet interconnected access to images both online and AFK (away from the keyboard). 


The title of the screening is taken from a moment in Heehyun Choi’s Birdsaver Report Volume 2 when Heehyun herself quotes Nancy Holt and Richard Serra’s 1974 video Boomerang. In that video, Nancy attempts to speak aloud while her voice is recorded and played back to her through headphones. The slight lag—or glitch—in the loop's timing mimics the wait during which a voice travels across a void to find a solid surface before returning as an echo to the speaker. Causing Nancy to slow down, recess, and speak carefully, these reflected sounds interrupt the action of speaking that caused them in the first place. 


Taking the metaphor of the echo a step further: What might an echo be for a visual culture driven by images that become disassociated from their authors? Images that do not have a solid surface to reverberate from and be reflected upon, but are instead absorbed, consumed, and collected by the publics? 


— This program is part of the suite ok to rest curated by Jaclyn Quaresma.


Laïla Mestari


I anchor my gaze in the eye of the camera. These women are Houariyartes and their music awakens a memory within my blood. Now, my internal dance has irregular rhythms and strange postures. It is situated in between homelands and defined by contradictory lines of thought. My song is made of accumulated materials and images crashing against each other. Now, every element, once revealed, conceals another. I find myself entangled while unraveling the narrative threads of my past.

Red Film

Sara Cwynar
CANADA | 2018 | 16 MM>DIGITAL | 13 MIN


Sara Cwynar’s Red Film, 2018, continues the artist’s meditations on the intersection of identity and capitalism. Cwynar quotes writers and philosophers as she pulls focus on the color-coding of mass production: of cosmetics, shoes, and the red muscle car. Red Film critiques capital’s persuasive, constant stream of pressures on women to conform and consume; it questions the effects of this torrent on the self; and it points to the use of "high art" to sell aspirational merchandise, as distilled in a “Cézanne” branded jewelry box.  


The film’s rich layering of vertiginous content - including multiple voices reading a range of quotations; the artist, upside down, self-reflexively addressing the camera; and a group of women in red performing choreographed gestures - produces an almost Brechtian estrangement, where, in this instance, the sense of a concrete, autonomous self is fragmented and destabilized. Cwynar has written:


“Trying to speak, but everything you say is something someone told you, or everything you have is something someone already made for you. Being born into a world where so many things are prescribed already: how you should look, what you should say, how something as intangible as the color red is going to be reproduced. All the codes and orders are not your own but you know them so intimately you are of them as a woman under capitalism. Operating in cycles that feel already decided for you in advance, buying and selling, improving, speaking, not speaking.”

Birdsaver Report Volume 2

Heehyun Choi


Birds continue to collide onto glass walls, and humans collect, measure, and analyze to prevent it. Various attempts to observe, perceive and represent the reality are prevalent in the history of art, film, and media. Do human vision and bird vision lie in the same world? Are we able to see the same image as the other?

  • Born in Casablanca, Morocco, Laïla Mestari lives and works in Chicago and Montreal. Driven by a continuous dialogue between the visual and performing arts, her autobiographical practice touches on themes such as diasporic identity, ecofeminism and transcorporeality. Resulting from collage and assemblage, her work takes the form of photographs, textile works, installations, video-performances and drawings that highlight the surreal overlap of life and fiction, of the intimate and the political, the primitive and the digital, the banal and the marvelous.

  • Heehyun Choi is a moving image artist in Los Angeles, California and Seoul, South Korea. Choi’s works are grounded on the interest in discussing cinema from a structuralist viewpoint and exploring the materiality and virtuality of image.

  • Sara Cwynar (Vancouver, BC, Canada, 1985) currently lives and works in New York. Her work in photography, video and book-making involves a constant archiving and re-presentation of collected visual materials. Cwynar’s works are in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, and The National Gallery of Canada.

Co-presented with

  • Toronto Arab Film Festival
  • Art Museum

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  • Canada Council for the Arts
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Images Festival would like to acknowledge

The land on which we gather and organize is the territory of the Anishinaabe, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, the Huron-Wendat, and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. Today, the meeting place of Toronto is home to many Indigenous peoples.

A territorial acknowledgement can demonstrate a coming to awareness, and provoke thought and reflection, all of which are essential in beginning to establish reciprocal relations. This acknowledgement should not function as closure, resignation, or acceptance of the structural conditions of settler colonialism that remain in effect today. The Images Festival will continue to ask what it means for us to keep open a spirit of sustained inquiry into the complexities of our context.