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Winners Announced for Emerging Curators Prize

Alison Cooley and Natasha Chaykowski have been awarded the Elora Centre for the Arts‘ second annual Middlebrook Prize for Young Canadian Curators. Their proposal, entitled “I’m Feeling Lucky,” was selected by a panel of three judges and seeks to query Google’s capacity as a curatorial tool.

“We wanted to know: can an exhibition be curated using Google search?” Cooley and Chaykowski wrote in their exhibition proposal. “And if so, what are the implications regarding knowledge formation, taste-making, and other conceptual pillars of curatorial practice?”

They see the exhibition—which will take place at the Elora Centre for the Arts from October 11 to December 1—as examining history and collective memory, and as an exercise in questioning curatorial authority. The title, “I’m Feeling Lucky,” is a reference to the now-extinct gamble option on the Google search page. Using a formulaic combination of keywords based upon things like region, medium and memory, the curators identified a number of artists who actually bear intricate and surprising connections.

Both Cooley and Chaykowski are recent MA graduates of York University. Both also have connections to Canadian Art—Cooley was an intern with the magazine from September 2013 to May 2014, while Chaykowski won the Canadian Art Foundation Editorial Residency Prize for summer 2014.

The Middlebrook Prize for Young Canadian Curators was set up last year to challenge and encourage young curators by offering entrants a chance to create an innovative exhibition at the Elora Centre for the Arts. The inaugural prize was won by Katherine Dennis who curated the exhibition “As Perennial As The Grass.”

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