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Tough Guy Mountain: Escape from Intern Purgatory

18 Nov – 17 Dec 2021

Eyelevel is thrilled to announce Escape From Intern Purgatory, a multi-sensory, cross-platform project by the beloved artist collective Tough Guy Mountain!

Intern Purgatory tells stories about the first days of unpaid internship, where brands come from, and the end of capitalism. Tough Guy Mountain plays the role of an omnipotent corporation which mines intangible resources such as brands and labour as though they are commodities. The character of the unpaid intern, played by the visitors, is central to all aspects of Intern Purgatory as it represents workers who are increasingly alienated from their own labour, and the wealth that they gain for others.

Join us online to explore this project and participate in interactive performances and gameplay. 

The artists of Tough Guy Mountain will also be giving an artist talk at 2482 Maynard Street while they launch Escape from Intern Purgatory, the AR-compatible comic book!

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About the Artists:

Tough Guy Mountain is a collective project that explores and depicts the absurdities of our socioeconomic reality. It’s a fictional story about a company called Tough Guy Mountain, presented as a deity-like entity presiding over capitalism by treating brands/marketing as a resource that can be mined from the ground and sold to companies and people. The characters are mostly unpaid interns and powerful executives. The stories about their day-to-day operations and relationships are told through a mix of theatre, video games, live installation and virtual reality. The role of the unpaid intern is central to all the stories because it represents people who are increasingly alienated from their labour and alienated from their labour’s relationship to making money. Since the stories are created by artists, there is a specific focus on the creative class’s relationship to capital. Ultimately, Tough Guy Mountain is imagined as a hyperbolic simulation of capitalism’s transition into postcapitalism or whatever comes next.

Iain Soder is a Canadian artist working in theatre, game design, and technology. Their work investigates present-day power structures and re-imagines them as comedic and dramatic narratives with characters both clownish and complex. They co-created the Tough Guy Mountain Artist Collective (2012-present), and the Brandscape Artist-Run Center (2016-2021). Iain studied Intermedia at NSCAD, UX Design at Brainstation, puppetry at The Bread and Puppet Theatre, and vocal performance at Mount Allison. Their work has been featured by The Art Gallery of Ontario, Powerplant Gallery, Art Toronto, The Summerworks Performance Festival, Rhizome, The New Gallery, Interaccess, and Trinity Square Video.

Cat Bluemke is an artist and educator for digital technologies. She works primarily with video games, performance, and virtual and augmented reality, through which she explores the dichotomy of work and play in contemporary culture. She graduated in 2018 with her MFA in Design for Emerging Technologies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has been exhibited internationally at institutions such as the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, Kunsternes Hus (Norway), and the New Museum (NY) through Rhizome. She currently lives and works in Treaty 4 Territory for the MacKenzie Art Gallery as their Digital Operations Coordinator.

Jonathan Carroll is an Augmented-, Virtual-, and Mixed Reality artist and developer creating games and software. With a foundation in performance art, his practice evolved from creating applications to facilitate audience-performer interaction to focus on building engaging interactive experiences for mobile, desktop, and headset platforms. His projects explore concepts of power present in the fields of art and technology, emphasizing opportunities to hack existing hierarchies. His work has been shown at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and through Rhizome in partnership with the New Museum. He currently lives in Treaty 4 Territory, where he works for the MacKenzie Art Gallery as their Digital Programs coordinator. 

Also featuring:

Dallas Flett-Wapash (software developer)

Nic Wilson (bookbinder/print technician)

Esther Splett (performer)

Maya Ben David (performer)

​​Sam Roberts (performer)

Cale Weir (voice actor)

Hilarey Cowan (Studio Assistant)

This project is made possible with the support of Canada Council for the Arts Digital Now program