Zachary Ayotte, Artist – Edmonton

Zachary Ayotte‘s practice is rooted in photography and photographic principles. He was born in Yellowknife and currently lives in Edmonton. After graduating from the University of Alberta in 2004 he went on to study photography at the North Alberta Institute of Technology. He is interested in the limits of seeing and the relationship between what is seen and what is invisible. He uses bodies and spaces to explore power and repression in various forms. In 2012, he helped self-publish¬†At the Same Time¬†with five other artists in Canada and the United Kingdom. He has exhibited work at the Art Gallery of Alberta, SNAP gallery, the Canadian Lesbian & Gay Archives, and the CONTACT Photography Festival. His solo exhibition¬†BAMF¬†is on display at Latitude 53 until April 30.

1. A Dark and Winding Road

Last year I read¬†Ottessa Moshfegh‘s collection of short stories¬†Homesick for Another World. She has this way of writing that makes each sentence feel like it‚Äôs telling you something but also hinting at something else hidden beneath the surface. One of the stories in the book, titled¬†A Dark and Winding Road,¬†combines elements of the body, masculinity, and self-perception in a way that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about.

2. Terminus Drift

If you go back and watch the trailer for¬†Blade Runner 2049, at the very start you will hear three notes from the first song on Joshua Sabin’s¬†Terminus Drift. Those three notes led me to buy a vinyl copy of his album and I’ve been listening to it ever since. His label,¬†Subtext Recordings, does a better job of describing it than I ever could:

‚ÄúSirens reverberating through station tunnels, fluctuating harmonics of subway engines, echoing tannoy systems, piercing screams of electromagnetic fields. The sonic material of this album is composed exclusively of field-recordings captured in transit through Kyoto, Tokyo, and Berlin, in addition to electromagnetic field recordings captured in Glasgow and Edinburgh. By interrogating the sonic properties of our physical environment,¬†Terminus Drift¬†imagines the sonic landscapes of these dualistically navigable ‘cyberspaces’ we transiently create and move through interacting with our world.‚ÄĚ

3. Swimming

I swam competitively when I was younger and still go to the pool a few times a week. I live close to a fifty-meter pool in Edmonton that is in a¬†great building¬†built by Peter Hemingway. I’ve always loved the feeling of being underwater and how it can change how you relate to your senses. It helps clear my head and wake me up. When I travel I love to see what pools and swimming cultures are like in different places. Swimming gear is easy to travel with and I like the design elements that go into swimming pools and the structures that house them.

4. Attention

I’ve become a bit obsessed with the way we think about attention and what it means for our values and beliefs. It is hard for most of us to admit that we often don’t have control over what we pay attention to or what we focus on, but I think most of us are at the mercy of our wandering attention from day to day. With so many things trying to grab and hold our attention, I’m curious how our values shift and what things we are not paying attention to.

5. Chihei Hatakeyama

Chihei Hatakeyama is an electronic musician from Japan. His music often consists of slow, sustained chords that vary and shift. I listen to it a lot when I work in the studio or go for dog walks. It manages to take the urgency out of my body and makes focus feel effortless. A lot of his album covers are minimal and muted landscapes that feel like perfect visual descriptors for his music.