Automatisme Ambulatoire: Hysteria, Imitation, Performance


My Barbarian, Hystera Theater, 2019, mixed-media installation. Image courtesy of the Artists.

Automatisme Ambulatoire: Hysteria, Imitation, Performance

Diane Borsato, Pauline Boudry/Renate Lorenz, Claire Cunningham, Brendan Fernandes, Every Ocean Hughes, and the collective My Barbarian, made up of Malik Gaines, Jade Gordon, and Alexandro Segade

6 September to 6 November 2019
Vernissage: Friday 13 September, 7:00 pm
Symposium: Saturday 14 September

Curated by Amanda Cachia

“Automatisme ambulatoire,” or ambulatory automatism, is an expression that conjures notions of the compulsive traveler, while simultaneously implying irresistible urges and movements, such as grimaces, tics, and gestures, often linked to physical pathologies. The artists in this exhibition were invited to consider such gestures as a performative style, one that might work to subvert, undo, transform and reimagine the body and language, both real and imagined. Featuring six new works commissioned specifically for this project, the exhibition aims to question, challenge, and complicate the ethical and moral boundaries of “imitation” and how the so-called “pathologized” body might be considered in new, contemporary social and cultural contexts.


Diane Borsato, Gems and Minerals, 2018, video, 25:00 mins. Image courtesy of the Artist.

Unexpected Movements: A Symposium for Automatisme Ambulatoire

Organized by Jane Dryden, Department of Philosophy and the Owens Art Gallery in partnership with the Centre for Canadian Studies, Mount Allison University.

Panelists: Amanda Cachia, Eliza Chandler, Kelly Fritsch, Alyson Patsavas, Joshua St. Pierre

This one-day symposium features curator Amanda Cachia along with four Disability Studies scholars from Canada and the United States discussing their work in the context of the exhibition Automatisme Ambulatoire: Hysteria, Imitation, Performance. Recognizing that our society imposes certain norms and expectations on bodies, language, and movement, this symposium explores ways to challenge, question, and undermine such norms as a means of welcoming the unexpected and reclaiming space for all bodies.

Registration Deadline: 1 September 2019
All events and meals are free, but registration is required.
Register Online:


Owens Art Gallery
Mount Allison University
61 York Street
Sackville, NB E4L 1E1

506 364 2574

Monday to Friday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Saturday and Sunday, 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Admission is Free

We would like to acknowledge, honour, and pay respect to the traditional owners and custodians (from all four directions) of the land on which we gather. It is upon the unceded, ancestral lands of the Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik Nations that Mount Allison University is built. While this area is known as Sackville, NB, it is part of the greater territory of Mi’kma’ki. This territory is covered by the “Treaties of Peace and Friendship,” which the Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik first signed with the British Crown in 1725.

The Owens Art Gallery acknowledges the generous support of all its funders. This is one of the 200 exceptional projects funded through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter program. With this $35M investment, the Council supports the creation and sharing of the arts in communities across Canada.

This project was also funded by Mount Allison University, the New Brunswick Department of Tourism Heritage and Culture, and the Government of Canada (Young Canada Works in Heritage Organizations).

The Owens is partially accessible. The stairs from the entrance nearest the University Chapel have a handrail. There is also ramp access at this entrance; however, the ramp is steep. The stairs to the entrance off York Street do not have a handrail. The main floor of the Owens is wheelchair accessible. Our second-floor gallery and cisgender bathrooms are located in the basement and are not accessible. Two flights of stairs lead to each of these floors. The Owens welcomes guide dogs and other service animals. Large print copies of wall labels are available on Kindles for use in the galleries. There are two, reserved, accessible parking spaces on the York Street side of the Gallery and one in the circular driveway adjacent to the Gallery.

For detailed Venue Access and Interpretive Services information related to this exhibition and symposium, please visit

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