Ellen Bleiwas & Emily DiCarlo: the hole fits the worm, but only as it moves

the hole fits the worm, but only as it moves, 2023, Installation view at the plumb. Photo: Alison Postma.

the hole fits the worm, but only as it moves
Ellen Bleiwas and Emily DiCarlo

Curated by Justine Kohleal

Guided Tour and Artist Talk: Saturday, December 2 at 3 p.m.
On view until December 3, 2023
the plumb, Toronto

the hole fits the worm, but only as it moves brings together new and recent work by Toronto-based artists Ellen Bleiwas and Emily DiCarlo, including a video and sculptural installation with curator Justine Kohleal. Collectively, the artworks in the exhibition mobilize so-called ‘unproductive’ actions, including those associated with stillness and slowness, to interrogate and make felt neoliberal temporality and spatiality. Durational works like Bleiwas’ Got Up (2021-22) and DiCarlo’s Talking Clock Choir (2022) harness repetition as a means to resist immediacy, perpetual growth, and productivity, what DiCarlo describes as the “tenets of late-capitalist pursuits.”1 The very ordinariness of the material—365 photographs of Bleiwas’ unmade bed and four PA speakers announcing noon from various national and international locations, respectively—speak to the artists’ desire to find meaning in the quotidian and highlight the ways in which difference can be preserved and encouraged through iterative actions.

Ellen Bleiwas, Emily DiCarlo, and Justine Kohleal, Throat, 2023. LED screen, video, sound. 37.75 x 31.25 inches. Photo: Alison Postma.

Bleiwas, DiCarlo, and Kohleal’s emergent collaboration Throat (2023) explores the mechanisms that make bodies both invisible and hyper-visible in Toronto’s financial district: invisible through the PATH system, a subterranean, commercial pedway spanning more than 30 kilometres that enables workers to avoid contact with the ‘outside’ world; and, paradoxically, hyper-visible through the creation of the financial district itself, which requires bodily presence to justify its existence. At our current historical moment, which since March of 2020 has seen global inflation, an affiliated cost of living crisis, and a growing labour movement, it is more important than ever, as Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing says, to explore “the edges of capitalist discipline [and] scalability,” looking towards the empty(ing) towers and other “abandoned resource plantations” to find life in our capitalist ruins.2 This exhibition thus explores the problem of embodiment within late-stage capitalism—from the standardization of clock time and space to ways of seeing and being in the world—drawing upon dissonances in the rhythm of the everyday to provide avenues for glitch and resistance at the level of the sensing, feeling body.

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

Ellen Bleiwas, Got Up, 2021-2022. Inkjet prints, ink. Dimensions variable. Photo: Alison Postma.

Ellen Bleiwas’ sculptural practice is rooted in space, slowness, and sensory perception. Based in Toronto, she holds an MFA from York University and a Master of Architecture from McGill University. She has recently participated in artist residencies including NARS Foundation (New York), Robert McLaughlin Gallery (Oshawa, Canada), and Studio Faire (Nérac, France). This body of work was produced with the support of the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council, and the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Arts Council.

Emily DiCarlo’s interdisciplinary practice considers site, temporality and collaboration as the foundational principles for meaning-making, connecting the infrastructure of time with the intimacy of duration. She writes about the sociopolitical implications of predominant time structures in contrast to alternative temporalities through feminist phenomenology, queer time theory and more-than-human ontologies.

Justine Kohleal is a curator and writer working at the intersection of contemporary art, museum studies, and boredom. Based in Amiskwacîwâskahikan (Edmonton), she holds a curatorial MFA from OCAD University and is pursuing her doctorate at the University of Alberta. Kohleal has curated exhibitions at The Power Plant (Toronto), Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Kunstinstituut Melly (Rotterdam), and dc3 Art Projects (Edmonton), and has written for Esse arts + opinions, Prefix Photo Magazine, and ESPACE art actuel.

Emily DiCarlo, Talking Clock Choir, 2022. Four-channel sound installation, PA speakers, modulated talking clock public service announcements every half hour. Dimensions variable. Photo: Alison Postma.

For additional information please contact: emilydicarlo@gmail.com and justinekohleal@gmail.com

the plumb
1655 Dufferin St, lower level, entrance through purple door in side alley.
Saturday & Sunday (2 – 5 p.m.) or by appointment

Accessibility: the plumb does not include a level entrance or ramp access to enter.
Directions: available here


1. Emily DiCarlo, “Transcending Temporal Variance: Time-Specificity, Long Distance Performance and the Intersubjective Site,” Time in Variance, vol. 17 (2021), 273.
2. Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins. Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2015, 282.