Lauren Gabrielle Fournier: “Auto” Theory

The Truck Guys by Lauren Gabrielle Fournier, 2022

Vtape re-opens!
“AUTO” THEORY an exhibition by Lauren Gabrielle Fournier

OPENING TUESDAY March 29, 2022 6-9 EDT
Bachir/Yerex Presentation Space
4th floor, 401 Richmond St. W.

Exhibition continues March 30 – April 23, 2022
Tuesday – Saturday 12-5pm EDT
Walk-ins welcome, no pre-booking necessary

We are thrilled to be welcoming in-person visitors to our exhibition “Auto” Theory by Lauren Gabrielle Fournier. With distance so omni-pressent on the Canadian prairies, and the car-as-cocoon acting as a metaphor for the pandemic experience many of us shared, Fournier has produced works that speak to our most recent communal lock-down past, and act as a bridge to this – as yet unknown – new future we are moving into.

She writes: “This exhibition brings together work that I made during lockdown, when I was back home on Treaty 4 lands, Saskatchewan. I returned to the prairies with the yearning to better understand the culture from which I came—a white, working-class culture of settler ancestors from a range of countries, including Romania, Ukraine, Bohemia, and Turkey, who had seemingly embraced being assimilated to the dominant Anglo culture. I asked: ‘What constitutes white-settler culture? How can I approach this culture from the perspective of a critical settler committed to de-colonial work?’ When working on my artists’ book Critical Booch, I was struck by the Decolonial Meme Queens’ apt, ironic post about white settlers: “When your kombucha SCOBY has millions of cultures but you don’t even have one.” What existed in this lack of culture?”

Guided by her background and her now class-mobile self, Lauren made these works through an auto-theoretical practice that engages her own autobiography and embodied self alongside research, theorization, and critique. But finding this method was not enough to wrestle with much of the ambiguity, uncertainty, and strangeness of what she was seeing around her, she began to play with para-fiction and humour as aesthetic strategies. The resulting site-responsive works are eerily prescient, including the anchoring work, The Truck Guys, which was shot back in 2020, in which Fournier performs as a conspiracy theorist who sits in her car in suburban parking lots, convinced that a secret cabal of pick-up truck drivers are behind all of the world’s ills. This auto-theory becomes an “auto” theory, where settler culture is analyzed through the symbols of automobiles and trucks. And like sitting in a car waiting, there is the pervasive feeling of idling—tying in to the affects of these past two and a half years, and acknowledging the impacts of Indigenous-led land-based movements like Idle No More.

List of works with running times:

Waiting for a Train to Pass, single-channel video (colour, sound/English), 01:23, 2022 (footage shot in 2020).

Whipping a Shitty: Or, Idling (Donuts 1), diptych of two single-channel videos (digitized super8, colour, no sound), 01:20, 2022 (footage shot in 2021).

Whipping a Shitty: Or, Idling (Donuts 2), diptych of two single-channel videos (digitized super8, colour, no sound), 01:35, 2022 (footage shot in 2021).

The Truck Guys, single-channel video (colour, sound/English), 35:06, 2022 (footage shot in 2020).

Hay Bale Devotion (Road Trip, Grieving), single-channel video (digitized super8, colour, no sound), 01:28, 2022 (footage shot in 2019).

Lauren Gabrielle Fournier (b. 1989, Regina, Saskatchewan, Treaty 4 lands) is a writer and artist-curator. She is a white settler from a working-class, low-income background and a first-generation student and scholar. She holds a PhD in English Literature and completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Visual Studies at the University of Toronto in 2021, where she has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in visual concepts and theories, art criticism, and artists’ writing. Her book Autotheory as Feminist Practice in Art, Writing, and Criticism was published by The MIT Press (2021), and has been widely featured and reviewed in such venues as The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Columbia Journal of Literary Criticism, Hyperallergic, and Art in America. In it, she proposes that work by feminist artists like Adrian Piper and many other LGBTQ2SIAA+ and BIPOC artists ought to be considered alongside a literary history of the emergent genre of “autotheory.” She has published fiction and other creative writings internationally, including the recently published short story “The Grateful Dad” in Soft Punk Magazine (London, UK, 2021): a story of class, colonialisms, and collectibles set in a blue collar neighborhood in Saskatchewan. As an artist, she works primarily in video and super8 film, drawing from queer DIY and performance for camera traditions. Her curatorial and editorial projects like Fermenting Feminism have traveled internationally and have been featured in such publications as the CBC, Die Tageszeitung, Kunstkritikk, and The New York Times. Currently, she is writing and thinking about issues related to settler colonialisms and whiteness, microbes and ecologies, class mobility, intergenerational trauma, and the vagus nerve. Her debut novella The Barista Boys is a hybrid work of auto-fiction and literary criticism, and is forthcoming through Fiction Advocate in San Francisco (2022).

Please note that for now we are still only allowing 6 visitors to enter the gallery at a time. No pre-bookings required.

While masks are no longer required by the province, our building mandates that masks be worn in all public areas of the building.

We also ask that all visitors:

  • Self-assess before coming to the gallery
  • Postpone your visit if you are not feeling well
  • Use hand sanitizer upon entering the gallery
  • Maintain physical distancing within the gallery
  • Sign in at the desk before entering the gallery
  • Follow staff recommendations


401 Richmond St., suite 452
Toronto, ON M5V 3A8
416 351-1317

Vtape acknowledges the generous support of all of our funders including The Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council.

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Vtape is an Accessible Venue with level entrance at the EAST end of the building on Richmond St. West