Aislinn Thomas

January 12-February 10, 2018

Admission is free and open to the public. 


Exhibition Description

Dup-boug-a-dad is a video installation that is curious about different ways of being in the world. Its form and content address the body, and some of the many ways of being bodied. In parts intervention, documentary, document and music video, it features David Gunn, a young man who has a physical and an intellectual disability.

David loves cheerleading. Living in rural Nova Scotia, as he does, his main access to the sport is through YouTube. The footage in Dup-boug-a-dad was taken when David practiced with the University of Waterloo varsity and junior varsity cheerleading teams in 2015.

David loves to sing. Being deaf, as he is, he sings in his own language. The song featured in Dup-boug-a-dad is, at least in part, about lifting a cheerleader up with one arm. David sang it while standing on a platform that vibrated in response to the sounds he made, translating his voice into a felt, tactile sensation allowing him to “hear.”

Dup-boug-a-dad takes its name from one of David’s frequent refrains, and when entering the gallery the first thing one encounters is the sound of his voice. David’s singing draws the viewer towards a video projection and two vibrotactile platforms. These simple plywood affordances make it possible for David’s voice to be not only heard, but experienced haptically.

Dup-boug-a-dad is a very physical, sensorially rich experience that gives viewers lots of space to encounter words and sensations that—like other words and sensations—both communicate clearly and not at all. It suggests that this ambiguity is generative; that in spite (or because) of this uncertainty, we continue to sense and make sense of what we see, feel and hear. And that there is value in this.



Aislinn Thomas is an interdisciplinary artist whose practice includes video, performance, installation, and text-based work. She culls material from everyday experiences and relationships, exploring themes of vulnerability, empathy, possibility and failure. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is the recipient of several grants and awards including a C.D. Howe Scholarship for Arts and Design, a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Masters Scholarship, and grants from the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. She currently lives in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. You can see more of her work at