Critical Mass: A Centre for Contemporary Art was pleased to present an installation by emerging artist Felix Kalmenson earlier this month.

Kalmenson was born in 1987 in St Petersburg, Russia.  Now a Toronto based artist,  Kalmenson works in a variety of media including installation, film, photography, and collage, within public space, as well  gallery settings. His work engages in conversations surrounding publicness, memory, myth and how these are mediated by complex social, economic, and urban landscapes.

Kalmenson’s installation, Hot Air (Instant Nationalism) was specially commissioned to coincide with Canada Day celebrations earlier in July, 2013. The installation was part of our ongoing project titled “Identification Papers”,  which consists of an evolving series of installations in storefronts along Port Hope’s main street, all exploring various aspects of “identity”.

Photo Credit: Felix Kalmenson

Hot Air is composed of two hot air hand dryers that are activated by motion sensors. As pedestrians pass the storefront, the hand dryers turn on and wave the adjacent Canadian flag. Hot Air invites the viewer to consider the meaning of citizenship and patriotism in the context of contemporary democracy. Without some kind of interaction from onlookers and passers-by, the flag quite literally will not wave.

Photo Credit: Liz Parkinson            
Identification Papers is made possible by a grant from Ontario Arts Council. Additional funding for Kalmenson’s installation was provided by Critical Mass supporter, Charles Wickett.
Visit Felix Kalmeson’s website.
Gil McElroy’s Akimbo review of Part 1 of Identification Papers here