Campus Life

SEERious Sideshow truly an indulgent spectacle

A unique, entertaining and thought-provoking experience awaits those who choose to attend the Thursday, Oct. 24 SEERious Sideshow and Dr. Soanes' Closing Reception, featuring M.E.D.I.U.M. in the Atrium of the University Centre for the Arts.

M.E.D.I.U.M. (Metaphysical Explorations, Divinations and Investigations Utilizing Magic) is a trio of artist-mystics comprised of magician Frater Tham, Trailer Park Psychic Char Latan and Eastern European psychic Madame Symona, who mark the closing of the Odditorium with the erection of three circus tents in the University Hall Atrium space adjacent to the gallery.

Their performances are a collision of shyster carnival and contemporary art practice, complete with séances, sin eating, captured faeries in bell jars, and prophetic readings of Turkish coffee grounds.

While seeking out futures determined by ancient numerology, or peering deeply into a scrying mirror, visitors may hear the distant ringing of a spirit bell, announcing the arrival of presences unseen. Amidst this presentation of superstition, spiritualism and the paranormal, visitors are left to debate the veracity of what they’re being shown; is this a sly, art-insider joke? Are M.E.D.I.U.M.’s resident mystics pulling one over on the visitor, and if so, would that make it any less fun? How seriously are participants meant to receive a fortune that is delivered via country-western ballad?

Each spooky interaction with whispered clairvoyance or otherworldly ectoplasm is countered by sleight of hand tricks and framed portraits of the Sacred Heart of Elvis Presley. In the brief moment of initial encounter, where excitement, inquisition, amusement and goosebumps meet, M.E.D.I.U.M. holds sway over the visitor – the spectacle contains indulgent play and surprises that are not often found in “serious” contemporary art spaces.

Whether the experience is held as genuine or faked, M.E.D.I.U.M.’s careful navigation of the line between legitimacy and hoax gives visitors the agency to arrive at their own conclusions.

The closing reception runs from 4 to 6 p.m. and is open to the public.