[ISEA2011] Paper: Tegan Linda Smith – Haul Out: Goodbyes


Haul Out – Goodbyes riff off the proliferation of Hauls and shopping exposés where teens show off their recent purchases. I began these Youtube postings of videos about stuff on November 26th – Black Friday, or conversely, Buy Nothing Day.

The stuff I showcase is not new, rather it is about to be given away. From the opposing side of consumer joy, I deal with bad shopping habits, accumulations of useless things and general wastefulness. The persona I have created allows me to imagine indulging in incomprehensible anxieties and attachments of someone who cannot ‘let go’ of possessions.

On an ISEA panel I would present video excerpts to discuss strategies for using the internet, the information highway, and privately-owned social networking sites, with regard to:

  1. Mixing purposes: Artistic Practice/Social Commentary/Self Promotion.
  2. Examining notions of self and morality through statistics of visibility: this is my reality show and I am performing a version of my life.
  3. Comparing material objects versus digital data, and dissonant feelings about dropping each in the trash.

I comment on taking responsibility for accumulated garbage, while resisting – or not – the pressure to buy more. As I view my image, I become concerned about how I look. I will have to buy new clothes, make-up, and technical equipment to improve production.

Popular young women with the most ‘youtube’ hits are beginning to make shopping careers from sponsored Hauls, hiring Hollywood agents and being interviewed on national television. Flirting with cyber-celebrity, I keep track of my Haul Out hits and posts statistics on facebook, twitter and my website.

This video project is part of a larger body of work, Tender Loving Stuff, in which I explore hoarding and wasting as they relate to psychological attachment, economic prosperity, poetic inspiration, and transgression in contemporary social practices. The desire to use virtual realms to examine the excesses of consumerism is the starting point of TLS. As a result, I butt against cyber overindulgence and my own electronic junk pile: will my electronic trash end up with “twitter” tweets in the Library of Congress or in someone else’s mash-ups?

  • Tegan Linda Smith places manufactured items at the centre of her current videos, which incorporate and circulate across social media. Smith’s artistic practice involves auto-archeological and contemporary materialist ideas such as explorations of found objects as emblems of social dimensions: personal measurements, stories and histories. Her multimedia work includes drawing, mapping, photography, kinetic sculpture and video.  The Haul Out – Goodbyes are part of a larger project called Tender Loving Stuff, in which she continues to deal with habitual self imaging, consumption and power relations. Smith completed her BA and BFA at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon and MFA at York University, Toronto. She taught for over a decade at universities and colleges, most recently at the Toronto School of Art. Currently her focus is on independent projects. She has exhibited work in Italy, the USA and Japan, and across Canada.  tegansmithca.wordpress.com. Video: Haul Out 8: Unboxing and Demo

Full text (PDF) p. 2274-2279