Kevin Schmidt is a British Columbia–based artist whose multidisciplinary practice embodies the do-it-yourself (DIY) sensibilities of an amateur inventor. The exhibition takes a focus from Schmidt’s DIY Hifi (2014), which presents an audiophile listening room featuring gigantic stereo speakers, a kit tube amp and furniture built by Schmidt himself, based on plans posted by online audiophile enthusiasts and published in DIY manuals. DIY Hifi takes the refined experience of audiophile listening, usually presented in private domestic settings, and reimagines this as public sculpture. The exhibition includes new sculptural and video works in which Schmidt explores, in turn; the potential of RGB lighting strips as advertising display and the reconfiguration of home appliances to generate power in the wilderness. Taken as a whole, the exhibition presents Schmidt’s exploration of DIY knowledge production, pointing at both the utopian aspects of wide distribution of knowledge over the Internet and the simultaneous pressures to commodify and brand knowledge that circulates through this system.
Organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and curated by Grant Arnold, Audain Curator of British Columbia Art
Jane Irwin and Ross Hill