Cosmo_Logic –
critical quantum geographies of the imperceptible

Workshop and Critical Excursion with Jol Thomson

Thursday, October 10, 12-9pm

Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto Mississauga
Cobble Beach, Lakeside Park, Mississauga
University of Toronto Planetarium, Toronto


#Eco_Techno_Cosmo_Logic – critical quantum geographies of the imperceptible
Workshop and Critical Excursion with Jol Thomson
Thursday, October 10, 12–9pm

Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto Mississauga
Cobble Beach, Lakeside Park, Mississauga
University of Toronto Planetarium, Toronto


Current and ongoing climates of inequality and breakdown—sometimes articulated in terms like Anthropo-/Capitalo-cene—require truly novel forms of sense and description if they are to be critically addressed. With a focus on relationality (and its valuing of difference and multiplicity) this critical workshop will be structured around the logics, contents, and contexts of artistic researcher Jol Thomson’s fieldworks with remote Landscape-Laboratories: vast experimental cosmological observatories—cubic kilometre assemblages developed to sense the imperceptible.

Working along the edges of matter and meaning with/in experimental (astro-) particle physics and neutrino and dark matter detection, Thomson shares his approach to multiple ongoing fieldworks and his research in critical theory, contemporary physics, environmental studies, new materialisms, and the histories and philosophies of science. How can a sensitive approach to these complex holographic sites open us towards the more-than-non-human?  Can the powerful histories and practices of science and technology be resuscitated as allies in critical environmental and decolonial thought? 

We will be rethinking environments, times, agents, and spaces, while foregrounding the boundary making processes at the heart of our contemporary crises. Sci-fi-esque Landscape-Laboratories and their weird, imperceptible objects of detection offer substantial anarchic critiques of the foundations of objective rationality itself, the very logics of Western physics and metaphysics. With Thomson’s critical quantum geography of the imperceptible, that is unafraid of the ineffable, we will explore nonscalar sites and encounter unbound situations that challenge traditional sense, logic, and binaries. These encounters will help us to feel and confront the “thought that dwells at the edge of thought, another mode altogether."[1]

1. Vinciane Despret, What Would Animals Say If We Asked The Right Questions?, (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016)


Transportation and meals provided.
FREE shuttle service is available from UTSG (Jackman Humanities Building) to UTM for the workshop.

This is a mobile workshop. Participants are advised to prepare for light outdoor activity and some walking on unpaved terrain. The event will run rain-or-shine. For questions about accessibility and accommodations, please contact blackwood.gallery@utoronto.ca or 905-828-3789.


Open to graduate students, senior-level undergraduates, and emerging artists and researchers with an interest in the intersections between critical theory, physics, environmental studies, artistic research, and histories of science.

APPLY NOW. Register for the workshop with a brief expression of interest by October 6, 2019.

Spaces are limited. Maximum 15 participants.

Artist Biography

Jol Thomson is an artist, sound designer, and researcher interested in the potential to bypass dominant Western rationality through critical engagements with the matter(s) and meanings of contemporary (particle) physics. Thomson completed his HBA at the University of Toronto in 2009 and received his meisterschüler in Fine Art from Professor Simon Starling at the Städelschule, Frankfurt aM in 2013. He was recently awarded an international studentship to pursue a practice-based PhD at the University of Westminster in London, where he is currently based. Between 2014–2016 he developed and taught an experimental interdisciplinary arts pedagogy for architects with artist Tomás Saraceno at the Technical University of Braunschweig in Germany. In 2016 he won the MERU Art*Science Award for his audio-visual composition G24|0vßß. That year he was a fellow of the Akademie Schloss Solitude and in 2017 he was a resident of the Bosch GmbH’s Centre for Research and Advanced Engineering, Stuttgart. Recent screenings and selected exhibitions include Recontres Internationales: Contemporary Moving Image, Pompidou, Paris and HKW, Berlin (2019);at Quantum Real: Spectral Exchange, Exhibition Research Lab, Liverpool (2019); Galleria d’Arte Moderne e Contemporanea, Bergamo (2019); Blind Faith: Between the Cognitive and the Visceral in Contemporary Art at the Haus Der Kunst, Munich (2018); Open Codes: Living in Digital Worlds, ZKM (Center for Art and Technology), Karlsruhe (2017-2018). In 2017 he published Intra-acting With the IceCube Neutrino Observatory; or, how the technosphere may come to matter, with Dr. Sasha Engelmann in a special issue of the Anthropocene Review.


The Blackwood Gallery gratefully acknowledges the operating support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the University of Toronto Mississauga. Additional support is provided by the Department of Visual Studies (UTM) through the Graduate Expansion Fund.

Related Exhibition

Logics of Sense 1: Investigations
September 4-October 19, 2019