Behind These Strange Sensations are Hidden Structures

Max Lester
Video, monitors, scaffolding, headphones, inkjet t-shirt transfer paper, vinyl banner, bungee cords, putty, utility holders, utility hooks, assorted gloves

"I am leaking. So are you. Oh what a mess we’ve made."
These are the last lines of dialogue in Bad Circuit, one of three videos playing on monitors that are mounted onto scaffolding. In this seven-minute video, the two characters, bleeding into a background of slimey images of grocery stores, body parts, shopping malls, and peculiar scenes, have found themselves in a mess. The characters look around pensively as they move through a virtual landscape among slow-moving amorphous objects. The statement made at the end—the leaking, the mess—speaks to the actors’ realization of their own intersubjectivity: that they are intertwined in a network of people, objects, architecture, social hegemonies, economies and political structures. At this point in the video, these once alienated actors who stood in a barren landscape, become enclosed by sticky surroundings, finding themselves the conductors of intensity, action, and affect. This proposition sits at the centre of the body of work which traces systems, structures, and conditions entangled in the lives of people and objects that exist within the metropolitan landscape. This web of relations might be hard to follow, might lead one to underlying structures that seem dubious. However, objects and systems aren’t made without intention. Neither are the constructions that create day-to-day realities. Behind These Strange Sensations are Hidden Structures weaves through built environments (cityscapes and cyberscapes) and systems of control (political and economic) that regulate and command the spaces we inhabit. By foregrounding mundane objects and materials, this project imagines alternative realities of familiar spaces.


Max Lester is an artist born and based between Montreal and Toronto. These days, Max is preoccupied by the stickiness of affect, the ways in which power is manifested in built environments, and the use and failure of language to describe abstract experiences and sensations. Max received his BFA at OCAD University and has exhibited work in galleries such as InterAccess, Bunker 2, and United Contemporary.