Troy David Ouellette is an artist/researcher specializing in Assemblage theory, technology and conceptual art. He received his PhD, in Visual Arts, from York University in 2014 and his M.F.A. from the University of Windsor in 2007. He has taught Design, Sculpture and undergraduate courses at various universities and colleges in Southern Ontario. From 1999 until 2006 he was the Sculpture Facilitator, at the Banff Centre for the Arts, in Banff Alberta. His work has been included in several solo and group exhibitions in Canada, Australia and the United States. He resides in St. Catharines, Ontario where he is Assistant Professor of Media Art & Design at Brock University. Please visit his website for more information.
Recent work by Troy
With a single swipe of the barcode, we give information about decisions we make—our purchases are scanned, ordered, classified and held in secrecy, until this consumer information ends up as a commodity itself. Echosystem is my echo as it pertains to economic activity—an object dependent on and within the society in which it is placed. The work is constructed from discarded plastic containers fastened by rivets. The sound component, recorded in situ in a checkout lane, consists of a looped recording of the grocery scanner. Removed from the cacophony of the supermarket, the ping strikes an uncanny resemblance to the sound of a heart-rate monitor. The discarded sounds of the market place coincide with the textual formation of an ellipsis—(the things left out of text.) What remains is the trace of sound, a stand-in for the item purchased and the collection of data in the archive. This technology is mirrored in the scan of the compact disc unit placed in a black box at the “point of origin” where the digital code is translated into audible sounds. The handcrafted boxes that house, the speakers and cd players, are a contrast to the cold, manufactured conduits that carry the sound to various destinations around the gallery space, echoing the hidden aspects of the technology and the process of data collection. They are intrusive mimicking the repetition and simulation of post-Fordist manufacturing.
Detrituscope is a sound work based on statistics from the Basil Convention. The Convention was set up in 1989 and is principally devoted to setting up a framework for controlling the transboundary movements of hazardous wastes, across international frontiers especially waste that flows from “developed” to “developing” countries. The silence, in the accompanying audio piece, mirrors the silence of missing reports and gaps in the process of tracking movements, of what is deemed hazardous waste. Even with 170 signatories to the convention, it is fraught with problems from black-market trade to secretive government sanctioned dumping.
Taken from the 2016 US Republican Party Platform, before the election, I reworked the text using a font prominent at the height of National Socialist power during the 1930s. My contention was that the excessive media memes of Donald Trump created a diversion away from the real intent of the party, which is contained in their platform. Anyone who reads this would be astounded by the language and the simplicity of the arguments that bear a resemblance to other altra-right movements. From a short distance, the white 4pt text on the black ground looks like small particles. As one examines it more closely they are able to read the fine print that gives details regarding the direction that the party itself wants to take an entire country. My contention is that this platform alone should have been cause for alarm but few in the media actually conveyed the meaning of the document.
This work confronts the trivialized actions of labour within society. It is a critique that postulates that much of aesthetic practice happens when people improve communities by enhancing their homes, property, rental units or gardens. This is work outside of “real work”. What people do outside their workplace has become equated with leisure rather than regarded as an integral component of community life. This is also true of child rearing or cooking and other cultural activities.
This exchange/work exists within the gallery and consists of seeds that I have harvested, in my garden, over the summer. These sunflower seeds are contained within small, 2 1/4” x 3” envelopes, with instructions for planting in the spring and harvesting in the fall. These small envelopes are push-pinned to the wall in a grid format. There is also a food bank collection receptacle for the participant to donate whatever they can financially. In exchange they can take an envelope containing the 3 sunflower seeds. Removing the pushpin they will show where they intend to plant the seeds in the community indicating this with a pushpin on a map of Windsor provided beside the envelopes.
This work references volunteer labour by examining the food bank, which was/is essential in helping to feed striking workers and the working poor. It further emphasises the value of local knowledge, (planting and harvesting), being traded to enhance life in the community. Unseen or unacknowledged labour = invisible work.
This map of North America was fashioned from garbage collected from my Urban Archivist performance. The introduction of an “old” computer references a system of technological production and commodity exchange. In this case an “outdated” computer is tethered to a tiny display listing the, 184, ‘identifiable’, items I gathered along the busiest international trade route in North America. The graph and chart provided are a manifestation of data collection, forecasting trends and events from the downturn of the stock market to sales forecasts. They are inextricably tied to notions of progress and the “free” market. By the juxtaposition of the map, the graphs become suspect and open to question. My pursuit to determine the origin of waste was made manifest through the stringing together of various locations and origins of the waste packaging. This endeavor made obvious the futility of this type of inquiry. One can just glimpse the strings on the map as they spread out from Windsor to the “original” locations identified on the product packaging collected.
This work hopes to express how bubbles (rising in water) form a kinship with language. I begin my research about water by reimagining the life-giving properties of hydrothermal vents and combine this with new physical theories regarding the structure and expansion of dialects expressed through the same mathematics used to describe bubbles.  In this work, I recite some of the texts on hydrothermal vents in terms of chemical/mineral exchanges. This recreation consists of a recording of my voice within water, which produces a kind of comical variation of language being sounded through another medium. This sound is then transmitted to a voice activated relay, which in turn supplies power to an aquarium pump. The pump supplies air to six bubble generators, which animate the work. The contradictions between the comic nature of the voice and the clean and streamlined tropes of conceptualism mirror the tricky business of conducting experiments on the vents themselves while simultaneously interfering with the subjects/objects being observed.
 "Physics of bubbles could explain language patterns." Phys.org - News and Articles on Science and Technology. July 4, 2017. Accessed September 22, 2017. https://phys.org/news/2017-07-physics-language-patterns.html.