Skip to Content

Taking to the Streets curated by Barbara FischerSpectre of the Future Accused, 2017

Spectre of the Future Accused, 2017

Leah Modigliani - Philedelphia, USA
Read the script 'Spectre of the Future Accused'

A holographic video projection of Canadian Socialist and publisher William Arthur Pritchard (1888‐1981), makes its appearance on the fire escape of Marshall McLuhan’s old coach house to address the people who are gathering below.

Accused of “Seditious Conspiracy and Common Nuisance” for organizing the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919, Pritchard presented a 20-hourlong defense in front of the jury as a ‘teaching moment,’ enlightening his audience, and by extension the Canadian public, on the global history of socialism and the ongoing struggles of the working class. Adapted for our present moment, the speech evokes the conflicts of the current day, and vocalizes a changed but renewed solidarity with the struggles of the past.

Like the Distant Early Warning System, the string of arctic radar stations that were built to foretell Soviet military aggression, McLuhan believed artists could comprehend and signal a world still to come—channeling that future into sometimes disturbing and revealing  images and effects. Pritchard’s digitally and textually-altered ghost is a reminder that we examine the past, present and future of the social contract.

Leah Modigliani is an artist and scholar living in Philadelphia. Her research includes the history of the avant-garde and its relationship to political critique, the history of conceptual art, social dissent since 1968, and feminist politics of visual representation and discourse.  In Modigliani’s work space is a non-neutral territory; it is contrived according to power relationships and is not equally accessible to all. Her work seeks to intervene in this unfettered replication of established social power.

New Media Installation


Century of Revolutions Taking to the Streets Life on Neebahgeezis Calculating the Unforeseen Independent Projects Major Institutions Event Centre

McLuhan Coach House

39 Queen's Park Crescent East

Suitable for all ages

This project is outdoors.