Since 2011, DesignTO has featured a wealth of talent through our annual festival. This Artist + Designer Spotlight series gives our audience the chance to learn more about the creatives showcasing their work in DesignTO’s thematic and prototype exhibitions, symposium and talks.


Moira Ness

How would you describe your practice?

I am a queer interdisciplinary visual artist from Toronto making conceptually-driven work concerned with relentless archiving and pattern generation. I try to trace comprehensive visual lines through my own personal history. By data mining my collection of personal correspondences and connections I create confessional and romanticized text and data.

Which exhibition, symposium or talk will you be participating in and what is it about this project that peaked your interest?

I am participating in DesignTO’s thematic exhibition ‘Exchange Piece’. I was immediately drawn to the collaboration aspect of this exhibition. I already enjoy working with other artists and was curious to work with a designer on a new project, surrounding this year’s theme of care. I was not disappointed! My collaboration partner, Jennifer Chan, is amazingly talented and imaginative. I’m really looking forward to sharing our ongoing collaboration with DesignTO viewers.

What can attendees expect from the project you are showcasing at the 2021 DesignTO Festival? For those unable to visit your work, how would you describe it to them?

With the move to the digital online exhibition, I hope that more people will gain access to the show. My individual work for DesignTO is in the form of a video slideshow. Each slide has a white background with legible black text somewhere on the screen, but this text is usually hidden in a jumble of visually remixed black lines. These black lines are actually that same original text but digitally manipulated to form new shapes and patterns, sometimes even new words. The slides weave a deeply personal short story with moments of sadness and self reflection, and ultimately acceptance and mental peace.

Have you been involved with DesignTO before?

I have not!

Do you have any memories from past DesignTO Festivals you want to share?

Every year exhibits pop up around Toronto near the end of January, usually in the most unique and unexpected areas. I know it is DesignTO Festival season!

As an artist/designer working in Canada, what role do you feel DesignTO plays in the art and design industry?

Through your organization you have the authority and responsibility to create platforms of equal exposure to artists and designers whose voices need to be heard. You are wildly successful at this, and us creatives, even those not involved directly in DesignTO, appreciate your efforts and commitments.


Be sure to see Moira Ness’ work at the virtual exhibition ‘Exchange Piece’, January 22–February 28, 2021