This month, Graphical Records releases VARIATIONS, a DVD featuring twelve Canadian moving image artists reinterpreting Michael Snow's "Poem" (1957), for which I made my recent eponymous work. These works will be presented at Gallery of Alberta Media Art, Calgary, from June 1 - August 31st, and Latitude 53 in Edmonton from June 23 - July 30th. Very happy to be a part of this project, with an alternative version of Poem featuring a score by Steve Richman. (The original concept was to feature collaborations between image and sound artists, however it deviated at some point -- hence the reason why I commissioned an alternate soundtrack from the version currently touring festivals.)
Finally, I recently shot some documentation of my video installation The Water Suite, which is on permanent rotation as part of Speech Bubble, an LED screen installation by Jennifer Marman + Daniel Borins, at The Pinnacle on Adelaide (295 Adelaide St. at John, near TIFF Lightbox, Toronto). I had been waiting for it to get warm to do this, but it sort of backfired because there is a very long line behind the screen all day for a trendy soft serve ice cream place! On the plus side, these people spend time watching the installation while they eat their ice cream, which is great. Here is an article about the work with an image from one of the videos in The Water Suite,Waveform (2016). Speech Bubble runs daily from 9am-9pm, so check it out if you're in the area. It also features work by Marman + Borins, Gordon Douglas Ball, and Talia Shipman on scheduled rotation, so you might catch me or someone else but, regardless, it's great to see a screen in Toronto showing something besides an advertisement!
Right: Speech Bubble playing Grid11a. Left (distant): The Audience by Michael Snow.
This month in Found Footage Magazine issue #2 there is an article by Clint Enns called "Images Beyond Time: Cinema as Photographic Archive," that considers my film memento mori in the context of Hollis Frampton's (nostalgia) and Derrida's Archive Fever -- wonderful to be in such company, with several other excellent contemporary film artists considered as well in the article, and some very insightful analysis. The whole issue is great, and also features an artist page I contributed with 35mm film frames from B Movie (2005). You can buy it online here!
In the process of reprinting my extant filmography, I uncovered some lost works that form a suite of new 16mm films that I am very excited about -- more info on these soon!This year certainly seems to be all about 16mm for me - with a dedicated studio and the right equipment I was finally able to organize and rediscover materials that were previously lost or without a label, and after showing my 16mm together in a programme for the first time in January, I finished my first new work in 16mm in five years, Gulf (and a Super-8 film, Parhelion).
I am very honoured to have received the Trinity Square Video Award at Images Festival 2016 for Poem. Many heartfelt thanks to the festival curators, staff, jury and audiences. This presentation was the first public screening of the work that I was able to attend in person and it only feels complete as a work now in some ways. Among other things, this piece was a test for whether digital projection can sustain the intimacies of a lyrical form, and the result gives me hope for the future, as the quality of projection exceeded my expectations. However, what was even more valuable were the sensitive responses and engagement offered by friends and peers whose opinions I respect -- these, above all else, remind me of why I continue the sometimes impossible task of making artworks of a personal nature. The programme was reviewed in Exclaim! and my work was described as "a fine entry" but "too personal" to make a connection with the spectator. Well, let me tell you: I will never strive for anything less than personal cinema, it is a badge I wear proudly.
Meanwhile, Poem continues to screen on Air Canada flights from April 1 - May 31st, as part of Images Festival's "Ways + Means" programme. It is a really great selection of short works, and I hope you get to see it at 35,000 feet.
Poem (2015) screens at three festivals this month: Athens International Film + Video Festival, in "Alternative Textures" on Saturday, April 8th;Images Festival, in "How Should a Person Be?" on Sunday, April 17th; Kinoflow Kísérleti Film Fesztivál on April 22nd. What terrific programme titles! I'm very grateful to be included at Images and Athens again, having received awards from both festivals for my film memento mori. Poem will also be shown on Air Canada flights from April 1st - May 31st as part of Images' "Ways + Means" programme. I love the idea of people watching this film in the sky!
On Friday April 22nd, I will present Loop Collective: Recent Works at Open City Cinema's WUFF 2016 Fundraiser series. I am also very excited to be presenting my second-ever solo programme of my 16mm films, featuring some long-lost works that have never been shown publicly before. I will have Loop Collective books and DVDs available for anyone who comes, so hope to see you there, Winnipeg!
Poem (2015) screens in Chicago on March 6th at Onion City Film Festival, in a great programme alongside Karissa Hahn, Jason Halprin, Zach Iannazzi, Robert Todd, Joss Weissbach, Mike Stoltz, Akosua Adoma Owusu, Amy Lockhart, Tommy Heffron, Sasha Waters Freyer, and Karen Yasinski. It will also be presented at three additional festivals in April and May - details on those events soon!
I've been inspired by my recent 16mm retrospective with Loop to strike new prints of all my film works, which will be available for distribution through CFMDC and Light Cone by spring. I also just finished my first new projects on 16mm in nearly five years, Gulf, and Parhelion, as well as completing new 5k transfers of two older Super 8 films, Midway (2008), and PS Kensington (2005). I took a hiatus from celluloid-based production for a number of years while I was busy with my Masters degree and the intensive production of memento mori (2012), but now after a number of years I'm happy to return to the medium to complete several unfinished works. Working in multiple mediums poses numerous challenges as an artist - each has its own aesthetic, and can feel almost like a different personality - and I've been hesitant to return to film largely due to its cost, but these projects form important links in the chain of my artistic development and I'm glad to have the chance to be filling in some of the gaps.
I am also very happy to announce that Poem will receive its European Premiere at International Film Festival Rotterdam, in a programme entitled "True Desires" on January 29th & 30th. I wish that I could attend IFFR this year - I had a fantastic experience last time, it was a terrific opportunity to see great new works and meet new people - but family and work are keeping me in Toronto for the winter.
Alberta will also be presented at Les Inattendus Film Festival in Lyon, France, another place I wish I could revisit! Lyon is a beautiful city and home to the Lumière factory, the birthplace of cinema!
Excited to announce that Loop Collective will finally be launching our long-awaited monograph after many years of hard work. This will be presented at a special 20th anniversary screening at Innis Town Hall on February 4, 2016, and will also be accompanied by individual retrospectives of the films and videos of collective members (dates and venue TBA soon). Mark your calendars!
This month I finished a new video installation entitled Cathedral (2015), the first work I've completed in 4k resolution. It will be on display for the next year on a screen wall at 745 Thurlow St., Vancouver, BC, Bentall Kennedy LP, consulting by Public Art Management.
Cathedral considers the relationship of the screen to earlier forms of mediated light, such as stained glass, which both utilize "light through", as opposed to the "light falling upon" of the cinematic image. Marshall McLuhan contended that while the latter establishes a distanced point of view, positioning the viewer as the camera, the former generates participation and involvement, as the viewer becomes the screen itself -- "a thing of profundity and depth." Stained glass was the product of an environment designed for contemplation, a state not often encountered within our contemporary world. Cathedral draws upon these connections, merging organic and digital forms via a refracted metamorphosis of the Douglas Firs of Cathedral Grove in MacMillan Provincial Park. As technology and screens become ubiquitous, the timelessness of natural forms can offer a means for accessing moments of eternity.
- I will present a selection of recent films and videos by the Loop Collective in person with Iris Film Collective on Saturday October 24th in Vancouver BC, alongside fellow members Izabella Pruska-Oldenhof and Jocelyn Statia. This event is part of the "Collective Unconscious" series, which has also featured Montreal's Double Negative Collective and Ottawa's Windows Collective. It will be accompanied by an artist talk on Sunday October 25th at the Iris Collective Fieldhouse Studio. Check out the event page here.