About the Crista Dahl Media Library & Archive
The Crista Dahl Media Library & Archive (CDMLA) houses Western Canada’s foremost repository of videotapes by artists and independent producers. Spanning over 40 years of production, its over 7300 media titles (video, film, audio- analog and born-digital) reflect the rich history of video art and more in Canada and abroad. The collection also includes related books, periodicals, directories, photographs, special collections, legacy equipment, media artists and activists files, and the records of the VIVO Media Arts Centre, documenting its activities since its 1973 incorporation as the Satellite Video Exchange Society. While the primary focus is on Canadian artists, artists and video centres from around the world are well represented.
In January 1973, 160 international alternative video producers came to Vancouver to take part in the MATRIX International Video Conference. The idea of a video exchange library was born there and made a reality a few months later with the incorporation of the Satellite Video Exchange Society (SVES). Known publicly as the Video Inn, it opened at 261 Powell Street in Vancouver. 76 videotapes that had been brought to MATRIX by the attending delegates made up its original collection. Over the years the Video Inn would evolve to include affordable equipment access, production and post-production facilities, public exhibitions and distribution services for artists and is now known as VIVO Media Arts Centre. The Library’s contemporary incarnation – the Crista Dahl Media Library & Archive – remains the heart of the organization.
Visit these online histories (“Preserving” produced by SVES with the assistance of the Canadian Heritage Information Network; “Opening” researched and written by Allison Collins for PAARC’s ArcLines series) to learn more.Preserving Vancouver’s Video Legacy ArcPost: Opening the Video Inn
Crista Dahl has been at SVES since its inception and is responsible for our cataloguing system. Crista is still the Archive’s most active volunteer and a member of the CDMLA Committee.For obvious reasons VIVO’s Library and Archive bears her name.
“It was easy for me to fold into arranging tapes and filing paper at Video Inn. When I had time off work I organized the tapes, print materials and even the kitchen! I was seriously multi-tasking at the time – raising four kids as a single mother, work, art – so my time at Video Inn was intermittent. Later on when I was living there it was easier to get serious work done. Someone at Video Inn nicknamed me “Mother of Tedium”, for my capacity to spend a lot of time testing out different methods of organizing tapes and labelling everything in sight! I don’t have a practice without archiving. There is nothing that I have done since I moved to Vancouver that does not reflect archiving information in some way.”
VIVO Media Arts Centre is a member of the Archive Association of British Columbia, British Columbia Museums Association, Audio/Visual Heritage Association of British Columbia, Pacific Association of Artist-Run Centres (PAARC), Independent Media Arts Alliance (IMAA).