A Conversation w/ Frederick Cummings

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Wednesday, May 20, 2015

he following email conversation took place in May 2015, following the acquisition of “Killing Time” created by Frederick Cummings for active Video Out distribution.

SJD: Shauna Jean Doherty
FC: Frederick Cummings

SJD: Do you primarily use video in your art practice, or do you create works in other forms?

FC: I primarily use video as a method of expressing myself but I also draw and paint and am now sewing towards a fashion collection which I would like to debut sometime this fall.

SJD: This work is quite personal, do you typically explore personal experiences in your work?

FC: It seems that all of my work has been deeply personal from the video “slasher” that I produced in 1998 about an HIV positive man committing suicide to the video “Notik Masowan?” in Cree with English subtitles. I don’t think work is worth creating if it does not push boundaries or cause the audience to think a little deeper.

SJD: This work seems somewhat spontaneous? How do you feel spontaneity produces particular results in your video output?

Most of my videos have existed on no or little budget so there is that spontaneity to it where I don’t have months to prepare and think out the script and location and actors – a lot of my work is spur of the moment and the result I think adds a freshness that you would not find in a video by numbers production where a lot of money is concerned.

SJD: When did you start making video works?

FC: I started making videos in 1997 at Galiano Island Film and Television School in a week intensive for HIV positive individuals. I collaborated on my first video named   “Invisible” about how people who are positive are overlooked a lot and become non-citizens. Since then I have made 9 videos most of which are in distribution with Video Out and in the library.

SJD: Do any particular artists inspire you?

FC: A lot of artists inspire me – my former boss, Attilla Richard Lukacs, Geoffrey Farmer, David Lynch, and Florence and the Machine

SJD: Using an iphone seems somewhat DIY, is that intentional?

FC: Yes, it was very intentional. I wanted to show the raw energy and awful, angry feelings I had towards this person who burned me and I don’t think it could have been portrayed as effectively any other way than with the grittiness that comes through with the iphone and the loneliness of me on the seawall at night.

Venue Accessibility

VIVO is located in the homelands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples in a warehouse space at 2625 Kaslo Street south of East Broadway at the end of E 10th. Transit line 9 stops at Kaslo Street on Broadway. From the bus stop, the path is paved, curbless, and on a slight decline. The closest skytrain station is Renfrew Station, which is three blocks south-east of VIVO and has an elevator. From there, the path is paved, curbless, and on a slight incline. There is parking available at VIVO, including wheelchair access parking. There is a bike rack at the entrance. The front entrance leads indoors to a set of 7 stairs to the lobby.

Wheelchair/Walker Access

A wheelchair ramp is located at the west side of the main entrance. The ramp has two runs: the first run is 20 feet long, and the second run is 26 feet. The ramp is 60 inches wide. The slope is 1:12. The ramp itself is concrete and has handrails on both sides. There is an outward swinging door (34 inch width) at the top of the ramp leading to a vestibule. A second outward swinging door (33 inch width) opens into the exhibition space. Buzzers and intercoms are located at both doors to notify staff during regular office hours or events to unlock the doors. Once unlocked, visitors can use automatic operators to open the doors.


There are two all-gender washrooms. One has a stall and is not wheelchair accessible. The other is a single room with a urinal and is wheelchair accessible: the door is 33 inches wide and inward swinging, without automation. The toilet has 11 inch clearance on the left side and a handrail.

To reach the bathrooms from the studio, exit through the double doors and proceed straight through the lobby and down the hall . Turn left, and the two bathrooms will be on your right side. The closest one has a stall and is not wheelchair accessible. The far bathroom is accessible.

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