Crista Dahl: Life Rhythm, a Retrospective

Guest Contributors: 
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Thursday, April 4, 2013
Saturday, April 27, 2013

Opening Date
Thu, Apr 4, 2013 8pm

OPENING  APRIL 4, 8PM —Sound performance by John Brennan  on the opening night
LIVE PERFORMANCES  APRIL 18, 8PM —Generations, Spiral Brain, Revolution

“Life Rhythm, two words that identify my complete concept, is to be understood as life and its rhythms experienced through time, space and energy.” –Crista Dahl

Conceived in 1966 and formalized in 1970, Crista Dahl’s Life Rhythm is a multimodal art project that aims to provide structure to the diverse information that we encounter: knowledges that encompass prehistoric and current ways of living.

This exhibition features a fully interactive archive of imagery, books and ideas organized through Dahl’s personal system of mnemonics, charts, and diagrams. What slips out of Dahl’s cabinets and performances is a repertoire of gestures, portraits, kinesthetic models—an ongoing empirical inquiry into the visual language of the brain.

In the adjacent Gallery 1965, a collection of Dahl’s drawings, paintings, sculpture and video form a context and counterpoint to the dynamics of the Life Rhythm project.

On April 18th three performances —Generations, Spiral Brain & Revolution—will serve as workshops through which audiences can experience Life Rhythm’s structures of ancient knowledge and behavior in light of current conditions.

This exhibition and performance project is the culmination of the artist-in-residency of one of the founding members of VIVO Media Arts Centre and the Media Library& Archive that bears her name.

Photo documentation

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.

About the 

Born in Seattle in 1934 Crista Dahl describes this retrospective as inclusive of some sixty-five years of creative practice. Continually stymied by political and domestic conditions, Dahl’s pursuit of art training has followed innovative and experimental trajectories—from running an artist gallery/jazz coffee house in Seattle in 1963, to her beatnik life in San Francisco. Living in Haight-Ashbury in the mid 60’s had an enduring influence on Dahl’s life-work, as did her discovery of Will and Ariel Durant’s The Story of Civilization in the Powell River Library near Lund, where she was sheltering her sons from Vietnam War service in 1968. After moving to Vancouver in 1971 Dahl became an enthusiastic and committed member of some of this city’s most celebrated collectives and histories including the Intermedia Society, Little Hot Stove League, the Matrix International Video Exchange Conference, the New Era Social Club, the Satellite Video Exchange Society, Disasteroids, and more. Dahl’s insights into art and art teaching were supported by numerous grants and her Life Rhythm Project was presented at Simon Fraser University, Surrey Art Centre, Burnaby Art Gallery and University of British Columbia, among others. Today, Crista Dahl serves as a tireless and visionary volunteer archivist and Chairperson of the VIVO Board of Directors.

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About the 

Elisa Ferrari is an artist and curator, and holds a BFA (University of Architecture of Venice) and a MAA (ECUAD). She works with text, image, and sound. To consider acts and implications of retrieval, she produces projects that manifest as installations, sound walks, artist books, and performance; often addressing or incorporating archival fragments. She is part of – – / dashes, a sound performance collaboration with John Brennan. She is currently collaborating with Stacey Ho on a book of graphic scores for deep listening and sound making.


Lois Klassen is a Vancouver-based artist, writer, and multidisciplinarian. Her long-term projects, which include Renegade Library, Comforter Art Action and Slofemists (in collaboration with Lori Weidenhammer), combine collective creations with public dialogue and exchange. Her texts have appeared in Word Hoard, Fillip Magazine, Public Journal, Border Crossings, LIVE! Performance Art Biennale blog, and more. Her work has been hosted by Santa Fe Art Institute’s Emigration/Immigration Artists’ Residency, Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art and Plug In Summer Institute in Winnipeg, Banff New Media Institute, SOMA Summer Institute in Mexico City, University of Salford in Greater Manchester, Glenbow Museum, the Western Front, Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba and more. Lois is as a Research Ethics Coordinator at Emily Carr University, and is currently a doctoral student of Cultural Studies at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.