Losing Ground: Experimental Video Shorts from Canada’s West Coast [Berlin Screening]

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Friday, May 4, 2012
Friday, May 4, 2012

Embassy of Canada – Ambassade du Canada
Leipziger Platz 17, 10117 Berlin, Germany / Allemagne
Co-presented by Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video ArtVideo Out Distribution, a department wing of the VIVO Media Arts Centre in Vancouver, BC, presents a screening of experimental video shorts produced on Canada’s West Coast. Losing Ground features seven videos that highlight a preoccupation with tensions at the space where culture and landscape reside, both in the physical world, and in the Canadian unconscious. A thematic thread in much Canadian film and narratives since the 1950s, these contemporary works foster renewed investigations into the notion of cultural alienation, urban development and their relationship to a vast landscape that both fragments Canada, as much at it provides points of discursive integration. The filmmakers draw on this contradiction through the problematics of city sprawls, food distribution, myth production and the body politic.Join us for this free screening followed by a short Q and A with curator and Video Out distribution assistant Alan Kollins on Friday May 4, 6:00pm – 7:30pm at the Embassy of Canada, Leipziger Platz 17, 10117 Berlin.The ProgramPoint No Point (Jennifer Campbell, 2010, 3:37min.) Video documentation of the artist trudging through the ocean to become a human lighthouse. Set against the iconic landscape of the Pacific Northwest, Point No Point documents a performance staged specifically for the camera that offers novel contexts for the mind and the body. This video continues to explore Jennifer Campbell’s subversion of the body through absurd and explicitly physical actions.Jennifer Campbell’s practice explores the process and results of transformation through the use of the artist’s body as a performative object. She draws upon a catalog of props–familiar and obscure, ready-made and invented, etc. Campbell constructs images by positioning these props together with her body in unaccustomed ways;  this results in the de-contextualization of both the body and the object.

Losing Ground (Isabelle Hayeur, 2009, 13:00min.)  A critique of urban sprawl and the resulting erosion and homogenization of the countryside across the world. With its negation of city history, of geographic particularities, and thus of cultural memory, this standardized urbanization imposes its amnesia, individualistic lifestyle, and jarring presence in nature. Filmed in Quartier DIX30 in Brossard, the biggest lifestyle centre in Canada, the video sounds out recently man-made territories so as to decipher humanity’s relationships with the environment. It confronts us with the dizzying spectacle of our diminishing local references, as they give way to cultural stereotypes, now become universal through globalization.

Isabelle Hayeur is an image-based artist, born in Montreal in 1969. She is mostly known for her large-size photomontages, her videos, and her site-specific installations. Her artistic practice was initially centered on video. From 1997 to 2001, she belonged to Perte de signal, a collective dedicated to emerging work in media arts, being one of the founding members. Hayeur’s works have been widely shown throughout Canada, in Europe, and in the United States. Some have also been exhibited in Mexico, in Argentina, in Turkey, and in Japan. She has taken part in several important exhibitions, among others at the National Gallery of Canada, at the Musée d’art contemporain of Montreal, at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts (MassMoca), at the Casino Luxembourg — Forum d’art contemporain, at the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein and at the Tampa Museum of Art. She has also participated in a number of artist residencies.

Black Moon (Brandon Blommaert, 2010, 1:18min.)  One thousand beams of radial light for strata advancement.

Brandon Blommaert is a multimedia artist whose animations, drawings and sculptures have shown in festivals and exhibitions worldwide. Media outlets such as I-D magazine and have featured his work. He is a former participant of the National Film Board of Canada’s Hothouse program and founder of the GIRAF animation festival. Brandon graduated from Alberta College Of Art and Design in 2005 with an emphasis in Print Media. He currently lives and works in Montreal.

Mother and Babe (Lief Hall, 2010, 1:14min.)  A kind of digital painting that explores the iconic image of Madonna and Child. The piece manipulates perceptions of 2 and 3D space attempting to create a sense of familiarity through texture, form and repetitive movements. The vocal soundscape is both human and knowable engaging in this sense of intimacy, yet the portrait itself remains unknown as it explores the intimacy of a mother and child within a virtual landscape.

Lief Hall, is an audio-visual artist, musician and curator living and working in Vancouver, BC.  Hall graduated from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in 2005 with a Bachelors Degree in Integrated Media majoring in animation. Hall has exhibited her video and performance works at multiple Vancouver galleries and artist run centres.  25/27 was part of the Cartune Xprez DVD compilation which toured the United States and Canada. Hall’s current musical projects include improvisational sound art trio Glaciers, dark electro duo MYTHS, as well as her solo improvisational vocal works.  Her current work often merges animation, improvised voice and performance.

Bridge (Yi Xin Tong, 2010, 2:37min.) The structure and space between the two piers and the deck of the Granville Street bridge are used as a theatrical setting to construct new physical and social spaces.  Footage captured during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, traces from this ceremonial / intrusive time period are recognizable both visually and acoustically.

Yi Xin Tong was born in Lushan, China. In 2007, he left China University of Geosciences Beijing for Canada to study contemporary art. His work is influenced by Conceptualism and Minimalism from the West and philosophies and poetries from the East. Tong’s work plays with illusions and paradoxes, both visually and conceptually.

Mineral Intelligence (Marina Roy, 2010,10:00min.) Mineral Intelligence charts the flow of material life. Setting out from the mineral and cellular levels, and moving on to cultural production and myth, the film focuses on the encounter between “nature” and “culture” and how human and natural life interpenetrate one another.

Marina Roy works across a variety of media including drawing, painting, sculpture, video and animation. As well as being an artist, she is a writer and professor at the University of British Columbia.  Her artwork investigates the intersection between language, image, and ideology, and her theoretical interests are largely art historical and psychoanalytic.

New Atlantis (Jen Leigh Fisher, 2008, 4:32min.) The second episode in a series of narrative fragments about haptic visuality and presence in Vancouver. The artist describes the work as “viral real-estate speculation, telepathy to serve as a medium for communication between species and ephemeral curses that re-set the destabilized animals and landscape on Vancouver’s  condo-crane-riddled coastline.” Featuring a soundtrack created with the light-bulb filament recordings of Montreal sound artist Anne-Francoise Jacques.

Jen Leigh Fisher is a filmmaker living in Montreal with a degree in film from Ryerson. She recently served as the coordinator of Video Out Distribution in Vancouver.  After some years in documentary based video, she has returned to shooting film and is exploring haptic aesthetics and the poetics of reanimated objects. Her film and video work has received the support of the Canada Council Media Arts Section and has been screened nationally and internationally. She is currently at work on a film about wave resonance and the outmoded technological/historical sites of the Bay of Fundy.

Alimentary Passage (Randy Lee Cutler, 2009, 9:30min.) Cutler’s piece explores digestion as a metaphor for experience; a figure for relating to and being in the world. While digestion starts in the mouth, the absorption of nutrients begins with the growing and distribution of food. In this video, consumption and absorption are mapped onto the highways and byways of the city. Inundated with information about food whether bio-chemistry, crop hybridization, cooking shows, slow food or 100 mile diets, the endless flows of sustenance are present in the diverse tributaries and invisible passages of urban space. More than a biological process digestion is a condition of change itself.

Randy Lee Cutler is a Vancouver based educator, curator, writer and performer. She is an associate professor in Critical and Cultural Studies at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Exploring the intersections of art, science and technology, Randy’s practice investigates the emergence of new cultural forms.

Video Out Distribution wishes to thank The Embassy of Canada, Berlin, Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art, and The Canada Council for the Arts for their valuable support for this program.

Video Out Distribution is an artist-run, not-for-profit distributor of media art on video to galleries, festivals, educational institution collections and broadcasters nationally and internationally. The primary activity of Video Out is to provide artist driven distribution services that promote the practices of independent media art and earn revenue for independent media artists. In addition, we provide curatorial, exhibition and research support. The foundation of both these activities is ongoing collection management and preservation activity.

Founded in 1980 by the Satellite Video Exchange Society, the distribution services and the over 4,500 title collection we manage are an integral part of the VIVO Media Arts Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

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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