This online program of video art from Brazilian and Chilean video pioneers Sonia Andrade, Letícia Parente, C.A.D.A., Gloria Camiruaga, Tatiana Gaviola, and Lotty Rosenfeld, reveals overlapping thematic tropes with the exhibition at Sur Gallery entitled Diaspora Dialogues: Archiving the Familiar. A concern for women’s bodies as subjects of repression and resistance; a critique of state violence and oppression; and, a concern for developing semiotic feminist languages through video art is evidenced in these historic works.
Video as a viable tool for art production became accessible in Latin America at different times depending on the country of origin. The first generation of video artists from Brazil and Chile in the 70s and 80s demonstrates the adoption of video as a form with radical political potential. Significantly, the confluence of video technology and feminism in the 1970s was critical in shaping the artistic responses to the historical moment these video pioneers lived through. The artists presented in Women & Video Art: Political Praxes of Memory developed semiotic and conceptual languages to critique patriarchal dictatorships while also using this moving image technology as a form of documenting the social and political oppression within their nation states. Because video was a new technology in 1970s-80s Latin America, the radical imaginations and political critiques of these artists managed to go under the radar of repressive censorship laws. The advent of the portapak, or portable video camera recorder, allowed for an embodied medium that could be used in both public and private realms. Women & Video Art: Political Praxes of Memory makes visible the important contributions of Latin American women video pioneers in developing media languages that underscored feminist liberation in a time of extreme repression.
Live from Oct 21-Nov 4, 2023 at https://political-praxes-of-memory.vivomediaarts.com/
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.
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.
Lotty Rosenfeld (Carlota Eugenia Rosenfeld Villarreal) was a Chilean visual artist born in Santiago in 1943 and is known primarily for her work in printmaking, video art, and socially engaged art practice. She studied at the Escuela de Artes Aplicadas at Universidad de Chile, from 1967 to 1969. In 1979, Rosenfeld founded the artists' collective CADA (Colectivo de Acciones de Arte) with the poet Raúl Zurita, the sociologist Fernando Balcells, the writer and artist Diamela Eltit, and the artist Juan Castillo. Rosenfeld’s most iconic action is Una milla de cruces sobre el pavimento (A thousand crosses on the pavement, 1979), in which she attempted to reclaim public spaces that had been seized under the regime of Augusto Pinochet by placing tape across the dashed white lines separating traffic lanes on highways, turning the traffic markers into crosses or plus signs. Rosenfeld has been the recipient of the highest honors given in Chile: the Premio a la Trayectoria Artística (1995) of the Círculo de Críticos de Arte de Chile, the Paoa Prize (2001) of the International Film Festival in Viña del Mar, and the Premio Altazor de las Artes Nacionales (2003). Rosenfeld has exhibited at major museums including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Brooklyn Museum, New York; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Santiago; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; and the Tate Modern, London. Her work was featured in the Chilean Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale (2015) and Documenta 12, Kassel (2007).
Chilean video director and producer Tatiana Gaviola has been an influential figure in the development of her country's audiovisual productions. Her work alternates between documentary and avant-garde. Although she was originally trained to become a filmmaker at the School of Communications Arts at the Catholic University of Chile, where she graduated in 1979, Gaviola turned to video as it gave her more freedom from the political constraints and budgetary limitations imposed on feature filmmmakers after the 1973 military coup. Gaviola's videos have been produced by every major film studio in Chile. Many of her videos center around the political struggles of women, but she also produces works about historical issues. Her work has been shown throughout Europe and North America. In addition to video-making, she also takes part in international workshops for feminist collectives.
Gloria Camiruaga was a Chilean video artist and documentarian born in Santiago in 1941. After obtaining a bachelor's degree from the Universidad de Chile in Santiago in 1971, Camiruaga studied video art at San Francisco Art Institute and graduated in 1980. As one of Chile's first video artists, Camiruaga dedicated her life to creating a space for women and transgender people through video art. One of her most influential works, the video La venda (The blindfold, 2000), documents the testimony of ten women who were tortured during the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. The title refers to the method by which the bodies of women were violated: after they were blindfolded, the women were undressed, raped, and tortured. Her videos and documentaries expose dictatorial power structures and its violent aftermath in Chilean history. Camiruaga received an award at the eighth Festival Franco-Chileno de Video Arte (1988) and grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (1992) and Rockefeller Foundation (1993). She died in 2006 at age sixty-five.
C.A.D.A. (Colectivo Acciones de Arte) was an art action group whose members included the artists Lotty Rosenfeld and Juan Castillo, the writer Diamela Eltit, the sociologist Fernando Balcells, and the poet Raúl Zurita. The collective used the public space as a backdrop for their actions. Their first project was Para no morir de hambre en el arte/To Avoid Starving to Death in Art (1979), which involved several simultaneous components consisting of actions staged: in a working-class neighborhood in Santiago, outside of the United Nations building, at the Galería de Arte Centro Imagen, and in an insert that referenced the action in HOY magazine. Their interventions intended to interrupt normalized routines of daily urban life, with semiotic subversion, and decontextualize urban behaviors, locations, and signs. C.A.D.A.’s most celebrated project is a campaign they began in 1983, No +, which protested the 10th anniversary of Pinochet’s dictatorship by spreading in public spaces an open-ended slogan that citizens were invited to complete. “No + dictadura” (No more dictatorship), “No + hambre” (No more hunger) or “No + torturas” (No more torture) was written on public walls and displayed on political banners.
Born in 1935 in Rio de Janeiro, Sonia Andrade was part of the first generation of video artists in Brazil, studying under Anna Bella Geiger. Her experimental videos use the body as central to her filmed actions often using scenes of self-aggression, humor, and political commentary to break down accepted visual codes. Andrade produced pioneering video work of critical weight in the 1970s during Brazil's dictatorship era (1964-1985), participating in Prospectiva 74 at the Museum of Modern Art in São Paulo – the first public exhibition of video art in Brazil – then in the International Biennale, which also took place there in 1977. Her most recent exhibition was in 2023 as part of Area Play at Silvia Cintra + Box4 in Rio de Janeiro. Some of her works are housed in public collections in Brazil and internationally at the Centre Pompidou (Paris, France), Getty Research Institute (Los Angeles, USA), Haward Art Museum (Boston, USA) and Kunstgewerbemuseum (Zurich, Switzerland).
Born in 1930, Salvador Brazil, Letícia Parente was a Brazilian visual artist who specialized in politically charged video art. She also holds a degree in chemistry and has combined her dual interests in science and art to create the exhibition Medidas (Measurements), held at the Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro in 1976. Her surreal short films feature elements of body art and performance art which announce body subjectivity and the female condition in a sexist society as central to her practice. Much of her work focuses on protesting the use of mass torture by the military dictatorship in Brazil throughout the 1970s. Parente's pieces have been selected for important exhibitions in Brazil and abroad, such as the 16th Bienal de São Paulo (1981); International Open Encounter on Video Art (1975, 1976, 1978, 1979), organized by the Center of Art and Communication, Buenos Aires; and Pioneers of Brazilian Video Art, 1973–1983 (2004), organized by the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.
Sarah Shamash is an Assistant Professor of Critical and Cultural Studies at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Her research creation practice comprises a wide variety of formats including writing, documentary, sound, installation, photography, video, and performance. Her media artworks and films have been shown in curated exhibitions and film festivals internationally. Her most recent documentary project, From Chile to Canada: Media Herstories premiered at the Vancouver International Film Festival and is currently showing in festivals internationally. She is co-curating the exhibition, Diaspora Dialogues – Archiving the familiar (October-December 2023) at Sur Gallery in Toronto with a focus on feminism and Latin American diaspora media artists. Her scholarly research examines Latin American and diaspora film and media cultures with a focus on Brazil. Her work as an artist, researcher, educator, and curator can be understood as interconnected and whole; they all revolve around a passion for cinema as a pluriversal art. She lives on the unceded and ancestral territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil Waututh First Nations in what is known as Vancouver.
Tamara Toledo is a Chilean-born Toronto-based curator, scholar, and artist, graduate of OCAD University and holds an MFA from York University. Toledo is co-founder of the Allende Arts Festival and of Latin American Canadian Art Projects - LACAP. For over a decade, Toledo has curated numerous exhibitions offering spaces, platforms and opportunities to Latin American and diasporic artists. She designed and curated the Latin American Speakers Series inviting internationally renowned contemporary artists, writers, theorists, and curators to Toronto such as Gerardo Mosquera, Luis Camnitzer, and Tania Bruguera, among many others to articulate and discuss issues of identity and intercultural dynamics in contemporary art. Toledo has presented her work at various conferences in Montreal, Chicago, New York, Vancouver and Toronto. Her writing has appeared in ARM Journal, C Magazine, Fuse and Canadian Art. Her practice often follows an interdisciplinary approach and touches on notions of memory, identity, diasporas, issues of power and representation, trauma, and international artistic-cultural interaction. Toledo is currently the Curator of Sur Gallery and is a PhD candidate in Art History and Visual Culture at York University.