Trinity Square Video and Pleasure Dome are pleased to present the two-person exhibition Don’t Talk to Strangers featuring a new single-channel video by Los Angeles artist Harry Dodge and video and prints by Toronto artist Alison S.M. Kobayashi. Both are gifted performance artists who portray a range of eccentric invented characters; they employ video to show these personalities scrutinized by the mediating force of the camera. Under its gaze, they act out a kind of highly theatrical multiple personality disorder. With each persona, the artists test out not only different identities but more importantly, different ways of reacting to the pressure of being recorded.
In Dodge’s This Beast Called Force (USA, 18 min, 2009) a character of unstable identity (and uncertain gender) is videotaped while sitting in a room with the television on. Instructed to be as “free” and “loose” as possible, this test subject spars with the TV images that flow by (weather reports, horror movies, etc.), offers harebrained theories about human digestion and magic brown dwarves, and describes and acts out disturbing movie scenarios. This volatile figure sports three grotesque masks—one appears to be made out of elaborate, flowery foam; another, a paint-smeared tote bag; the last, a torn white acrylic fur rug—with each marking a different persona. Whether Dodge’s character(s) are cogent and articulate or lost in nonsense and stutter, they plunge us into a sustained and sometimes frightful wrangle with forces that remain unnamable, unclassifiable.
While lighter in tone, Kobayashi’s DO GOOD (Canada, 11 min, 2009) also begins with a masked figure, a painfully shy little girl named Percy forced to do a (stilted) presentation explaining the brownie badge she has created (“Batman for a day”) and how she earned it. Ditsy Yoko, meanwhile, testifies of her love for animals, while keener Jenny warns us of the detrimental effects of TV (Dodge should take note) and chubby-cheeked Georgia encourages us to talk to strangers—unless they’re perverts. This ritual of forced testimonial about one’s ethical superiority seems designed to tame all the restless and reckless energies of childhood—the id of “this beast.” Kobayashi’s uncanny characterizations reveal all the bad behaviour, pubertal humiliations and failed attempts at maturity and normality that besmirch youth, all the mess that is unsuccessfully sublimated by the brownies into uniforms, gendered socialization and (supposedly) altruistic good deeds.
Harriet “Harry” Dodge is a visual artist working in video and sculpture, with a focus on shape, unnameability and hybridity/defiance. She has been acclaimed for her large-scale, performative monologues and her award-winning feature film By Hook or By Crook (2000). Dodge graduated with an MFA from Bard College, and became part of a videomaking team with Stanya Kahn whose work has been exhibited internationally, including at the 2008 Whitney Biennial. Dodge is also co-founder of the collaboration TESTHOLE, which has undertaken a series of community-based interventions/partnerships experimenting with decomposition and fertility, and teaches art and writing at CalArts, UCLA and UCSD.
Alison S.M. Kobayashi is a visual artist working in video, performance, installation and drawing. Working with found narratives from a variety of sources, including lost letters and discarded answering machine tapes, Kobayashi imagines identities for the subjects of these marginalized media. She incarnates a panoply of personas that are both studiously and playfully rendered. Kobayashi won the TSV Artistic Vision Award for Best Local Short Film at the Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival (2006) and was awarded the Mississauga Arts Award for Best Emerging Artist (2007). Her films have been shown in Canada, the US and Hong Kong.
Organised by: Trinity Square Video and Pleasure Dome
Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival (November 11-15, 2009) and TSV are pleased to present the work of two renowned artists, Berlin/Singapore-based Ming Wong and Vancouver’s Jin-me Yoon. Central to the works of both Wong and Yoon is the conflict between body and place—a conflict that is represented by the exchange between the artists’ bodies and the transitional spaces into which they insert themselves.
In Angst Essen / Eat Fear, Ming Wong plays all the characters in a densely layered restaging of Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (Angst essen Seele auf), Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s seminal film about love between cultural outsiders. Using green-screen compositing, Wong is able to appear on screen as both Ali, a young Moroccan immigrant worker, and Emmi, a German cleaning woman – as well as all the secondary characters.
In a pivotal moment from the original film, Emmi and Ali are refused service at an outdoor café. The couple imagines a “somewhere”— a place of reprieve that, when visited together, will alter the reality at hand. “When we get back,” Emmi says, “it will all be different.” With his recreation of this scene, Wong suffers the same indignation: the alienation is echoed as his own race and gender are inserted into the narrative. His redoubled return to this material assures difference.
Jin-me Yoon’s performance-based video series, As It Is Becoming (Beppu, Japan), features the artist, clad in black, crawling on the streets of Japan like an alien creature or a wounded soldier. These rigorous actions evoke scenes of evasion or survival combat techniques. Her body moves through Kannawa District’s urban renewal, through a former U.S. army base converted into a park, and across an atomic treatment centre. Yoon’s odd physical feats do not fit here. The contrast of her clothing against the landscape makes it seem as though she was composited atop the scene, hovering about its surface. Exploring the conflict between her body and these places is twinned with her identity as a Korean-Canadian foreign to Japan. Yoon’s haunting work creates a new, uneasy space for us to consider ideas of identity and nationalism.
Ming Wong lives and works in Berlin and Singapore. He represented Singapore at the 2009 Venice Biennale where he received a Special Mention for his solo exhibition, “Life of Imitation.”
Jin-Me Yoon lives and works in Vancouver and teaches at the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University. She has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally and was shortlisted for the 2009 Grange Prize. She is represented by the Catriona Jeffries Gallery, Vancouver.
We are people of this generation, bred in at least modest comfort, housed now in universities, looking uncomfortably to the world we inherit.”
and other members of Students for a Democratic Society
The insistent voice and vision of 1960’s New Left activists is largely responsible for many of the civil rights we have come to expect. Their speeches, writings, images and actions exist as a critical mode of delivering change: such pictures, words and gestures serve as an important part of the lexicon of post-modern activism and act as a conduit for invoking many contemporary political engagements. These “displays” of civil action are a crucial form that connects its participants – protestor and observer – to the protest and into it.
Rachel E. McRae is a Toronto-based artist primarily working with installation and multiples. She has exhibited work as part of Toronto’s Nuit Blanche and has curated video programs for Toronto’s Inside Out Festival and with the Pleasure Dome experimental film and video programming collective. She is currently pursuing an MFA at CalArts in Valencia, California.
Alex Morrison is an artist living and working in Vancouver, Canada. His work has been exhibited at CSA Space, Vancouver, Künsthalle Bethanien, Berlin, Schirn Künsthalle, Frankfurt, Royal Academy, London, White Columns, New York, and European Künsthalle Köln. He is represented by Catriona Jeffries Gallery, Vancovuer.
Mark Tribe is a New York-based artist and curator whose interests include art, technology and politics. His artwork has been exhibited at various international venues and he has organized curatorial projects for the New Museum of Contemporary Art, MASS MoCA, and inSite_05. He is the co-author of New Media Art (Taschen, 2006) and founded Rhizome.org, an online resource for new media artists, in 1996. He is Assistant Professor of Modern Culture and Media Studies at Brown University.
Organised by: Trinity Square Video
Remember Their Names
Exhibition: July 4 to August 8, 2009
Opening: July 4, 2009, 2 to 5pm
Master Class with Janis Cole: July 18, 3 to 5pm
Sixty-five women disappeared from the streets of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside between 1978 and 2001. Families and friends appealed to the Vancouver Police for five long years to investigate, but the investigation moved slowly. Then came the highly sensationalized discovery that many of the missing women had been murdered.
Canada’s largest serial killing and crime-scene investigation drove the name of the killer to international notoriety. Lost in the shadow of his name are the names of his many victims.
Using photographic, audio and video-based documentary artifacts, such as missing persons’ posters, a broadcast interview and recorded 1-800 tipline calls, Janis Cole mediates our focus on these events through careful layering, repetition and augmentation. By working with documents that group the women’s likenesses as contingent images coded as criminal – specifically, posters that make them seem ‘wanted’ rather than missing – Cole permits the materials that once buried names and personal identities to resurface as memorials that reassert presence while indicting those who dared to disregard life. Confronting systematic dismissal of missing women is long overdue. Remember Their Names propels the “missing women” to women who are missed.
Janis Cole is an award-winning filmmaker, writer and artist. Her feature documentary films include P4W: Prison for Women (1981), which earned a Genie Award and Hookers on Davie (1984), which won a Gold Plaque at the Chicago International Film Festival. Other awards include the NFB’s Best Canadian Short Film Award at the Toronto International Film Festival (1990) and a Toronto Arts Award in Media Art (1994). Her television writing has earned six Gemini nominations and a Writer’s Guild Top Ten Award. She writes for several Toronto publications, teaches at the Ontario College of Art & Design and is completing her Master of Fine Art in Documentary Media at Ryerson University.
Check out a profile of Janis Cole’s exhibition on Canada AM.
Check out Mike Landry’s interview with Janis Cole discussing Remember Their Names
TSV gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council.
Organised by: Trinity Square Video
Video Art is Queer TSV Exhibition:
June 15 – 27, 2009
Video Art is Queer on the big screen at Pride:
June 27 & 28, 2009, South Stage at Sunset
Sunday June 21, 2009, 4 to 6 pm
Ballroom, Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen Street West
Carbs! Carbs! Carbs!:
Please join us at TSV for a fruity pancake breakfast served to you by local arts professionals.
You can “syrup”-titiously down some carbs before you burn them off at Pride!
Friday June 26, 2009,10 am to 12 pm
Cecilia Berkovic, Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan, Barry Doupé, Richard Fung, Dana Inkster, Stephen Lawson and Aaron Pollard (2boys.tv), Deirdre Logue
Curated by Sharon Switzer
TSV is showcasing the exciting new works produced for Video Art is Queer, Pride Toronto’s third annual commissioned video program. The exhibition features seven bold new videos by some of Canada’s most groundbreaking queer artists. Winnipeg duo Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan humorously explore the ins and outs of Canadian sex, local artist Cecilia Berkovic brings a queer birthday shout-out to the screen, and Vancouver’s Barry Doupé creates an animated sculpture. Montreal’s film-noir inspired 2boys.tv offer an expressionistic musing on queer consciousness, while Toronto artistDeirdre Logue delivers an anxiety inducing performance-based piece. Finally, watch out for new works by Alberta-based Dana Inkster, who explores narrative and cultural representation, and Toronto’s own Richard Fung, who’s experimental work deals with race, queer sexuality, and personal history.
Organised by: Trinity Square Video
E.V.E. Absolute Matrix
Video artist Gunilla Josephson will be Trinity Square Video’s Artist-in-Residence during the month of March leading up to the Images Festival. During this time, she will be completing E.V.E. Absolute Matrix, a 60-minute looping video installation. E.V.E. is Josephson’s latest collaboration with musician/pianist Eve Egoyan.
Who or what is E.V.E. Absolute Matrix?
It is She who hovers between monumentum and documentum, suspended in constant mutation, while in the undulating helix of the cerebellum the charred coil insists. Like Kafka’s cockroach1, the Madonna dreams her gargoyle dreams, in claustrophobic ecstasy, at locomotive speed. She, who is also Janus2 and the sonic hedgehog homolog3 is compressed by the white rectangle in her search for the celestial art4. Like Aniara5, a spaceship off-course and doomed to eternity, the E.V.E. Matrix drifts, to the memory of music, black ink on white paper, like a brain in love, in the convolvulus cerebellum. It’s a portrait of Melpomene6, ‘the one that is melodious’.
– Gunilla Josephson
1. Metamorphosis, a novella by Franz Kafka, 1915.
2. Greek God, usually depicted with two heads looking in opposite directions.
3. The SHH protein and its corresponding gene have been found to play an important role in signaling craniofacial patterning.
4. “An die Musik (to Music),” Franz Schubert. “A hymn to the art of music,” 1817.
5. Aniara, a tonal poem/opera of science fiction, by Harry Martinson.
6. Greek Muse of Singing.
Gunilla Josephson is a Swedish-born artist, based in Toronto. She holds a BA in Social Sciences from Stockholm University and a MFA from the College of Art and Design (Konstfackskolan), Stockholm. Her videos have been exhibited extensively throughout Canada and internationally, most notably at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, SAW Video (Ottawa), Cinematheque Ontario (Toronto), Pleasure Dome (Toronto), Bio Rio (Stockholm), the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris, the Swedish Culture Centre in Paris, Kassel Dokumentarfilm & Videofest, and LUX (London, UK). The Images Festival has presented her work on numerous occasions (in each festival from 2000 to 2004). Josephson was awarded the Canada Council Paris Studio residency in 2003 and has been an artist in residence at Circolo Scandinavio (Rome), the Gushul Studio (Blairmore, Alberta), the Nordic Arts Centre (Bergen, Norway), and Charles Street Video (Toronto). Gunilla Josephson’s work is distributed by Vtape (Toronto) and Filmform (Stockholm).
Please check out Gunilla Josephson’s interview in issue #30 of Thingsofdesire.ca
Organised by: Trinity Square Video
Trinity Square Video presents
An evening of new video works based on the idea of the “Villain”
Thursday, March 12, 8pm * The Revue Cinema
Hosted by Keith Cole
Musical Performance by Helena & Radius
Trinity Square Video (TSV) commissioned artists to look into their heart of darkness and expose what lurks within as it continues its trilogy of new video work inspired by classic film archetypes with “Villain” following last years hugely successful evening devoted to “Icon.”
The artists were given five months to create a short using “Villain,” both real and imagined, as the springboard for their projects and were able to utilize all of TSV’s equipment and support. The project has been developed by TSV as part of a trilogy, Icon, Villain and Anti-Hero.
The five videos are being screened for one night only at the Revue Cinema, 400 Roncesvalles Ave., on Thursday, March 12, at an event hosted by the flamboyant and acid-tongued Keith Cole with a musical performance by the visually stunning band Radius and Helena. An after-party at River, 413 Roncesvalles Ave, follows the screening. All proceeds benefit Trinity Square Video, Canada’s first artist-run centre dedicated to the production and exhibition of video.
The participating artists & their films are:
Elephant Bikini (Adrienne Recknagel & Jamie Phelan), ”Cereal Killer”
“Cereal Killer” is a video essay that takes innocuous morning television commercials for breakfast cereals as a leaping off point for examining the life cycle of an average North American TV viewer. We need to eat and we apparently need to escape through entertainment.
Demetre Eliopoulos, “Paper Places”
In ”Paper Places” a writer dealing with a personal loss comes to see his fictional world in a new light.
Jean-Pierre Joubert, “The Devil’s in the Details”
“The Devil’s in the Details” is a very personal “Auteur” film that explores the sensory perspective of the world experienced by Josh, a 9-year-old boy with Autism.
Cheryl Rondeau, “Body of Evidence”
“Body of Evidence” focuses on the lascivious gestures of the femme fatale in order to deconstruct this classic film archetype. Culled from hours of found footage “Body of Evidence” isolates and edits together these moments in the story when our anti-hero seduces the hero.
Gabrielle Zilkha, “How the Grinch Stole my Heart! (and my favourite sweatshirtŠ)”
“How the Grinch Stole my Heart!” borrows Dr. Seuss’ famous villain, the Grinch, and transforms him from Whoville’s mythical Christmas hating goblin into a modern-day ex-girlfriend who breaks Abigail’s heart.
Thursday, March 12, 8pm
The Revue Cinema, 400 Roncesvalles Avenue
Admission: members $6 / non-members $8
Followed by an after party at River, 413 Roncesvalles Avenue
Organised by: Trinity Square Video
January 16 – February 14, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009, 5 – 8pm
Saturday, January 17, 2009 2 – 4pm
Trinity Square Video is pleased to present the Toronto premiere of Map of the City by Montreal-based artist Nelson Henricks. Initiated during a six-month artist residency in Rome, Henricks was inspired by chapels and cathedrals that are three-dimensional representations of biblical texts. From the central concept of a “building-as-book”, Henricks builds a vision of the urban environment as a library that requires both readers and writers.
Like an illustrated version of erstwhile library card-catalogues, Map of the City is constructed as a sequence of exuberantly colourful still images interspersed with text written by Henricks and culled from The Gospel of Thomas and The Bible. Echoing themes in Jorge Luis Borges’ short story The Library of Babel, Henricks presents himself as a dutiful librarian classifying and preserving the endless images he encounters in the city.
Bio: Nelson Henricks teaches at Concordia and McGill Universities. He is a graduate of Alberta College of Art and Design (1986) and Concordia’s Film Production Program (1994). His works have been presented at galleries, museums and festivals worldwide and are in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Museum of Modern Art and the Museo des bellas artes Buenos Aires. Henricks was awarded the Bell Canada Award for outstanding achievement in video art.
Organised by: Trinity Square Video