CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: The Stories That Tell Stories

DEADLINE: 10 June 2018, 11:59PM
Submission Forms available here

Trinity Square Video is seeking submissions for our annual Themed Commission: a program inviting artists and creative technologists to workshop and produce new projects in a collaborative environment of like-minded artists and mentors. Titled The Stories that Tell Stories, this year’s theme invites applicants to consider the kinds of relationships we create between images and objects, and the systems that determine how these relationships figure on the backdrop of shared history. The Stories that Tell Stories seeks to look at narrative broadly as a systemic tool—both for forms of oppression and nation-building, but also for activists, thinkers, and citizens committed to countering systemic violence. As a technology-driven artist-run centre, we’re especially interested in where technologies fit, and how they facilitate the worst and the best implementations of narrative in shaping politics and society.

Proposed projects might address questions including, but not limited to:

  • What is a shared history? And what are the problems with the idea of shared culture?
  • What are the power dynamics involved in efforts to preserve national heritage?
  • How do artists employ recent technologies to generate more equitable methods of sharing information?
  • Who has ownership over virtual objects? How does virtual space complicate the relationship of makers to their objects?
  • How can we decolonize our understanding of, use of, and relationships to technology?
  • How can we decolonize digital spaces?
  • How can we counter the institutional gaze of anthropology and the ethnographic impulse in determining modes of representation? In breaking down anthropocentrism, how can we then incorporate decolonizing methodologies in our discussions of other-than-human agents? 
  • What are ways in which artists can and want to exercise self-determination?

The Stories that Tell Stories will provide an open and experimental environment through the summer months, where successful applicants can deliberate on these issues along with invited mentors to develop and present a group project in any format. In addition to curatorial support from TSV and the invited mentors, successful applications will also have the opportunity to access TSV’s larger membership community for guidance and counsel. Through this dialogue, the Themed Commission will parse the political, social, and cultural contradictions that continue to shape our contemporary systems of creation and institutional operations.

An objective for Trinity Square Video, both in this iteration of the Themed Commission program and as an organization, is to develop decolonized practices for responsible, institutional critique through meaningful reflection on the digital and social methods of visualizing realities and awareness.

Each selected artist will be given access to Trinity Square Video’s production and post-production equipment and facilities as well as full access to Trinity Square Video’s gallery from June – August, 2018. Participating artists are expected to participate in group meeting and planning sessions, and will be expected to complete their project (or a draft of their project) in time for a group exhibition at Trinity Square Video in late August 2018. Successful applicants will be able to invite a mentor of their choice to group meetings, to further inform the dialogue. Mentors will be provided an honorarium by Trinity Square Video.

Submissions will be reviewed by the Trinity Square Programming Committee and an external juror who will make selections based on the proposed project’s innovation, feasibility, aesthetic potential, and conceptual merits.

Trinity Square Video is excited to announce that this year’s external juror is filmmaker, performance artist, and writer Thirza Cuthand.

Selected artists receive:

  • Up to $1000 credit in production equipment rentals for the creation of their projects;
  • Access to the Trinity Square Video Media Lab June – August, 2018;
  • Trinity Square Video membership or renewal;
  • $350 cash in production support;
  • Participation in a group exhibition with CARFAC fees (August 2018)
  • Invited mentors receive $150 honorarium

The artists will participate in group-critiques of works-in-progress, where they can receive peer-support and feedback.

All Greater Toronto Area emerging, mid-career and established artists working in all forms of media are welcome to submit. Proposals from those living outside Toronto and surrounding area must ensure that the artist will attend all Themed Commission related activities at their own expense or via Skype/Google Hangs.

Applications forms are available here

All applications should be submitted via e-mail to 
[email protected]

Subject line: “The Stories That Tell Stories” Submission


The themed commission is generously supported by:

*image credit: Amanda Boulos, FamILoveYou, 2017. (Commissioned for the 2017 Themed Commission, the moving copy)