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_Connective_
Emmedia_presents

A_screening_of_feminist_video_art_by_Canadian_women

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OCTOBER 26, 2011 @ 8 - 9:30PM | EMMEDIA Screening Room - 203, 351 11 Ave SW | Admission is FREE

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Connective XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Connective is a nerve that joins us to hundreds of feminist media artworks produced in Canada since the mid 1970s. Though the program merely touches the surface of these practices, it embodies a zap of inspiration, a tingly tutoring and a spark for conversation. Connective is also an opportunity to celebrate Womens History Month and to acknowledge the 100th anniversary of International Womens Day. On October 18th, 1929, women were declared to be persons by the Supreme Court of Canada. (White women that is - Asians were denied the right to vote until 1947, and until the 1960s, Indigenous people couldnt vote in Canadian elections without giving up their treaty rights.) The works collected in Connective are but a speck in the vast number of films and videos by Canadian women. Particles are the most important part of the videotape they are responsible for picking up and carrying the video signal. It is the particle size, composition, density, and distribution that determine the quality of a tape. This screening is an attempt to capture just some of the quality and depth of feminist media practices in Canada. Connective is also a reference to the cables and wires that channel how media art is created; hard wiring the flow of energy to make signals tell a story. Connective tissue provides a structural framework that binds and supports the human body, protecting and connecting at the same time. Of course, connective tissue can also carry destructive and deadly cancer cells. Initiated by Calgary friends of Patricia Duquette, the pre-screening (pun intended) event, Conspiracy Against Cancer, raises money for women in breast cancer treatment. Patricia is currently in treatment and living in Montreal. During her time in Calgary, she was a producing member, staff member, board member and President of the Board of Directors at EMMEDIA. As part of herland she served and consulted on various committees and was Festival Director from 2002-2004. Proceeds of the event will be divided between Elephant Artist Relief and Patricia. E.A.R. is an organization whose primary mission to build and maintain the practical support necessary to sustain the well-being of those in our community who have dedicated their lives to the practice of making art. There is a parallel between connective and collective, which is the way womens work is often done and how decisions can be made. When a connected collective of people are thinking and doing the same thing at the same time, a nurturing and flourishing power is the result.

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Women and media art were a natural fit from the start of video-making in the mid 1970s. The immediacy of the medium and the accessibility of the equipment provided an opportunity for women to broadcast their point of view, something often absent from mainstream media. The number of women working as directors and producers in the mainstream film and television industries is still abysmally low. Perhaps that is why women continue to be attracted to producing short independent video works. Acting as director, producer and writer all rolled into one; they have the skills and ability to intellectualize an issue, speak from a personal esthetic and engage audiences in less than 5 minutes. One example illustrates the powerful resonance of this direct approach. In Birthday Suit, an iconic piece of Canadian video art produced on September 22, 1974, Lisa Steele uses the camera and her body as narrative in an intensely personal video. Four decades later, Calgarian Wednesday Lupypciw builds on this history with confident, dynamic and intimate videos that tackle issues of feminism and sexuality, such as Tranzar Pras Amantes: Sex is for Lovers (2008).

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Connective was created using a community-based approach. Building a library of titles, I chose pieces that resonated among my peers and friends. Tammy McGrath was one of many who recalled and recommended the Exploring the Bully Within installation by Brigitte Dajczer and Sandi Somers, which included Pugnacious. The program unfurled like a spiral when Sandi Somers reflected on Drawing the Line as a critical installation that documented a critical time for queer artists. Suggestions of titles came along with a deep conviction to feminist media art screenings in Calgary, and sorrow for the demise of a significant outlet for this work, The herland Feminist Film and Video Festival. Mining for these memories online and through archived program guides, I developed a program that would be 6 days long. This

massive wish list was then tapered to represent a diversity of subjects and genres, but the length of the program was truly limited by the budget and resources available. The herland Feminist Film and Video Festival (1989-2007) was a pivotal experience in Calgary, bringing together artists, filmmakers, feminists and community members to showcase media artwork by, and about women. As Mutriba Din and Sandy Dobrowolsky describe in The herland Chronicle, herland reflected and responded to harsh realities and served to politicize women at a time when feminism was being neutralized if not delegitimized. It was in this period, in this hostile climate, that herland sprouted, was nurtured and grew. I strove to honour herlands commitment to an anti-sexist, anti-racist and anti-homophobic philosophy in programming Connective. While herland was an artistic and cultural celebration, it was also very political and the pieces chosen for Connective are most certainly a manifestation of the herland experience. It should be noted that womens media artwork includes a wide spectrum of installation-based and process-oriented projects, but the format of this screening limits the inclusion of these works. Again, the titles selected in this program reflect only a small part of the broad picture that women create in subject matter and distinct approach. Curating a program of screen-based work that goes back even one decade, showcases an extensive array of possible formats: 3/4-inch U-Matic, Betacam, 3/4-inch U-Matic SP, M-II format, Betacam SP, Hi-8, Super 8, 16 mm, 8 mm, 35 mm, DigiV, HD and more. Digitized titles from the 1990s were not easily available from distributors, so previewing the work was cumbersome. Though the works in Connective reflect myriad changes in format over the years, all of the pieces are screened digitally, regardless of their shooting format. Built from the memory and inspiration of a community, Connective reveals powerful links between feminist media art practices in Canada, stretching from the 1970s to the present day. While the works collected in this screening represent only the surface of this vast archive, these valuable connections serve as a source of discussion, herstory and inspiration.

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Like art, revolutions come from combining what exists into what has never existed before. - Gloria Steinem

About the Curator

Sharon Stevens, an award-winning artist and activist, is an instigator whos made a career of integrating art, activism, feminism, and social justice into a series of projects that enlighten, enliven and entertain. A life-long grass roots community activist, Sharon was the recipient of the William Irvine Award for Social and Environmental Justice in 2010. In congratulating the Unitarian Church of Calgary for their recognition of Sharon, the board and staff at The Arusha Centre described Stevens as, a deeply rooted Calgarian who brings gusto to our Citys social justice and sustainability work. Since 1989, Sharon has worked as an independent video producer with a firm commitment to production values that include collective process and feminist analysis. She describes her interest in video and visuals as intersecting with audio to create a safe, unified, audio-visual space to collect stories. Her unique approach to storytelling has been evident from her earliest works such as PMS Hotline, through to her 1996 award-winning documentary, Doodlebugs: the Video, and her current projects such as Ox: Crash Course with its audio podcast walking tour, and her community engagement work with Id Collective where telephone and answering machines are used to collect stories today. In addition to her own creative work, Sharon has served on boards for a number of artist-run centres in Calgary, including six years of volunteering for herland feminist film and video festival. During her tenure with the festival, she co-founded herlands InCamera Film/Video Production Workshop, where she shared skills with emerging artists as one of the programs facilitator/mentors. She currently sits on the board of the Calgary Folk Music Festival and the Alberta Media Arts Alliance. As a feminist art practitioner, Sharon has not shied away from challenging cultural norms. Her 1991 collaborative project, Video Graffiti (with Not a Pretty Picture Productions) was screened on sidewalks from inside a newspaper box. It included Condom Nation, a short video that examined safer sexuality and PMS Hotline, a confessional exploration of menstruation and PMS. Her work is rooted in the personal, but dont expect a Dr. Phil moment. For Sharon not only is the personal political, the political is personal and her work continues to be animated by her engagement with her community and by her commitment to work for the well-being of the planet through activism in the arts, or is it art in activism? - Nancy Jo Cullen, poet, author, feminist

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Mulberry Red, #17 (4:42 min) Kelly Ann Beaton 1999, 16 mm

Program

A persons life can be measured in a number of ways - minutes, days, years... even lipsticks. Mulberry Red, #17, tells the story of womens lives as chronicled by a lipstick. Films reflecting womens lives from the perspective of a common denominator, like lipstick, were favorites at herland. We met at the International Womens Festival in St. Johns, Newfoundland in 2000 and Im pleased to include this film in the Connective program.

Before Two Portraits of My Mother (1:44 min) Lorna Jamison 2005, 16 mm


An interpretation of mile Nelligans poem Before Two Portraits of My Mother, this piece uses old footage compiled with new and projected. Its a wonderful use of performance with film. Lorna was a graduate of the 2005 In:Camera Film Production Workshop. Women-led and women-only, the intensive ten-day workshops graduated 62 women in 6 years.

India Hearts Beat (14:00 min) Leila Sujir 1988, Video/Super 8


The lives of three women from different generations and cultural backgrounds are woven together in an electronic tapestry, using real and surreal landscapes. The narrative conveyed through performance and text by Ruth Horricks-Sujir, Rachna Joshi, and Leila Sujir, focuses on notions of homesickness and cultural displacement - travelling not as a tourist, but as a foreigner. The film footage, shot in India, is reprocessed, making a river of images that becomes a place of memory and imagination, encircled by the fabric of the narrative and the video itself.

Pugnacious (6:00 min) Brigitte Dajczer + Sandi Somers 2000, Video


Sweaty men may be sexy men, but are sweaty women glorified in the same way? As the two characters challenge themselves physically and mentally, the viewer cant help but be torn by the raw, seeming loss of their femininity, contrasted with a beautiful boxing dancer in the knockout sequence that follows. With nothing but the sounds of the ring, these female fighters unknowingly deconstruct the pop culture bullies we often dream of being. Glamourized aggression is placed into a context emptied of ever-present mass media stereotypes. Visceral and intriguing, Pugnacious offers the viewer six minutes of intense curiosity, involvement, suspense and yes....a final champion. Part of a trilogy and installation called Exploring the Bully Within, this was an incredibly powerful video installation work that was exhibited at The New Gallery in 2000. One of the video pieces was installed in an old arcade game while others were projected on the wall.

There was boxing, underwater fighting (there were moments in this piece when it almost looked like underwater ballet, it was both violent and beautiful) and a fight between Barbie dolls with Brigitte dressed up in a cow outfit and Sandi dressed as a cowgirl. - Tammy McGrath

Drawing the Line (7:30 min) Lorna Boschman 1992, Video


A tape about the photo exhibition of the same name created by Kiss & Tell, a group of lesbian artists including Persimmon Blackbridge, Lizard Jones and Susan Stewart, a Vancouver-based collective whose work examined lesbian sexuality and censorship. Spectators, participants or voyeurs were invited to write comments about images depicting a range of sexual practices between women. The soundtrack is equal part girls making out, and the voices of women who produced and/or experienced the show. Chock full of opinions about the most fiercely debated aspects of erotica and porn, Drawing The Line steps into the fray as a solid documentation of a pulse-taking art event. I think that Kiss and Tell was VERY important to the lesbian community during the identity politics of that time and it started a movement. I believe at that time the womens / gay/ lesbian book store (Little Sisters Books, Vancouver) was being forced to shut down due to censorship and confiscation of their books due to gay content. There were a lot of battles happening then. It was a revolutionary time for queers. Sandi Somers

Tee Hee Hee (3:32 min) Ling Chiu 1995, 16mm


A student of the film program at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, Ling Chiu makes a powerful statement in Tee Hee Hee. It was essential to include a piece on the Montreal Massacre in this program and Tee Hee Hee is stirring memorial to the women killed at Lcole Polytechnique on December 6, 1989. Screened at herland in 1995, the piece and is simple and thought provoking without being dramatic or documentary in style. It is certain to leave viewers with a lasting impression. herland reflected and responded to harsh realities and served to politicize women at a time when feminism was being neutralized, if not delegitimized. The much-heralded death of feminism took a horribly literal turn with the Montreal massacre. It was in this period, in this hostile climate, that herland sprouted, was nurtured and grew. - Mutriba Din and Sandy Dobrowolsky, The Herland Chronicle, 1999

Spirit of the Bluebird (5:49 min) Xstine Cook + Jesse Gouchy 2011, Animation
Xstine Cook lives in the house behind the spot where Gloria Black Plume was murdered in 1999. For 11 years, she sought contact with Glorias family and searched for an artist to create a memorial mural. This film is the result of that search. Using spray paint on a fence and garage where the Aboriginal mother and grandmother was brutally killed, Cree artist Jesse Gouchey creates a large scale animation of a bluebird in flight. The beauty and freedom of the bluebirds motion is contrasted with memories of Glorias surviving family members, who provide an emotional glimpse of a woman lost to violence and the

injustice of the legal system. Im an artist, so you believe art can change the world. I dont know how it will change the world. I just hope that people remember her. People have memories of her being a happy and loving person, so for her life to end like that is so wrong. - Xstine Cook, Film review by Craig Palmer, Spirit of the Bluebird animation soars, FFWD Weekly, September 22, 2011.

Your Name in Cellulite (6:00 min) Gail Noonan 1995, VHS/35mm/Animation


A wickedly funny satire about the disparity between a womans natural beauty and the ideal promoted by the mega-billion dollar advertising industry, this animated film shows how far we will go to change the shape of our bodies to meet the demands of an impossible image. However, our heroine can only maintain her picture-perfect exterior if she restrains her bodys natural spontaneity. Your Name in Cellulite ponders visually the point at which the body will say Enough is enough! and take matters into its own hands. Humour is an effective way to reach, teach and connect, and Noonans work embodies this with outrageous animation that dispels misconceptions about women. As Noonan explains, Society often promotes the notion that women dont exist as they are created, they are made.

Super (2:44 min) Shawna Dempsey + Lori Milan 2009, Video


What would a feminist superhero look like? Could she leap tall buildings in a single bound? Could she bend steel with her bare hands? What would her name be? And would anyone remember it? Commissioned by MAWAs Art Building Community Symposium, performance artists Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan have created an aging superhero with unusual powers. Watch as she wrestles the notion of super to the ground! In light of reality TV and celebrity culture, where everyone who wants to be a superstar can be, does super still exist at all? The work features a spandex-clad hero and astonishing feats of bravery.

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A working artist, Kelly Ann Beaton created Pink Slippers Productions, an Ottawa-based independent film and theatrical production company, in 1998. Her films, Mulberry Red, No. 17 (1999), 10:33 (2001), The Organist (2002) and My Fur Hat (2005) have been screened at national and international film festivals. Active in the Ottawa cultural community, Kelly Ann has been involved with a number of organizations, including the Ottawa International Jazz Festival, and is a member of the Independent Filmmakers Cooperative of Ottawa (IFCO), and SAW Video. She is a guest instructor at IFCO and University of Ottawa. Born in Carrot River, Saskatchewan, Lorna Boschman has been a documentary and media artist for over twenty years. Her work has screened at international festivals and venues, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Since 2000, Boschman has directed several videos, including Before the New Millennium (2007) about the performances of Kiss & Tell, a Vancouverbased collective whose work examined lesbian sexuality and censorship. In 2010, Boschman was a PhD candidate at Simon Fraser Universitys School of Interactive Arts and Technology. Her research interests included studying how novice directors use digital media to communicate, and how women over the age of forty use digital fitness games to support a program of physical activity. Ling Chiu was born in Hong Kong but has lived in Canada for most of her life and calls it home. She has written, directed,

About the Artists

and produced a number of award-winning short dramatic and experimental films and videos, as well as a documentary, From Harling Point, with the National Film Board of Canada. Ling is a graduate of Ryersons Radio and Television Arts program in Toronto and the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design Film and Video program in Vancouver. Xstine Cook is a Canadian artist based in Calgary, Alberta. A mask and puppet maker, and experimental theatre artist for over 20 years, she now includes filmmaking in her art practice. Xstine is the Artistic Director and Founder of Calgary Animated Objects Society (CAOS), and is the Curator of the International Festival of Animated Objects, a biennial festival of mask and puppetry in Calgary. Montreal-based Brigitte Dajczer became interested in video art while studying at the Alberta College of Art and Design. She co-produced Exploring the Bully Within with Sandi Somers; a series of videos that have been screened throughout North America and Europe. Dajczer is also a violinist who plays in the Balkan band Les Gitans de Sarajevo, and she composes most of the music heard in her videos. Her recent work, entitled Mtro Series, consists of three shorts that explore Montreals Mtro stations; the architecture, commuters, and the strange narratives that come out of them. In 2005, Dajczer completed her MFA at Concordia University in Studio Arts, and Les Gitans de Sarajevo was nominated for a Juno in the World Beat category.

Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan create smart and funny feminist performances, films, videos, artists books and public art projects. Each year they tour to an average of ten Canadian cities, and have performed throughout Japan, England, Germany, Austria, Portugal, Australia, and the United States. They are infamous for pieces such as Were Talking Vulva, A Day in the Life of a Bull-Dyke and Lesbian National Parks and Services. All of their work explores transgression, monstrosity and the forbidden. A 29 year-old Aboriginal artist raised in Red Deer, Alberta, Jesse Gouchey grew up drawing and sketching as a hobby while competing with his siblings for the best quality art. Learning as much about fine art as he could in school, Jesse took to street art and graffiti to satisfy his need for colour and expression. Curating, exhibiting and collaborating in many exhibitions, he has shown in several galleries around Central Alberta. Jesse received animation training as part of Quickdraw Animations Aboriginal Youth Animation Project. Jesse is currently a junior artist on an Aboriginal graphic novel, and enjoys how his art has brought him closer to his Cree heritage. Lorna Jamison is an educator, mentor and communicator. She has contributed to the online learning tool Seeing with New Eyes: A Journey through Blackfoot Knowledge. She was a participant in the herland In:Camera workshop and uses media and technology in her teachings. A resident of Mayne Island, British Colmbia, Gail Noonan completed her first 16mm film Play Ball while studying in the

Animation program at Emily Carr College of Art and Design in Vancouver. Upon graduation, she was invited to finish her first 35mm film at den Draak Film Productions in Holland. The result was Two Beautiful Stars, a three and a half minute animated parody of relations between the sexes, which received an Honourable Mention for Best Animation at the Atlanta Film and Video Festival. Sandi Somers work as an artist, filmmaker and theatrical designer has been seen across Canada, the United States, Europe, Australia and Africa. She is the co-creator of the film and video installation Fantasmagoria, the website Fantasmagoria II and Exploring the Bully Within. Leila Sujir has a twenty-five year practice as a media artist, and a background in narrative structures from the University of Alberta with subsequent graduate work in Postmodern theory and Post-colonial Theory. From 2005 through 2006, she was a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the University of Calgary, a one-year research position as an artist in the Interactions Lab of the Department of Computer Science. Luminous Stories, a solo exhibition which has toured Canada, covered ten years of her video production work, from 1989-1999.

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EMMEDIA
Where media arts live.

Gallery & Production Society


EMMEDIA is a Calgary-based organization that promotes and advances video, audio, and time-based media arts production. We work within the artistic, social and cultural community to provide broadcast and high definition video and audio production and post-production facilities. The centre also maintains a public exhibition program year-round. EMMEDIA offers an array of media and web production workshops and residencies, commissions and access programs in the media arts. EMMEDIA has been a voice and a venue for the media arts in Alberta since 1979. EMMEDIA is supported through assistance from The Canada Council for the Arts, The Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Calgary Arts Development, National Film Board, Alberta Media Arts Alliance, Webcore Labs, private and corporate donations, self-generated revenues, and the volunteer efforts of the arts community.

EMMEDIAS 2011/2012 PROGRAMMING THEME IS:

EMMEDIA IS LOCATED AT: #203, 351 11 Ave. SW Calgary, Alberta T2R 0C7 ADMIN, PROGRAMMING, + COMMUNICATIONS: 403.263.2833 PRODUCTION, WORKSHOPS, + EQUIPMENT RENTALS: 403.263.2838 FAX: 403.232.8372 EMAIL: emmedia@emmedia.ca HTTP://WWW.EMMEDIA.CA HOURS OF OPERATION: Monday - Saturday @ 10 AM - 5 PM
Program edited by: Jennifer McVeigh Program Design: Vicki Chau

AMAAS

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