Public Domain

PUBLIC DOMAIN
A SAW Video media art commissioning project drawn from Library and Archives Canada’s collection
Screening: October 14, 2011 @ 7PM
Location: EMMEDIA Screening Room
Admission is FREE
Penny McCann from SAW Video and artist Maureen Bradley will be in attendance

Public Domain originated as a video commissioning project of SAW Video, a media-art centre located in Ottawa, Canada. In 2009, seven artists were selected from a national call for proposals to create videos drawn from archival films and photographs held in the collection of Library and Archives Canada. Over the course of a year, SAW Video assisted the artists with the process of researching and collecting materials for use in their work.

The range of mid-career and established media artists selected for this project represent a broad cross-section of media artists working in Canada. Bringing critical perspectives to bear on their found materials, the artists mine the nature of the image for its visual, narrative, mnemonic and evocative potential. While some highlight the fragility and disappearance of images, others focus on their renaissance through recontextualization.

The completed commissioning project premiered in Ottawa on June 24, 2010. Public Domain will tour to a number of venues across Canada, the USA, and the UK in 2011-12.

Background of the project:

Library and Archives Canada holds thousands of film documents which are now free of copyright. These documents cover a wide range of historic events which played a role in the collective history of Canada, such as the First and Second World Wars and our industrial development. In addition to documents of these historic events, the large collection of materials also includes home movies of private events such as garden parties, sporting matches and scenes of camaraderie amongst friends, soldiers and workers. These audio-visual recordings are traces of the private history of individuals, and each provides a different perspective on the passing of time.

The high cost of royalties makes it difficult for many independent artistic projects to use archival documents. If royalties are not paid, the incorporation of archival material, while widespread, is often illegal, which immediately eliminates the possibility of public exhibition in galleries, at screenings, on television, etc. As a result, the use of archival documents and materials from Canadian history is often restricted to corporations and big-budget commercial productions.

While the Library and Archives Canada offers to artists an inexpensive and publicly accessible alternative to this dilemma, researching, finding, and obtaining rights to materials at LAC can be complex, daunting and time-consuming. In order to facilitate access to audiovisual works in the public domain and to eliminate many of the obstacles which could hinder artists’ research, SAW Video has provided research support throughout the duration of the Public Domain project. In screening the new videos and describing the process of this past year, Public Domain seeks to inspire artists to see the archives as a treasure trove for their own work. The project also raises broader questions and issues on copyright/copyleft and specifically on the complex term public domain, a topic currently at the centre of an international critical discourse.

Programme:
 
•     Sara Angelucci (Toronto) – The Beauty Pageant News, 8:47
•     Maureen Bradley (Victoria) – Beyond the Pale, 16:00
•     Gennaro de Pasquale (Montreal) – Vortex, 12:08
•     Steve Reinke (Chicago/Toronto) – Not Torn (Asunder from the Very Start), 9:57
•     Ryan Stec/Véronique Couillard (Ottawa) – Library and Archives Canada Public Domain Reels Documenting Spots of Beauty and Interest in Ontario and Quebec Sometime Ago Remixed Today (VCRS): 19752010, 3:00
•     Suzan Vachon (Montreal) – chant [dans les muscules du chant], 23:32

Artist Biographies:

Sara Angelucci is a photo and video artist living in Toronto. She completed her B.A. at the University of Guelph and her M.F.A. at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. She has exhibited her photography across Canada including exhibitions at Le Mois de la Photo in Montreal, Ace Art in Winnipeg, Vu in Quebec City, the Toronto Photographer’s Workshop, the MacLaren Art Centre, the Art Gallery of Hamilton and the Richmond Art Gallery. Her videos have been screened across Canada and included in festivals in Europe and Hong Kong. Sara has participated in artist residencies at NSCAD (Halifax), the Banff Centre and at Biz-Art in Shanghai, China. Sara’s work is represented by the Wynick/Tuck Gallery and V-Tape in Toronto.

Teacher, curator and artist, Maureen Bradley has produced 32 short films and videos that have screened at festivals and galleries around the globe. Retrospectives of Maureen’s work have been programmed in Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Vancouver and two of her tapes screened at the MOMA (New York). She works in multiple styles and forms including drama, documentary, experimental, and web. Maureen attended the Women in the Directors Chair workshop at the Banff Centre for the Arts in 2002. She is the president of CineVic Society of Independent Filmmakers and has been involved in artist-run culture in Canada for almost twenty years through Image et Nation, Out On Screen, Video In Studios, Saskatchewan Filmpool and IMAA.

Multimedia artist Gennaro De Pasquale was born in Bisceglie, Italy, in 1969. He lives and works in Montreal, Canada. He completed his Fine Arts studies in France. He has participated in many individual and collective exhibitions among which Post-Audio Esthetic, at the Clark Gallery in 2000, he was the initiator and curator of the project. He has shown his works in Europe, Canada, Asia, United States, Brazil, Chile, and Japan. He participated in the exchange between Clark Centre and the Glassbox gallery, shown at the Québec national museum of Fine Arts, and conceived and directed the net art project Post-Audio NetLab. In 2006, he curated the project called Post-Audio_DVD, a compilation of audiovisual works created by Montreal artists. De Pasquale has been particularly interested in the representation of sound through images, objects and installations, as well as in sound as matter, language and autonomous art work. His artistic exploration draws inspiration from a reflection on the impact of technological innovations on our perception of time, the spaces of transmission and socialization.

Steve Reinke is an artist and writer best known for his monologue-based video essays, which are widely screened, collected and exhibited. He lives in Toronto and Chicago, where he is associate professor of Art Theory & Practice at Northwestern University. In 2006, he was awarded the Bell Canada Prize in Video Art. He has edited a number of books, including, with Chris Gehman, the anthology “The Sharpest Point: Animation at the End of Cinema.” Coach House recently published a book of his scripts “Everybody Loves Nothing.” He is represented in Toronto by Birch Libralato Gallery.

Ryan Stec is a Winnipeg born/Ottawa based media artist and curator. His work experience and community involvement spans a wide variety of disciplines and interests. He has been heavily involved in the artist-run culture of Ottawa since 1998. He is currently the Artistic Director of Artengine.

Véronique Couillard is a visual artist who works mostly with video, live video performances and video installation. A graduate from the Fine Arts program at the University of Ottawa, her work has been exhibited in Moncton, Guelph, Saskatoon, Québec, Tracadie-Sheila, Gatineau and other Canadian cities and towns, as well as in Cape Town (South Africa) and Vaasa (Finland).

Interdisciplinary artist Suzan Vachon teaches sculpture, video and other multidisciplinary courses at UQAM’s École des arts visuels et médiatiques since 1992. Between 1991 and 2002, she taught video at Université de Montréal, first in the Art History Department and then in Film Studies in 2004. Considering her art practice as a polyphonic space for research, Vachon questions the relations of resonance and interpretation between architecture and several other media, for example sculpture, video, cinema, sound, literature and photography. Since, 1993, Vachon has focused on Public Art, installing either permanent or temporary works within the architectural environment. Her works divulge an interest for staging light and develop various spatialization strategies to revealed images onto different types of screen and by luminous bodies. In 2001 and 2007, she was a runner-up for the CALQ Award, presented at the RVCQ, for best experimental artwork. Her videos have been shown and nominated at several International Festivals (France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Mexico and Argentina).

For more information on this project, please visit SAW Video’s website here.

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