Artist Talk + Screening
Date: Thursday, February 5, 2015
Time: Artist Talk 2:30-4PM / Screening 7-9PM
Location: Stanford Perrott Lecture Theatre (Alberta College of Art + Design) – 1407 14th Ave NW
FREE admission

Tasman Richardson’s work focuses on entropy, tele-presence, appropriation, synesthesia and JAWA editing (a style he originated in 1996), in which musical composition and narratives are created entirely from video cut ups. He is best known for his critically acclaimed solo installation Necropolis at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art which earned him a place on Bruce Mau’s list of 21st century Canadian Icons. He recently premiered his collaborative performance Hydra at Elektra 14, exhibited his Joan of Arc inspired video rose window Memorial in Paris across the street from the actual rose window, and presented a solo exhibition of lenticular printed decaying VHS portraits at Neubacher Shor Contemporary in Toronto. For more information, go to: www.tasmanrichardson.com

“…Richardson pushes past the surface, and shows us darkness at its heart.” – Murray Whyte , Toronto Star

“His investigation of images tests the limits of our cultural and perceptual boundaries, which he breaks apart and reconfigures with disturbing precision.” – David Jager, NOW magazine

“…an intense, ambitious artist at the top of his game.” - Richard Rhodes, Canadian Art



The True Weight of Sound: Artist Panel – Friday, February 6, 2015 @ University of Calgary
PARTICLE – Friday, February 6, 2015 @ Festival Hall
Do-it-yourself JAWA aka Video Vulture Culture: Workshop – Saturday, February 7, 2015 @ Quickdraw Animation Society
WAVE – Saturday, February 7, 2015 @ Festival Hall

Please check the festival schedule for more information.


Having reviewed this screening, I’ve tried hard to summarize the various themes that have preoccupied me for over a decade. The problem is, I’ve always had my finger in a few pies. I gorge fast and then move on to another flavour. To new eyes, my work may seem very homogenous, possibly even repetitive, but I would ask, please do not mistake my editing style for my editorial content. Each video has been a unique dish to delve in and though the banquette may seem heavy on the sour, I promise you, the breadth of obsession is not so easily reduced.

Lists never help clarify, but in the interest of brevity, I’ll hammer out a general map of the territory we’re going to cover, or at least what’s worth keeping in mind to give context to this flickering barrage you’re about to receive. We start with the Jawa method at its inception in 1996, in which sound and image are never separated, and the musical soundtrack is made entirely from video edits. This method casts off the camera and opts instead to take from the dictionary of established cultural memory. Memory, manipulation, conformity, compression, erosion, fear, worship, lust, death, speed, and oblivion are all themes explored, though not in that order, and so far, never all at once (though I haven’t stopped trying).

I close with these two paragraphs, plucked from my essay titled Contemporary Necromancy. It’s something I wrote for a catalog which accompanied a large physically challenging installation. It’s fitting to leave on this since my practice has evolved to break free of the frame and the restriction of the screen. The screening you’re watching was arranged in chronological order and hopefully, points naturally in this relationship between immediacy, recollection, and an intimacy that relies on direct audience participation.

“Necromancy is not a mystical trick of the past. It survives in our contemporary electronic culture. The medium and the media are one in the sense that recordings contain the spirits of the dead. Their moments, captured in time, are manipulated and made to materialize at will. Ouija boards are long abandoned in favour of remote controls.

The fictions that are woven for us are too scripted to reflect our unrehearsed, erratic lives. Immersed in canned time and canned laughter, more often it is the recorded company we keep that shapes our behaviours.”

As Marshal Mcluhan once quipped “We are what we behold”.

Thank you for beholding.

Tasman Richardson
December 18, 2014


1996, 00:45 minutes, colour

The appropriated icon, a hero of Chinese culture. The re-contextualizing of the symbol and the resultant fast, easily consumed, muddy result. Dedicated to all cultures once noble, now dead and assimilated into the North American palate.

Architecture of Doom
2001, 1:48 minutes, colour, English

You’re not buying a product you’re buying a lifestyle. Uniformity, cross-product compatibility, and fascism. Straight cut edited with no layers for an especially sharp aggressive and perfectly ordered effect.

The Tower Trilogy 3/3:
The Adversary
2002, 1:44 minutes, colour, English

The third and final remix in “The Tower Trilogy” reorders the pre-established language of vengeance and failure to resonate with a new call to arms. Glorious praise for fanatical passion and the endless, unquenchable conflict perpetuated by adversarial polarities unified by their blind hate.

I Stole The Soul of Rock n Roll
2005, 06:31 minutes, colour, English

Through the miracle of video, space and time are collapsed to merge the performances of ice cube, zeppelin, public enemy, the who, and many more, while Charlton Heston chimes in with a little gansta rap. Folded and manipulated into perfect synchronicity in true mega mash post-everything style.

2006, 17:05 minutes, colour, English

“Shadowplay” lays bare the post-human vacuity of pre-recorded existence, echoing Burroughs’ reflection on modern civilization: “nothing here but the recordings.” With a brief explanation of the history of recording media, Richardson describes our brave new world of artifice, emptiness and illusion where the magnetic ghosts of civilization have conquered the living.

——————————20 MINUTE INTERMISSION——————————

The Game
2007, 03:52 minutes, colour, English

What is a game and what is real in a world of remote control warfare, hyper-reality, and military crafted videogames for recruitment? Emilio Estevez, Matthew Broderick and even Burroughs team up to explain.

The Life of Death
2010, 5:38 minutes, colour, English

Long after our death, the canned laughter of our youth echoes on. Our digital phantasm is teleported into the future and experienced by an unknown audience like starlight bridging the abyss of cold darkness. A vintage tube television, a solitary figure, sounds and images—edited in many spaces and many times—converge to produce a sculpture in four dimensions. Inspired by the golden age of live television and one of it’s greatest teleplay authors, Rod Serling. Originally projected on tulle mesh as an installation at AWOL gallery.

Paradise Disko
2010, 05:15 minutes, B&W

Puts the k in Disko like Magick. Illustrates the shift to the dark side of the dancefloor and the end of the party as it was once known. Welcome to a world of hipster early adoption, endless irony, and rampant memetic cultural entropy. Images sourced entirely from google searches and digitally collaged and animated. Commissioned by Derek Mainella for Toronto’s Nuit Blanche 2010.

2012, 01:45 minutes, colour

An eight-foot, circular window resembling the rose window of Notre Dame cathedral is the centerpiece. Each hole in the window is illuminated by a cinematic incarnation of Joan of Arc. The extremely short vingettes are head and shoulder video portraits. These personifications were manipulated manually and played like instruments which were recorded in real-time. The video segments radiate from the centre in chronological order. They are not straightforward loops. In the varying instances they bite their lips, pause, hiss, scream, and weep. Together their sound is a droning chant. With each retelling and remake, the history is further obscured into vague iconography, and clichéd, exaggerated performance. The essence is lost; the truth is reduced to the certainty of being and non-being. The faces of the performers are helpless to look away from the inevitable flames with persist in the centre of the window.

Lethe Baptism
2014, 3:10 minutes, installation loop

Memory is the final format. The finished edit is output as separate soundtrack and image track. Viewers pass through a tall blue (the colour of signal loss) velour curtain into a large screening space. The audience must piece together the edits of image to its sound and decode the meaning of the recombinant clips and the significance of their order.

Comments are closed.