September 26, 8 PM @ Geary Lane, 360 Geary Ave
Part of Fall 2015
New Toronto Works, now in its 22nd edition, is a stalwart of Pleasure Dome’s fall season, and this year’s selection offers a diverse survey of the most vibrant moving-image work Toronto artists have to offer. Across found footage experiments, computer and stop-motion animation, documentaries, travelogues, essay films, formal exercises, and installations, these works are a testament to the limitless creativity of this city’s practitioners.
Curated by Amber Christensen & Jesse Cumming
Still Feeling Blue About Colour Separation, Christine Lucy Latimer, 2015, 2:08, Super 8mm
Clarabel, Ben Bruhmuller, 2014, 11:10
The Irony of Fate, Felix Kalmenson, 2015, 11:48
Colour Theory, Barbara Sternberg, 2014, 4:31, 16mm
Covered, Jonathon M.B. Hunter, 2014, 6:50
By the Time We Got To Expo, Phil Hoffman & Eva Kolcze, 2015, 9:06
Alberta, Dan Browne, 2014, 2:50
Amtrak, Sylvain Chaussée, 2014, 8:25, 16mm
Clear and No Screws, Brett Story, 2014, 6:25
Bevel, Katie Kotler, 2014, 1:55
A Good Place to Hide, Sarah D’Angelo, 2015, 0:52
Let Me ASMR You, Clint Enns, 2014, 2:40
(All works projected digitally unless noted)
Installations by Layne Hinton and Augustina Saygnavong.
Music by Slime City DJs (Julia Dickens & Jesse Locke)
NEW TORONTO WORKS 2015
Toronto is a city of innumerable film, video and art scenes, a city of multiple narratives, histories and presents. While these trajectories often knowingly and unknowingly intersect and overlap, several remain discrete and separate without intervention and facilitated exchange. Pleasure Dome itself is a shape-shifter of sorts, from our nomadic exhibition model to our perennially diverse organization that attracts a rotating coterie of artists, academics and curators, drawn to the collective’s esteemed histories and countless possibilities. In the 26 years of Pleasure Dome’s existence and the 22 years of our annual New Toronto Works showcase, the collective has endeavoured to traverse the frequently diffuse ideas, opinions, and practices that exemplify this city’s film and video scenes.
As co-curators of this year’s New Toronto Works we are both relative newcomers to the city. Despite an enthusiasm for all that Toronto’s arts have to offer, we have assembled a program that is admittedly far from definitive. The scope of the survey is not intended to be all-encompassing but aims to offer one curated snapshot of the experimental work produced by Toronto artists over the last year. As such, this year’s New Toronto Works arrives without any additional qualifiers or an overarching thesis. Instead, this program revels in the medley of accidental similarities and fertile dissonances between recent works from emerging, mid-career and established artists (including Pleasure Dome founding members Barbara Sternberg and Philip Hoffman) who redefine the boundaries of contemporary moving image practices.
Sober work like Brett Story’s Clear and No Screws, an off-shoot of her forthcoming documentary on contemporary prisons, is positioned adjacent to Sarah D’Angelo’s playful Claymation miniature A Good Place to Hide, both films offering revelatory peeks into worlds beyond obstinate dichotomies. Nostalgia-tinged cinematic journeys are evoked in mixed media experiments, like Ben Bruhmuller’s dreamlike Clarabel as well as By the Time We Got To Expo, Phil Hoffman and Eva Kolcze’s collaborative trip back to 1967 Montréal through manipulated documentary footage. Terrestrial, personal and socio-political, Felix Kalmenson’s The Irony of Fate is an essayistic examination of the Soviet Union that questions one’s relations to time and place, and Sylvain Chaussée’s hypnotic Amtrak surveys the American landscape anew.
Emerging artist Katie Kotler’s dazzling computer-animated Bevel plays with the formalist qualities of digital code, while Toronto veteran Barbara Sternberg’s 16mm film Colour Theory belies its structural affinities, by foregrounding the often unnoticed political implications of colour. Sensorial excursions are embarked on in both Clint Enns’ coy Let Me ASMR You and Dan Browne’s, Alberta. While Enns’ collaged study of ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) provokes a strangely alluring yet irritable pleasure, Dan Browne’s hypnotic pilgrimage through the Rocky Mountains revels in the space of the sublime. Reaching backward to different histories, both Latimer and Hunter use the mechanism of re-performance in a way that re-invigorates the past and present. Christine Lucy Latimer’s Still Feeling Blue About Colour Separation– re-photographs 1970s colour calibration tools originally used by small-gauge Kodochrome filmmakers that have found new purpose within the digital realm, and Jonathon M.B. Hunter’s accomplished Covered, a re-enactment of a 1966 CBC television inter- view with musician and First Nations activist Buffy Sainte-Marie, proves her words as poignant today as ever.
While New Toronto Works focuses on contemporary, boundary-pushing projects, sometimes the best work does so by looking backwards, mining the history of moving image art and beyond. Appropriately, this year’s two installations embrace the fundamental ingredients in the creation of moving images: light and darkness. Layne Hinton’s Shadow Machine No. 4 harkens back to proto-cinematic toys of the 19th century, while Augustina Saygnavong’s Running Through the Deep Dream with Rihanna is a sort of contemporary reverse pinhole camera where digital and human dreams collide.
The contradictions at play in this program and the double gesture enacted by several works— pointing forwards and backwards—might seem a recipe for incoherence. While far from definitive, this survey of works suggests something greater than the sum of its individual parts, offering a glimpse at the breadth of the ideas and elements at play in our city.
– Amber Christensen & Jesse Cumming