About Us

Pleasure Dome is an artist-run presentation organization and publisher dedicated to experimental media, including video and film.

Mission

Pleasure Dome is an artist-run presentation organization and publisher dedicated to fostering a culture of artists’ experimental media, including video, film, and other forms of moving image.

Mandate 

Pleasure Dome is mandated to:

  • foster an appreciation for art expressed in the media of moving images of all formats
  • engage, educate, and generate excitement for underrepresented cinema from local, Indigenous, Canadian, and international artists’, for people interested in the arts and the general public who may or may not have had much exposure to the arts
  • present a variety of different genres, styles, and approaches  from historical to contemporary strategies of cinematic spectacle, disruption and other attempts to re-imagine the experimental media tradition
  • screen innovative works in engaging and “expanded” presentations, including installation and other unconventional exhibition formats.

Our screenings are hosted year-round and in a variety of venues, both in person and online. We almost exclusively program short-length works, and prioritize the presentation of works by  BIPOC artists, artists with disabilities, 2SLGBTQIA+ artists, women artists, non-binary and trans artists, self-taught artists, immigrant and refugee artists, first-generation artists, and other artists from marginalized backgrounds. These artists’ perspectives deepen our community’s understanding of what “the experimental” means, historically and today. 

Values

Pleasure
Accessibility
Engagement
Innovation
Diversity
Fairness
Advocacy
Equity
Transparency
Collaboration
Community

The 2021/2022 Board of Directors:

Andrea Creamer, Chair
Zoltan Huber, Treasurer
Jennifer Laiwint
Kourtney Jackson
Sylvia Nowak

Contact for the Board: info@pdome.org

Staff:

Lauren Fournier, Executive Director

Contact for the Staff: PleasureDomeManager@gmail.com

Office:

Pleasure Dome, at Pix Studios
1411 Dufferin St, Unit C
Toronto, ON, Canada
M6H 4C7

Pleasure Dome is on aboriginal land that has been inhabited by Indigenous peoples from the beginning. We wish to acknowledge the Ancestral Traditional Territories of the Ojibway, the Anishnabe and, in particular, the Mississauga’s of the New Credit whose territory we reside in. This territory is covered by the Upper Canada Treaties. As settlers, this recognition of the contributions of Indigenous peoples must be connected to our collective commitment to Truth and Reconciliation and to bring justice for murdered and missing Indigenous people across our country.

Our Partners and Supporters

Pleasure Dome partners with media art organizations and artist-run centers in Toronto, nationally, and abroad to initiate co-presentations, collaborations, and sponsorships to bring forward culturally diverse and experimental media projects. We are continually looking for ways to enhance the audience experience and welcome new ideas or suggestions for future programming and member interactions.

Pleasure Dome is generously supported by the Toronto Arts Council, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Canada Arts Council, and by our members, sponsors, and community partners.

Title sequence to Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, Kenneth Anger, 1954

Background

“We were just bored that’s how I think it started, bored with watching the same new avant pictures hitting the screen by fathers we never wanted, mothers we’d spent our lives saying no to. We thought fringe cinema wasn’t the church but serious fun, strange new emulsions for strange new lives, and wanted to lend a stage to all those queer, trans, post-pop underthings that had been waiting all along for a place to shine.

We loved super-8 and when our friends were dying we gave them cameras and then the punks came and made zinekinos and there were performances by people who were fucking with emulsion not because they could but because they had to, because it was the only way to face the next day…the miles of tape and emulsion keep running past eyes still open for something akin to our capacity for wonder. Welcome to the Pleasure Dome.”

— Mike Hoolboom, Co-founder of Pleasure Dome

Pleasure Dome isn’t really a place, it’s a state of exhibitionism. Inspired by the muse of experimental film, Kenneth Anger (Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, 1954), the Pleasure Dome programming collective began in 1989 to programme some of the most innovative and challenging work produced by media artists from Canada and abroad. In the course of over four hundred screenings (including feature-length works, solo screenings, mid-career retrospectives, open screenings, thematic programs, and gallery installations), Pleasure Dome has been presenting year-round experimental media arts screening programs, often curating expanded forms of presentations, installations, and other non-traditional formats. We have an on-going commitment to alternative media arts and artists through commissions and exhibiting shorter length and small format work, and to the public appreciation and critical understanding of experimental media art through the distribution and publishing of critical writing on the art form.

This includes the 2019 publication Sculpting Cinema (Editors Melanie Wilmink & Solomon Nagler) which documents the intersections of sculpture, architecture, performance, installation art, and expanded cinema within contemporary Canadian art. Through seven pieces of writing and two artists’ projects, a selection of scholars and creatives from across the country have explored the ways that cinema flows off the screen and into physical space. The book embodies this thematic content through a creative design, making it an attractive collectors’ object and critical discourse simultaneously.

Other publications are Sami van Ingen Moving Shadows: Experimental Film Practices in a Landscape of Change (Finnish Academy of Fine Arts, 2012, Helsinki); The Beauty is Relentless; The Short Movies of Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby (2012, Pleasure Dome / MOCCA), a collection of twelve essays, scripts and art projects on the art of Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby; the 2009 catalogue on the work of Toronto media artist Daniel Cockburn, You Are In A Maze Of Twisty Little Passages All Different, edited by Daniel Cockburn and Jon Davies; and the 2008 anthology Cinematic Folds; the furling and unfurling of images, edited by Firoza Elavia. See the Publications page for complete list.

Pleasure Dome has emerged as the conduit whereby Toronto audiences can see experimental media art that may otherwise have fallen between the cracks of other institutions mandates. From the likes of Peggy Ahwesh and Linda Feesey in 8mm at the Rex Hotel bar to Marnie Parrell and John Kneller at The Cabana Room, John Porter at The Euclid Theatre, Annie Sprinkle at A Space Gallery, Bruce LaBruce at the Metro Porn Theatre, Matthew Barney at the Bloor Theatre, Mike Hoolboom and Barbara Sternberg at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Sadie Benning at the Latvian House, and Frank Moore, George Kuchar, Alex Bag, Rick Prelinger and many, many others at CineCycle, we inhabit any and all spaces which suit our exhibition needs. In all its modes (curatorial/exhibitionist/critical), Pleasure Dome seeks both to preserve the history of image-making and its surrounding discourse and to clear a space for those who are still bored with pictures that don’t hit the screen hard enough.