North-South-East-West Catalogue Launch

North-South-East-West Catalogue presented with talk at Research in Art 2014

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The North-South-East-West Catalogue was presented with a talk at the Research in Art Salon 53 in Ottawa Canada on October 8, 2014

With the launch of the North-South-East-West project in 2003, medicine-wheel.co, Thompson received invitations to exhibit his work in North America, Asia and Europe. The new North-South-East-West Catalogue records the history of project and is available from Blurb Books of San Francisco.  The catalogue was launched with a 45 minute talk at Research in Art in 2014 which included a travelogue of shows in Canada, USA, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Australia, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Russia and France. The talk also included a guided tour of the North-South-East-West interactive video, with an emphasis on the relevance of medicine wheel teachings to contemporary life styles by inter-relating the following 5 concepts:
– the 4 cardinal directions (East, South, West, North),
– the 4 stages of life (birth, youth, adulthood, old age),
– the 4 challenges of life (survival, vision, path, wisdom),
– the 4 positions of the sun (sun rise, noon, sunset, night) and
– the 4 seasons (spring, summer, fall, and winter).

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Graham Thompson’s Biography

Ottawa media artist Graham Thompson discovered midlife that he was a Cree Metis with Red River family connections to British explorer Samuel Hearn and Metis rebel leader Louis Riel. This genealogical research lead to the study of Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge. His work in Algonquin talking circles and sweat lodges triggered, with a generous grant from ED Video, the creation of the North-South-East-West Project, an interactive Web-based Medicine Wheel. Thompson has won awards for his media work from the European Film Festival MEFEST, the International Digital Art Awards of Melbourne Australia, Cool Site of the Day of New York and the Common Wealth Vision Awards of England.

Steam Whistle Gallery Toronto, Talking Portraits

Talking Portraits Installation exhibited at Steam Whistle Gallery, Toronto Canada in 2006.

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Sherry Tompalski’s and Graham Thompson’s Talking Portraits Installation was exhibited at The Steam Whistle Gallery, Toronto Canada in 2006.

Sherry Tompalski’s Talking Portait Installation Debuted in Toronto at the Steam Whistle Gallery. Curated by Simon Hermant, the show opened October 26th at 6pm and continued until November 22nd at The Roundhouse 255 Bremner Blvd. in Toronto, close to the CN Tower.

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The Talking Portrait Installation covered an entire wall of the Steam Whistle gallery with 144 square feet of boldly painted close-up portraits. This matrix of 16 paintings immerses the viewer in a field of faces that act as a metaphor for our distilled experiences with other people.

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The installation also includes audio samples and time-lapse photography from the actual portrait sitting which illustrates the concept of co-construction – the reciprocal, mutual influence between an artist and a model that is interactive, bi-directional, and largely unconscious. Thus the finished portraits are a visual coalescence of this process.

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Tompalski’s style is best described as psychological realism, an attempt to capture the psychological experience of another person in paint on canvas. In the Talking Portrait installation Tompalski often utilizes “ironic colour” which was used by Michealangelo in his paintings in the Sistine Chapel. Ironic color is color that is in opposition to the manifest expression of the model, and this adds a complexity to the meaning of the portrait. This ambiguity seems appropriate as people often have complex experiences and mixed feelings. Ironic color captures this beautifully.

Brampton Indie Arts Festival Medicine Wheel

North-South-East-West at Brampton Indie Arts Festival, Toronto Canada, February 2004.

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North-South-East-West was exhibited at Brampton Indie Arts Festival 2004, February 2004.

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The Brampton Indie Arts Festival

The Brampton Indie Arts Festival was created by local musician Richard Marsella in 2000-2007, and restarting in 2011. It was conceived as an annual event to promote underground artists such as musicians, filmmakers, dancers and visual artists. Although focusing on experimental and underground artists, the festival enjoyed sponsorship and support from a number of organizations including the City of Brampton. Mayor Susan Fennell has been on hand for opening nights to give her blessing to the festival.

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The original location of the Brampton Indie Arts Festival was the historic Heritage Theatre in downtown Brampton; with the construction of the new Rose Theatre and subsequent closing of the Heritage, the BIAF was moved to the Rose in 2006. 2007 was the first year without Marsalla at the helm, and the last year of the festival. Insiders have speculated that the new location was simply too big to fill, and the festival was doomed when it lost the intimate feel of the Heritage.

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Graham Thompson and Josh “Dikki III” Lima of the Shaved Asians

The annual event attracted artists both native to the Brampton area and remote, such as Nash the Slash, The Nihilist Spasm Band, Ron Sexsmith, Cuff the Duke, Bob Wiseman, John Oswald, Moneen, Scott Thompson, and Hayden. It also featured experimental arts and short films. A typical night at the festival could include bands, spoken word, art projects, prank calls, puppetry, film and special events such as the Börje Salming Hockey Cup or the Fifty Greatest Beards. All festivals from 2001 have been hosted by Curtains, the puppet MC, with guest host Scott Thompson making occasional appearances.

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Brampton Indie Arts Festival 2004 Musicians

Bob Wiseman, Girl + the Machine, Child at Zoo, Escalate, Kevin Brow Quartet, Hayden, The Quadriplegic twelve, Jeff Straker, sitar player Anwar Khurshid, Maso Trio, Friendly Rich, The Vulcan Dub Squad, Paddington, The Shaved Asians, Five Blank Pages, Matthew Boughner, Nihilist Spasm Band

Brampton Indie Arts Festival 2004 Visual and Multimedia Artists

Graham Thompson, Sonia Birk, Mary Rocque, Graham Pavey, Claudine Perrott, Hannah Jickling, Ryan Hughes, Beatrice EkwaEkoko, €Simon Mohos, Jason Reeves, Matthew Daley, Debbie O-Rourke, Tracy Terry, The Art of the Shaved Asians, Melissa Marr, Katherine McKellar, Adam Earle and Dave Anastasio, Lois Siegel, Michael Brown, Christine Douville, Darren Fernando, Laura Vegys, Ben Pinkney, The Brampton Comic Jam

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Richard Marsella

Friendly Rich, born Richard Marsella, is a Canadian vanguard music composer/musician from Brampton, Ontario. His music has been featured on CBC and The Tom Green Show.

Rich has composed background music for three seasons of MTV’s The Tom Green Show. Since 1994, he has recorded exclusively for his own eclectic record label, The Pumpkin Pie Corporation. Rich has a Masters degree in music at the University of Toronto under the supervision of Dr. Lee Bartel and composer R. Murray Schafer. His main areas of study include musical instrument construction and parade pedagogy.

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Friendly Rich has produced and composed nine full-length CDs, which have been featured on CBC Radio One (five documentaries for Outfront), CBC Radio 2 (continuous airplay on Brave New Waves), TFO (VOLT) and Muchmusic (Muchnews, BradTV).

Friendly Rich is the founder and director of the Brampton Indie Arts Festival, an annual event which promotes underground artists, held in February at the Rose Theatre in downtown Brampton. Since 2000, this event has attracted such artists as Nash the Slash, The Nihilist Spasm Band, Ron Sexsmith, Cuff the Duke, Bob Wiseman, John Oswald, Moneen, Scott Thompson, and Hayden.

Friendly Rich and his live ensemble The Lollipop People signed a deal with Hazelwood Records (Germany) to release two albums in Europe. They have since toured Europe 3 times in the last three years, and have released three records in Europe to date (We Need a New F-Word, Dinosaur Power and Sacred Prune of Remembrance).

Film and television credits

  • 1994 to 1996 – Composer for children’s TV series “The King Stanlislav Show” (Russia)
  • 1998 to 2001- Background music for MTV’s “The Tom Green Show”
  • 2005 – 3 pieces used in Thom Fitzgerald’s 3 Needles (director’s cut) starring Lucy Liu.
  • 2006 – Old Trout Puppet Workshop short film (featuring The Lollipop People).

External links

The ImagineNative Film + Media Arts Festival

North-South-East-West exhibited at ImagineNative Toronto Ontario, 2004.

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The ImagineNative Film + Media Arts Festival of Toronto Ontario featured the North-South-East-West (DVD), in October 2004.

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North-South-East-West (The Flash Interface), North-South-East-West (The Installation) and The Metis Media Installation are interactive media projects that explore traditional Aboriginal culture through modern digital technologies. The work has been exhibited in France, Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, India, Thailand, Taiwan, the Philippines, Australia, Canada and the USA. The project has won awards in Australia, Serbia, Canada and the USA.

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North-South-East-West, the Flash interface, explores the Anishinabe Medicine Wheel – the 4 directions, the 4 seasons,  and the corresponding 4 challenges of life.

The ImagineNative Film + Media Arts Festival

ImagineNATIVE is the world’s largest presenter of Indigenous screen content. We are  committed to inspiring and connecting communities through original, Indigenous film and media arts. Our Festival, Tour, and year-round initiatives showcase, promote, and celebrate Canadian and international Indigenous filmmakers and media artists and create a greater understanding of Indigenous peoples, cultures, and artistic expressions.

CTV’s Technology Show TechNow

North-South-East-West featured on CTV’s Tech Now Program, September 2004.

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CTV’s Tech Now Program hosted by Colin Trethewey features North-South-East-West video installation and Metis storyteller, September 5th 2004 .

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Interviewed on CTV’s Weekly Technology Show – TechNow      

Appearing September 5th 2004 on CTV’s TechNow Technology show  hosted by Colin Trethewey, Graham Thompson discussed his use of Webcasting, streaming video, MP3 files, Net.art, Web Sites, digital video and  Macromedia Flash animations to develop art that promotes an emotional connection to our natural environment. The TV show played sections of his award winning animation North South East West

 

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The Colin’s story entitled ART-TECH ran as follows – Some say “the masters” should never have to share a room with new media art, but galleries everywhere are showing off modern day expressions. So called media installations use video, graphics and sound generated from computer programs to deliver a message. One Ottawa artist Graham Thompson has fine arts and I.T. training that helps him push the limits of tech-art.

Since the fall of 2000 CJOH News has put a special focus on technology, unmatched by   other media. CJOH provides daily coverage in the capital with Technology reporter Colin Trethewey. Every Sunday our technology program TECH NOW takes to the air.

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As part of the CJOH News @ 6 on Sunday, host Paul Brent reports on the technology  industry. Chosen as Canada’s top Science and Technology reporter in 2001 by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance, Paul helps keep you up to date. Regularly first to explain issues and industries, TECH NOW talks to the industry leaders and in 2004 is putting a special focus on NEW TECH, looking at some of the dozens of new firms that have started up in the Ottawa region.

TECH NOW  carries reports from the United States, Hong Kong, Korea, India, and      Britain, to name just a few locations. We also have correspondents in Washington D.C. and San Jose to give us the view from the two biggest U.S. technology centres. To contact TECH NOW email us at technow@ctv.ca and      watch CJOH News @ 6, every Sunday

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Looking back on ten years of Tech Now by Paul Brent, July 3, 2011

What a decade from 2001 to 2011. Consider the technology that we have come to take for granted, and so much of this has come about in the last ten years. It’s an unprecedented pace of change, and really shows few signs of slowing down. Covering all of it has been Tech Now, as we mark our tenth anniversary this year.

CTV Ottawa’s Paul Brent is retiring from the broadcast injury, and marking ten years of Tech Now. From iPhones to the iPod, from Google to Twitter, Facebook, Digital cameras, flat screen TV’s, Kindles and YouTube, they have all arrived in the last decade.

“This morning I did not have to walk out and get a newspaper, I did it with a few clicks on my computer and in real time. Ten years ago that sort of stuff did not happen,” said John Reid of the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance. “I think we are accelerating this change. This is a fundamental shift in how we work and play and get medical care and everything, and we need to realize that this shift is well underway.”

We have easily integrated technology into our daily lives; it seems the devices have always been here. Don Campbell, chief technology officer at IBM Ottawa, said it has been a whirlwind of change in the past decade.

As a devoted techie who carries two cell phones and laptop, Campbell feels change will continue because of human curiosity; about what’s new and shiny and our desire for information. “Everything is at our fingertips all the time and that is changing how we do things and that delivery of information is changing things,” he said. “We just expect, for example, to be able use map-based information; a map, what is that? I don’t even remember how to fold a map.”

The decade began with the bursting of the tech bubble, soaring stock prices for firms like Nortel and JDS started their long, hard fall. Thousands of people lost their jobs in the tech wreck and Gary Davis ran an Ottawa organization from 2004 to 2007 that tried to help tech workers find new jobs. He said government and industry still don’t understand the cycles of tech and how to match jobs with people who want them.

“It amazes me to see what happens,” he said. “I live in Ottawa and a lot of my neighbours work in tech, and they are still living in a state of concern and worry and not knowing if they might lose their job at any second.”

Rick Doyon co-founded an Ottawa PR agency that dealt only with tech firms. He worked with many of the early success stories then sold out his interest and became an author and screenwriter.

“The last ten years have been tough for tech,” he said. “Tough to find money, and tech needs money to move ahead. And we have to realize that the Internet drives everything and it’s really only about 17 years old and so it has been the impetus for everything.”

“The government needs to pay more attention to tech,” he added. “I saw the bailouts for GM and Chrysler and I wondered ‘where is the help for Nortel?’”

In December of 2000, CTV launched the program called “High Tech TV”. A year later like many tech firms we had to change to survive, and Tech Now was born.

Colin Tretheway’s new Venture PRmediaNow

Colin is a Principal with PRmediaNow an agency specializing in crowdfunding which has helped over 50 crowdfunding campaigns raise a combined total of $19 million dollars… and counting.

Before PRmediaNow, Colin was a national technology correspondent and he hosted a weekly TV show called Tech Now – part of a 12 year journalism career as a news, business and technology anchor and reporter. His journalism career helped him master the art of presenting engaging stories about complicated technology concepts to mainstream news audiences. This is an invaluable skill in creating compelling stories for targeted journalists and newsroom decision makers.

Toronto International Video Art Biennial

  • North-South-East-West at TranzTech 2003, Int’l Video Art Biennial, Toronto Canada.

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    Blasting the Past: TRANZTECH 2003, The Toronto International Video Art Biennial, featured digital images from Thompson’s North-South-East-West in September 2003.

    “The 2003 Biennial presents an extraordinary array of local and international artists’ and curators’ work from 15 countries, through screenings, performances, installations, exhibitions and a symposium. Gauging the current of our times, and examining the resonances of the past, the works presented in the Biennial explore a complex assortment of themes: explorations of fear, cloning, ritual and technological anxiety intermingle with visions of justice, beauty, silence and new narrative structures. From the many collaborations of Tranz Tech participants with each other, the presentation of newly commissioned works, youth focused events and accessible ticket prices, Tranz Tech continues its commitment to providing a platform for the exchange of ideas amongst artists and art organizations and the support of diverse audiences within the Toronto arts community.

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    TRANZTECH REVIEW by Irma Optimist about the October 10, 2003 VALID – WAR – INVALID by Pekka Luhta PERFORMANCE at Latvian Hall, 491 College Street Toronto, Ontario

    For this installment of Fado’s ongoing International Visiting Artists series, we feature solo performances by two Finnish artists who incorporate digital media in the form of video projection. Video has been a staple component of performance art since the technology became accessible to artists with the development of the Portapac in the 1970s. The refinement of projection technologies and the widespread availability and affordability of video recorders has accelerated the dialogue between these two time-based disciplines. What was once a complex and technically challenging relationship has rapidly become relatively commonplace, and the ability to accommodate basic video projection is now standard for most performance art producers.

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    Video’s strength is its ability to conjure up images that are not readily at hand: recording what has passed, moving through faraway spaces, or manifesting images that are beyond the everyday laws of physics and logic. By contrast, performance art’s strength is that it offers the opportunity for performer and audience to breathe the same air. In performance, the artist can respond spontaneously to the exigencies of the moment.

    Contemporary artists have employed a wide range of strategies and have a variety of reasons for combining these two distinct forms. In the case of Irma Optimist and Pekka Luhta, two artists whose works inevitably rely on interactivity and improvisation as key artistic tactics, video projections become the fixed supporting player in an unpredictable larger action. The projections serve as an emblem to reinforce the underlying intentions that compelled the performer to engineer this unstable moment of communion with his or her audience.

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    While the two artists have distinct and highly individualized practices, they deploy a similar strategy that provides a coherence for their pairing in this series. Both present performance works that stage an intersection of the deconstructive impulses of intellectual or emotional energy (theory in process) with the reconstructive impulses of the material or physical reality of their bodies (theory in practice). They are fearless in their willingness to mine the charms and foibles of their bodies to provide metaphors that demonstrate, disseminate and at the same time problematize theoretical concepts.

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    For Irma Optimist, who leads a double life as a respected professor of advanced mathematics, female sexuality is the tactic of choice in her performance art works. Using various personas, from sex kitten to the mythical huntress Diana, she seduces, captivates and captures males within her audience in order to explain mathematical formulae. For Pekka Luhta, a prosthetic limb provides the departure point for setting up complex readings of cultural and social theory. Both present works that hint at a slightly surrealist sensibility, employing rapid-fire humour and high-impact visual imagery. A sense of fun generated in the moment where artist and audience come together cushions the later, deeper impact of serious thought that remains.

    TRANZ TECH Backgrounder

    From our original core group of just four organizations in 1999, Tranz Tech has evolved to include the participation of 21 organizations in 2003! This group includes some the most vital artist run centres, collectives, festivals and galleries in Toronto and beyond. In addition to the organizations that participated in 2001, Tranz Tech would like to welcome eight new organizations: Ed Video, famefame, Hard Press Collective, Inside Out Toronto Lesbian and Gay Film and Video Festival, New Adventures in Sound Art, Ping, terminus1525 and Year01.

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    TRANZ TECH is a three-day video festival focusing on a new generation of artists working in electronic media; artists drawing from the history and practice of video art, in both its immediacy and its hands-on approach. This strategic alliance of four of Toronto’s foremost artist-run video centres and exhibitors declares a vision which is both startlingly new and deeply referenced. TRANZ TECH features screenings, performances, installations and artists’ talks, premiering works from London, Paris, Amsterdam, Japan and beyond. Pleasure Dome, Trinity Square Video, Vtape and the curatorial collective VVV (Dara Gellman and Leslie Peters) put their heads and their individual resources together and came up with TRANZ<—>TECH, a 3-day event with the audacious sub-title of TORONTO INTERNATIONAL VIDEO ART BIENNIAL that promised to deliver video screenings, performances, installations, talks and parties. And deliver it did.

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    Here’s a quote from the introduction to the catalogue: “This Biennial declares our interest in and commitment to a new generation of artists working in the electronic media, artists who are referencing the history and practice of video art, its immediacy and its hands-on approach. This Biennial recognizes a vision which is both startlingly new and deeply referenced. “This is Toronto’s first international video art biennial. It literally sprang to life this summer when we came together with various curated programs of international and Canadian video art – mostly produced by emerging artists. This spring, V tape had an international curatorial intern – Stefan St-Laurent – in London, Paris and Amsterdam seeking work by young artists. VVV (Dara Gellman and Leslie Peters) had been working with Jan Schuijren of Montevideo in Amsterdam to produce an exchange between Canada and the Netherlands. Pleasure Dome had been approached by artist/curator Nelson Henricks with a program of work from the found-footage collective Cane CapoVolto, who are based in Sicily. And Trinity Square Video wanted to screen a program of recent tapes from Scotland which artist/curator Nikki Forest from Montreal had selected in Glasgow. “From there our ambitions grew. Jan Schuijren proposed a screening of a program he had recently assembled from the collection of Montevideo in Amsterdam. Tom Taylor (Pleasure Dome) tracked down Tadasu Takamine (of Inertia fame from last year’s Images Festival), who was going to be in Windsor at Artcite in October. Jorge Lozano (Trinity Square Video) got in touch with Mistress Cybernoski (a.k.a. new media artist Sheila Urbanoski) to present her tour of web-based art. Lisa Steele (V tape) invited French artist Bertrand Lamarche to set up his installation TORE (with the support of YYZ Gallery). VVV engaged three Toronto artists (Karma Clarke-Davis, Louise Liliefeldt and Leslie Peters) to present installations during the event; Montreal-based Perte de Signal offered their curated program of international work, Zone d’emergence. And finally, Jan Schuijren proposes Jeroen Kooijmans’ installation piece Work for display.”

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    TRANZ <—> TECH 2001 : THE TORONTO INTERNATIONAL VIDEO ART BIENNIAL

    One important development for TRANZ<—>TECH 2001 was that it was the first year that new works were commissioned specifically for the Biennial. This included The Story In 6 Parts, a collaborative exquisite corpse video project commissioned by the Art Gallery of Sudbury. Charles Street Video also showed a commitment to audio-based art residencies with Scream/Whispers, a multifaceted series of site-specific audio installations that were augmented by audio performances. And lastly, Trinity Square Video presented TRANZ>SEX>TECH, a collection of six commissioned works that claimed to “mix and mutate” toward new sexualities.Below is a block quote from the introduction to the Biennial’s catalogue, as well as a link to a scanned PDF of the publication for those interested in more information on any of the specific works that were included in the festival:“Collaborative presentation efforts are an important aspect of this year’s TRANZ<—>TECH 2001, offering local audiences artists and exhibitions that would otherwise have not been available. F2F, an important presentation of Finnish new media artists organized by the Finnish Foundation for the Visual Arts in New York is a co-presentation of InterAccess, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Design Exchange. Pleasure Dome, Mercer Union and Artcite/House of Toast have come together to bring the Portland-based phenomenon Miranda July to Toronto. VVV is being sponsored by YYZ to present Videocentric, an  international programme that interrogates the intersection between landscape, performance and video. Gallery 44 is hosting video installations by Antonia Hirsch (Vancouver) and Catherine Elwes (UK), and Women’s Art Resource Centre is collaborating with the Centre for Aboriginal Media to present One Broke, a mixed media installation by Cynthia Lickers. Trinity Square Video is the location of a FADO-sponsored interactive web-based performance by Louise McKissick.

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    As well, there are installations by Leslie Peters (VMAC Gallery hosts), Tom Sherman ( Vtape) and a web-based work by French artist Patrick Bernier (also presented by Vtape).The important work being done in single-channel video remains at the core of the Biennial. At a point of intense technological development, video art can be either effect-full or baldly plain, but content and purpose remain the touchstones of the artists who continue to define the art form as vibrant and relevant. Trinity Square Video presents Crossing Over, an international programme addressing post-80s Europe curated by Nina Czegledy and Iliyana Nedkova. Vtape presents Creeped Out, a selection of edgy Toronto artists’ video curated by Lisa Steele and Light Structures, a programme of recent UK video curated and presented by London sensation Dryden Goodwin. The Images Festival sponsors Minor Star, Montreal video curated by Nelson Henricks with a nod to “Warholianness”. Recent Belgian Video is present by Argos Video Distribution in Brussels, The Irresponsible Truth: Three Recent “Documentary” Videos, presented by Artcite/ House of Toast and curated by Jeremy Rigsby features work from Thailand, Lithuania and Beirut.For the audiophiles, there is a theremin performance by Henry Kucharzyk and Peter Hannan, a performance with you-know-what by Women with Kitchen Appliances, and Babble, an interactive video/audio performance by Montreal-based Paul Litherland (with Alexander MacSween) – all sponsored and/or commissioned by Charles Street Video. And Array_1, a new performance by _badpacket_, with audio by PROJECT, is presented by InterAcess.”