Death To/Long Live: THE ARCHIVE is series of interviews created by Koffler.Digital, exploring the socio-political function of video art and their archives. We spoke to artists, curators, arts workers, and activists, all with diverse perspectives on the importance of video art and archives. They discuss the politics surrounding the use and misuse of archival footage, the future of the archival process in Canada, and the uniqueness of video art to examine the political and social status quo.
Watch one or all seven of the interviews below
Deanna Bowen | Creating History Through ArchivesDeanna Bowen is a descendant of the Alabama and Kentucky born Black Prairie pioneers of Amber Valley and Campsie, Alberta. Bowen’s family history has been the central pivot of her auto-ethnographic interdisciplinary works since the early 1990s. Her broader artistic/educational practice examines history, historical writing and the ways in which artistic and technological advancements impact individual and collective authorship. She has received several awards in support of her artistic practice including a 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship and the 2014 William H. Johnson Prize. | deannabowen.ca
Avi Feldman | Video As Witness, Video As TruthAvi Feldman is an independent curator and writer, born in Montreal, Canada and raised in Israel. Feldman has studied history, philosophy, art for social change and law -- all of which play a pivotal role in his curatorial projects. Following a 5 months scholarship given by IFA and a residency at the NBK Gallery Berlin in 2008, Avi Feldman is based in Tel-Aviv and Berlin. Feldman is the co-curator of the Koffler Gallery 2017 Fall exhibition, Staring Back at the Sun: Video Art from Israel, 1970-2012. | kofflerarts.org/sbats
Chris Gehman | Defining Counter ArchivesChris Gehman is a filmmaker, curator, and occasional writer who lives in Toronto. His films have been screened, and won awards, at festivals and screening programs around the world. He was Artistic Director of the Images Festival from 2000-2004, and has worked as a programmer for Cinematheque Ontario and TIFF. Gehman is currently the Finance Manager for Vtape, a distribution organization that represents an international collection of contemporary and historical video art and media works by artists. | cfmdc.org
Lisa Myers | Indigenous Video Artists in the '90s
Lisa Myers is a curator and writer, deeply interested in the relationship between geography, museum conventions, food and contemporary Indigenous art. Lisa Myers' recent research considers the encoding and role of materials as signifying power relations and sense(s) of value, examining commodity chains, performance of materials, customary and cosmological value focusing on Indigenous art in North America. | lisarosemyers.com
Maria-Saroja Ponnambalam | Archival Stories in Home Videos
A Latinx South-Asian filmmaker and community arts facilitator, Saroja is passionate about making film festivals and education more accessible. She has worked in programming, research and workshop facilitation with arts institutions and non-profit organizations including the NFB, Regent Park Film Festival, The Metcalf Foundation, Workman Arts, Hot Docs Youth Camp, the Commons Studio and the Mennonite Coalition for Refugee Support and has sat on juries for the Ontario Arts Council. Her independent arts practice involves working with a variety of media within the spectrum of documentary – animation, photographs, home video, and interviews. | mariasaroja.com
Rah | Race & Gender in Video Art
Rah is an Iranian- Canadian video, photo and performance artist. Her work focuses on and critiques the visual stereotypes and performative aspects that shape female gender identity and Iranian ethnic identity. In particular, Rah focuses on the performances through which individuals express such identities and I critique the value and legitimacy of identity and cultural expression. | rah-eleh.com
Sajdeep Soomal | The Archive as ICU and Orphanage
Sajdeep Soomal is a researcher, archivist and emerging curator based in Toronto, currently working at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, the South Asian Visual Arts Centre, and the University of Toronto. Soomal's work is at the intersection of critical theory, activism and design. | sajdeep.com
This series of interviews is inspired, in part, by the Koffler Gallery's Fall 2017 exhibition, Staring Back at the Sun: Video Art from Israel, 1970-2012, which traced the development of contemporary video practice in Israel and highlights work by artists who take an incisive, analytical perspective towards the political landscape of the country and beyond.