Nocturnal Zodiac (Chris Chong Chan Fui, 2022) installed in the Vari Hall Rotunda of York University. Photo credit: William Miejer.
On October 1st, 2022, Archive/Counter-Archive organized a number of artist projects around York University's Keele campus as a part of that year's Nuit Blanche festival. This was the first time that York University was included in the event, and it was a resounding success, with many people travelling to campus to explore the night-long festivities. Below you will find information on and documentation of all of the projects that A/CA was involved with throughout the evening.
The first section of the page is dedicated to the Biophilia: Artist and Archive exhibition curated by A/CA's Principal Investigator Janine Marchessault and developed in dialogue with the Archives of Ontario's ANIMALIA: Animals in the Archives exhibit.
The second section of the page is focused on the launch of Cinemobilia, a new A/CA-affiliated mobile digitization and media archiving lab housed at York University. The launch consisted of an ongoing phytogram workshop and a night-long program of archivally-focussed short films.
Alongside each item are a small selection of photos taken throughout the evening, but if you are interested in seeing our full archive of documentation images, please see the linked Google Photos album below:
Biophilia: Artist and Archive
Curatorial Statement - Janine Marchessault
Biophilia: Artist and Archive references a love of living things. At the heart of the exhibition are more than human animals and our entanglements with them. The five artworks commissioned for Biophilia: Artist and Archive offer an extended conversation with the Archives of Ontario's exhibit Animalia which engages with a history of animals in the archives documented through photographs and films. Biophilia seeks to reimagine archival interfaces – interactive screens (Public Visualization Studio), CRT sculptures (Logue), architectural projections (Dysart), water and AR (Norton), and a planetarium (Chong). The artists reflect upon the place of animals in Indigenous cultures, their hidden histories beneath the earth, the AI fabulation of bestiaries, and ancient knowledge systems transformed by climate change.
Asad Raza and Cydney Langill
Chris Chong Chan Fui, Jennifer Dysart, Deirdre Logue, Jenn E Norton, Public Visualization Studio
Biophilia: Artist and Archive was funded through the City of Toronto, Nuit Blanche, Archive/Counter-Archive’s Partnership Grant, the Canadian Film Institute, and the Social Science and Humanities Research Council.
Graphic Designer for Signage and Video Branding:
Video Producer and Editor:
Nocturnal Zodiac - Chris Chong Chan Fui
Project Title: Nocturnal Zodiac
Artist: Chris Chong Chan Fui
Location: Vari Hall Rotunda, York University
Project Description: Chris Chong Chan Fui is known for his experimental film-based artworks, which take into question the objectivity of fact and the possibility of defining reality. Nocturnal Zodiac re-configures traditional Eastern and Western astrologies into a new cyclical archive of modern human characteristics and future-telling that drive our fate on this planet. For this instantiation of the piece, a semi-spherical star map was projected and mapped onto the entire rotunda of Vari Hall.
Artist Bio: Chris Chong Chan Fui works with varying materials in an installation format that interconnects fields such as architecture, science, sports, economics, and the moving image. Chong has exhibited his works at the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, Palais de Tokyo, EYE Film Institute Netherlands, Austrian Museum of Applied Arts, the Museum of Canadian Contemporary Art, and the 2018 Gwanju Biennale. Chong has also premiered at the Cannes' Directors’ Fortnight, Vienna, BFI London, and Toronto's Wavelengths. Works within public collections include the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden. Chong is a Smithsonian Institute fellow (National Museum of Natural History), a Ford Foundation fellow, and most recently, he was awarded the prestigious Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Arts Fellowship, Italy. https://www.chongchanfui.com/
Revisiting Keewatin - Jennifer Dysart
Project Title: Revisiting Keewatin
Artist: Jennifer Dysart
Location: The Archives of Ontario (exterior)
Project Description: A multi-screen projection installation on the window surfaces of Archives of Ontario, Revisiting Keewatin is a film found at Library and Archives Canada by Jennifer Dysart. The film documents the Keewatin Missions in Northern Manitoba showing Catholic Missionary Activity with the Cree community in the 1950s. Focused specifically on the animals visible in this archival footage, the work sifts through the Indigenous relationships with animals.
Artist Bio: Jennifer Dysart is a director of short films, a set decorator (Nabet 700-M Unifor permittee status coming soon), an assistant director, a field producer, an archival researcher, legal clearance coordinator, production coordinator, and occasional arts jury member. She is the recipient of the York University master’s thesis prize in 2014 for her documentary film Kewekapawetan: Return After the Flood. http://jenniferdysart.com/
The Opposite of Ignoring Chickens - Deirdre Logue
Project Title: The Opposite of Ignoring Chickens
Artist: Deirdre Logue
Location: The Archives of Ontario (lobby)
Project Description: The Opposite of Ignoring Chickens documents the artist tending to and interacting with her seven chickens. The fascinating symmetry between the artist and her chickens reveals a relational codependence that collapses the sensual and the intuitive, wildness and domestication. The project’s sculptural and installation components incorporate multiple 4:3 ratio, CRT monitors dating back to the 1980s, and the sounds of the birds and the artist in ‘dialogue,’ remixed to create a polyphonic soundtrack.
Artist Bio: Deirdre Logue’s works are most directly influenced by early performance art and video, when time was real and unedited. Thriving on the results of a gesture and the ‘happy’ accidents of life, her deeply personal works are often characterized by their unpredictability, honesty and humour. In a deliberate reversal of traditional understandings of the subject, Logue’s works resist a ‘master narrative’ in favour of a self-presentational discourse, as it is different from conventional autobiography. Minimal in nature, Logue has performed for the camera now countless times and has finished over 60+ individual installations and media art works. Logue’s practice also includes large, site specific sculpture, performance and visual art works in collaboration with Allyson Mitchell. Together they have produced many works most notably, Killjoy’s Kastle: A Lesbian Feminist Haunted House (Toronto, London (UK), Los Angeles and Philadelphia) and together, Logue and Mitchell ran the F.A.G Feminist Art Gallery (Toronto, 2010-2020). Logue has been part of the Independent Imaging Collective, also known as the Film Farm, since 1999, and currently works at Vtape in Toronto. http://deirdrelogue.com/
Tributaries - Jenn E Norton
Project Title: Tributaries
Artist: Jenn E Norton
Location: Reflecting Pool on The Harry Arthurs Commons, York University
Project Description: Tributaries uses multimedia projection and augmented reality content of native and invasive species to mark and draw attention to the freshwater habitats of the York University campus area. These tributaries were buried or rechanneled as a result of urban development. The animated projection and superimposed AR component show the biodiversity of the surrounding area to create an ethereal intermingling of native and invasive species.
Artist Bio: Jenn E Norton is an artist using time-based media to create immersive, experiential installations that reframe familiar objects, landscapes, and activities as fantastical, dreamlike occurrences. Using stereoscopic, interactive video, animation, augmented reality, sound, and kinetic sculpture, Norton’s installation work explores the blurring boundaries of virtual and physical realms. Often using video as a starting point within her process, Norton’s imaginative video compositions of disjunctive imagery are bound together in post-production, using a combination of pre-cinema and contemporary display technologies. https://www.jennenorton.com/
Fabulous Ones - Public Visualization Studio
Project Title: Fabulous Ones
Artists: Public Visualization Studio (Patricio Dávila, Dave Colangelo, Immony Men) with Nehal El-Hadi, Karina Iskandarsjah, and Patricia Pasten
Location: Wooded area across from the Archives of Ontario
Project Description: Fabulous Ones presents creatures inspired by Jorge Luis Borges’ writing conjured by Public Visualization Studio and collaborators (Nehal El-Hadi, Karina Iskandarsjah, and Patricia Pasten). Three-dimensional digital masks of these creatures look back at viewers, interacting with them through motion-sensing cameras and AI-generated animations. Through processes of social and technical translation, this project aims to combine, dramatize, and question concepts of description, classification, imagination, speculation, and diaspora.
About Public Visualization Studio: PVS is a design collective whose members are designers, artists, creative technologists and researchers. The collective creates projects as a means to pursue inquiries into the political and conceptual aspects of interaction, space, and media. Its members attempt to investigate how specific technologies of vision, communication and gesture support our experiences in participatory spaces. Members of the collective have exhibited nationally and internationally, and have worked in a variety of areas including public projection, media architecture, locative media, video installation, exhibition design, interaction, communication design, and media scholarship. PVS works in collaboration with the Public Visualization Lab, a university-based lab in Toronto. https://publicvisualizationstudio.co/
Cinemobilia Launch and Screening Programme
Project Title: Cinemobilia
Artists: Cinemobilia (Janine Marchessault, John Greyson, Patricio Davila, and Jean-Pierre Marchant)
Curators: Janine Marchessault and Jean-Pierre Marchant
Producers: Asad Raza and Cydney Langill
Workshop Leaders: Philip Hoffman and Ranvir Singh Sanwal
Video Producer & Editor: Eva Phillips
Location: Wooded area across from the Archives of Ontario.
Project Description: As part of the 2022 Nuit Blanche festival, Archive/Counter-Archive organized a launch event for Cinemobilia, a new mobile digitization lab that is being run through York University. The launch consisted of an outdoor micro-cinema installation and screening programme that was curated by Cinemobilia Director of Operations, Jean-Pierre Marchant and A/CA Primary Investigator Janine Marchessault. In addition to this screening component, there was also an ongoing hands-on phytogram workshop with music and animation throughout the evening that was led by Philip Hoffman and Ranvir Singh Sanwal. The launch event was installed in the green space across the street from the Archives of Ontario on York University's Keele campus and ran from 7 pm until 1:30 am the following morning. See below for the full schedule of the evening's events.
About CineMobilia: Taking its name from the multitude of historical media literacy projects that sought to bring film and media to underserved communities - “cines móviles” of Cuba, cinema trains in Russia, and “Cinema Mobile” projects by the Canadian Film Board, CineMobilia (project members include Janine Marchessault, John Greyson, Patricio Davila, and Jean-Pierre Marchant) is a mobile infrastructure lab tailored to the unique archival and presentation needs of marginalized communities in Canada. The CineMobilia project is a flexible, responsive infrastructure tailored to the unique archival needs of Canadian marginalized communities, specifically collections with limited staff, those with difficulty making their collections represented and discoverable, and/or collections that represent an underserved/underrepresented community (Indigenous and Black communities, women, the LGTB2Q+ community, and immigrant communities). The hope is to attract members of York University and surrounding communities to bring their analogue or born digital archives to be preserved.
THE 2022 NUIT BLANCHE CINEMOBILIA INAUGURAL SCREENING PROGRAM
Ongoing: Hands-on phytogram workshop with accompanying music and animation led by Ranvir Singh Sanwal
7:00-8:00 PM: Archives of Ontario screening of films from their Prieto-McTair collection
8:00-9:00 PM: Mr. Winston LaRose, Ngardy Conteh George (director, producer), and Alison Duke (producer) present Mr. Jane and Finch (2019)
9:00-10:00 PM: Odeimin Runners Club with films by Debbie Ebanks Schlums, Rebeka Tabobondung, and Adrian Kahgee; Saugeen Takes On Film program with films by Tiffany Kewageshig, Cassidey Ritchie, Sharon Isaac, Kelsey Diamond, and Natalka Pucan
10:00 PM-11:00 PM: Works in Progress from the 2022 Independent Imaging Retreat (Film Farm)
11:00 PM-12:00 AM: Film Farm and Flower Films by John Greyson, Deirdre Logue, Scott Miller Berry, Rob Butterworth, Phil Hoffman and Alex Granger
12:00 AM-1:30 AM: Personal Archive Films by Artists (Smoker’s Cinema) including Christina Dovolis, Cleo Sallis-Parchet, Franci Duran, Jennifer Dysart, Nada El-Omari, Samuel Kiehoon Lee, Xin Liu, Jean-Pierre Marchant, Ajla Odobasic, Tamara Segura, Ranvir Singh Sanwal, and Jamie Whitecrow