Vtape's Case Study consists of two parts: the first focuses on new forms of Public Service Announcements (PSA) in the 1990s designed to function in conventional public venues for video (e.g. public access cable television); the second part examines Toronto Living With AIDS, a 1990-91 public access cable TV program made by artists and cultural workers to provide information about HIV/AIDS directly to affected communities.
These videos were created by artists, activists, and community organizations responding to the AIDS crisis. They drew on ideas and strategies from video and performance art, but also demanded innovative methods of communication required by their community oriented goals. The PSAs were produced by Michael Balser and Andy Fabo through the Banff Media Arts Programme in 1993. They use the 30-second television format of the time and utilize content and knowledge from the AIDS activist community right across the country. Toronto Living With AIDS was coordinated by Michael Balser in collaboration with numerous artists and community organizations. They use the 30-minute television program format of the time and were screened on cable access television.
By digitizing both sets of tapes we are investigating both the content and the context of these radical artworks. These restored titles can re-enter into the AIDS activist discourse and can be used by contemporary AIDS activists in a variety of educational contexts. Both these PSAs and Toronto Living With AIDS studies and restoration projects will be conducted and contextualized alongside the constellation of other related artist and community video works about HIV/AIDS within the Vtape collection.
Vtape is a vibrant distribution organization that represents an international collection of contemporary and historical video art and media works by artists. We make this collection accessible to curators and programmers, educators, scholars, and public audiences worldwide. In addition to providing a distribution framework for established and emerging artists, Vtape is committed to establishing video art preservation and exhibition standards, and strives to support hybrid practices in an increasingly complex technical milieu.
Vtape acknowledges that Indigenous peoples are the original occupants of this land. Vtape supports the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and is committed to furthering the visibility and understanding of Indigenous art forms and cultural expression. Incorporated in 1983, Vtape is hosted on the lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit River, the Anishinaabe, the Haundenosaunee Confederacy and the Wendat. Toronto is in the 'Dish With One Spoon Territory’, which is a treaty between the Anishinaabe, Mississaugas and Haudenosaunee that bound them to share the territory and protect the land. Subsequent Indigenous Nations, Métis and the Inuit peoples, Europeans and all newcomers have been invited into this treaty in the spirit of peace, friendship and respect. We acknowledge the traditional territories of Indigenous nations worldwide and their continuing connection to the land, sea and community. We pay our respect to them and their cultures, and to the elders both past and present.
Kim Tomczak is a multidisciplinary artist primarily known for his work in performance, photography, video, and photo/text work. Since 1983, he has worked exclusively in collaboration with Lisa Steele. They have received numerous grants and awards including the Bell Canada prize for excellence in Video Art, a Toronto Arts Award and in 2005, a Governor General’s Award for lifetime achievement in Visual & Media Arts.
Tomczak is a co-founder of Vtape and teaches at the University of Toronto in the Visual Studies program, Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design. Steele and Tomczak were awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of British Columbia (Okanagan) in 2009.
Wanda vanderStoop provides continuing support to Vtape’s artists, promoting over 5,000 independent productions to worldwide markets, including museums, national and international festivals, broadcasters, educational institutions, and mobile platforms. She is a committed advocate for artist’s rights and fees, and contributes to a policy consultation process on the changing methods of dissemination in video and new media.
John Greyson is a Toronto film/video artist whose 60+ award-winning features, installations, transmedia works, and shorts include Last Car (18), Towel (17), Pink: Diss (17), Murder In Passing (13), 14.3 Seconds (10), Rex Vs. Singh (10), Fig Trees (09), Covered (09), Orange Clouds (07), Proteus (03), Un©ut (96), Lilies (96), Zero Patience (93), The Making of Monsters (91), and Urinal (89).
Through inventive hybrids of documentary, drama, humour, and song, these works critically investigate such social justice issues as racism, homophobic violence, AIDS activism, anti-apartheid and anti-war struggles, queer and trans rights, conflicts in the middle east, police entrapment, and prison reform.
Ryan Conrad is Adjunct Research Faculty at the Feminist Institute for Social Transformation at Carleton University and previously held a SSHRC postdoctoral fellowship with Archive/Counter-Archive from 2019-2022. He is currently working on his manuscript entitled Radical VIHsion: Canadian AIDS Film & Video. He holds a PhD in Cultural Studies from Concordia University and an MFA from Maine College of Art. He is an active film and video maker.
Patrick Keilty is Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto. Professor Keilty's primary research interest is the politics of digital infrastructures in the online pornography industry. His work spans issues in visual culture, sexual politics, technology studies, media studies, information studies, political economy, critical theory, and theories of gender, sexuality, and race. Professor Keilty is Archives Director of the Sexual Representation Collection at the University of Toronto, housed in the Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies. He is cross-appointed with the Cinema Studies Institute, Women and Gender Studies Institute, and a member of the Technoscience Research Unit.