The SCA's Henry Daniel is developing his ongoing Contemporary Nomads research project into an "evening-length combined installation and live performance," as he describes it, for the coming fall semester. Additionally newsworthy about this event is the participation of guest artists Adam Basanta (Music), Sammy Chien and Shanghan Chien (Media Design), and Alan Storey (Set Design). Adam Basanta, an SCA BFA (composition) grad and visual artist, will also be the SCA Dance area's Iris Garland Visiting Artist in the fall. This 'residencey' is funded by Iris Garland Dance Program Enhancement Fund, which was founded in 2002 in memory of Iris Garland (1935-2002), who was a professor of dance, a choreographer, a dance scholar, and a founding member of the Centre for the Arts, now the School for the Contemporary Arts, at SFU. SCA BFA (film) grad Sammy Chien and his brother Shanghan Chien work together as Chimerik to produce complex video projection installations, most recently for Vancouver's Festival Of Recorded Movement. Alan Storey is an active Vancouver-based artist who produces site-responsive interactive works for gallery spaces and site specific public art, such as the ‘Pendulum’ installation in the HSBC Bank on Georgia Street in Vancouver. We'll keep you posted as the project develops.
Posted on 05 Jun 2017 in
Dean Lastoria, who's in charge of New Students and Retention for the SCA, touches base with a few recent graduates.
Annie Therrien Boulos will be receiving her BFA in Theatre on Friday, June 9th at the Convocation ceremony on Burnaby Mountain. Annie was in the Theatre Performance Stream and was involved in blackbox, clowning, directing projects, and mainstages, but the most important thing that I saw Annie do was deeply care for the School’s community – from being the Theatre Student Union President to never failing to help a new student. I’m glad she is graduating, of course, but we will miss Annie!
Q: You were active in the Theatre Student Union — Can you talk about how important it is?
A: one of the biggest things that i learned at SFU is that i am the one in charge of making any experience what i want it to be. it's not up to my profs, my peers, my family, the world. it's me who has the power to create the world i want to live in. that's a lot of pressure but it's also exciting. i think that the Theatre Student Union is important in this because it allows students to have more of a say in what their school program looks like, in and out of classes. it builds community, offers support, organizes events, and is there to serve. that's a cool thing to have. it also only runs if you get involved in it and help it run- so, future students, do that.
Q: Clowning — important?
A: very important. stand in front of everyone who matters to you and fail. you'll learn some uncomfortable things. nothing is more helpful.
Q: What’s devising? Any good stories?
A: devising is being in a room with a bunch of people and making some things. The best advice that i was ever given:
1) follow your pleasure.
2) practice deep listening (i'm still working on this one).
3) just do the weird things and see where it goes.
i have a ton of memories of the various ways we used food in our black box devising projects – from covering each other in cold cuts and other meat products, to pre-chewing trail mix for certain images we wanted to make, to mushing bananas into the wall...
Q: What is next?
A: well, i feel the need to do something completely different, so i'm going to spend some months working on a goat farm in Norway.
Posted on 30 May 2017 in
Vanessa Goodman, who is an SCA BFA Dance graduate and the artistic director and choreographer of the Vancouver-based dance company Action at a Distance, has been selected to participate in the Yulanda M. Faris Choreographers Program, along with Daina Ashbee and Justine A. Chambers. Vancouver's Dance Centre describe the program, which they coordinate, as "an initiative designed to mentor and support choreographers who are ready to make a significant leap forward in their work, empowering artists and providing them with the tools to position their careers in a national and international context, through exchanges, networking opportunities, mentoring and professional skills development." Congratulations, Vanessa!
To find out more about Vanessa Goodman and her work with Action at a Distance, the Yulanda M. Faris Choreographers Program, the Dance Centre, and the other dancers, please click the links embedded above.
Vanessa Goodman and Action at a Distance
SFU Woodward's Developmental Residency Program
Posted on 29 May 2017 in
SCA BFA (music composition) graduate Adam Basanta has been awarded the Aesthetica Art Prize Main Prize of £5,000 by the British art and culture magazine Aesthetica. Basanta's winning work is his 2016 sound installation, Curtain (white), which features patterns of white noise playing back across a three-meter long array or 'curtain' of Apple EarPods headphones. Congratulations, Adam!
Visit Adam's website for more about him and his work.
Posted on 26 May 2017 in
As well as his BFA (Hons) from the SCA in the Music Area, Remy is also currently the Artist-in-Residence for the Push International Performing Arts Festival, the Co-Artistic Director of Hong Kong Exile, and the Co-Director and Manager at the Gold Saucer Studio.
Here's the official press release from the Canada Council and the National Arts Centre:
For composers, the opportunity to work with a great orchestra can be life changing. That’s why, in January, the Canada Council for the Arts and the National Arts Centre (NAC) launched a call for applications for Carrefour, a professional development residency for 2 emerging, culturally diverse or Indigenous composers. It’s vital to nurture and mentor talent that will contribute to the long-term aesthetic and cultural diversity of orchestral and chamber music, and this initiative will provide support to new voices on the Canadian music stage.
Following a competitive selection process, we’re proud to announce the first 2 composers to take part in Carrefour.
Ian Cusson, Toronto
Ian Cusson is a composer of art song, opera and orchestral work. Of Métis and French Canadian descent, his work explores the Canadian Indigenous experience, including the history of the Métis people, the hybridity of mixed-racial identity, and the intersection of Western and Indigenous cultures.
Remy Siu, Vancouver
Remy Siu is a composer and new media artist of Chinese descent based in Vancouver. His work involves the construction of automated and variable performance apparatuses that use light, sound, software and the body.
About the residency.
This residency is part of an exciting, new 5-year partnership between the Canada Council and the NAC, which will highlight the national leadership role of both organizations and support professional development in composition for Canadian orchestras.
During their residency, the composers will work with and be mentored by Music Director Alexander Shelley, the NAC Orchestra musicians and administration, and will have access to the NAC's creative production and performance environment.
“I feel very excited by our choices as they offer a real spectrum of compositional styles.” - Alexander Shelley, Music Director, NAC Orchestra
“This is an exciting partnership between the NAC and the Canada Council. Carrefour will have a definite impact on emerging composers, the orchestral community and audiences.” - Simon Brault, CEO and Director, Canada Council for the Arts
Over a 2-year period, Ian and Remy will come to Ottawa 6-8 weeks per season. They will experience the day-to-day life of an orchestra, with access to rehearsals and concerts, as well as Canadian and international guest conductors and composers. In the first year, they will each write a work for chamber ensemble; and in the second year, a work for full orchestra. Congratulations to both!
Learn more about Carrefour.
Posted on 23 May 2017 in
Our friends at SFU Vancouver have put together a nice video introducing a public artwork on part of the hoarding around Harbour Centre, which they note is undergoing "a period of restoration". Steven Hubert, who's a SCA MFA grad and sessional instructor, worked with SCA Visual Art students to develop a new work for the site. As Hubert describes, he and the students challenged the original brief for the project to produce a large-scale painting of abstracted text.
Posted on 08 May 2017 in
Created as part of Cale Plut's MFA thesis work, The Audience of the Singular explores the idea of the player acting as an active participant in the creative musical process. By playing the game, the player shapes and performs a uniquely generated musical score for a virtual audience.
AOTS uses a corpus-based, machine-learning system to generate music which attempts to emulate music from video games of the 1980s and 1990s. The system generates music in real-time to accompany the player's actions.
The player plays the part of the DJ, mixing this generated music to match the whims and wants of the audience. As the player mixes to their audience, the audience becomes more excited and grows.
For Mac: Download either the .app file from SFU Vault, or the .zip file from SFU Vault or Itch.io and extract the .app. Place this file anywhere except the downloads folder on your mac. Then simply run the .app, choose your settings, and enjoy!
For Windows: Download either the .exe file and _Data folder from the SFU Vault, or the .zip file from the SFU Vault or Itch.io and extract the .exe file and _Data folder into the same place. Then simply run the .exe, choose your settings, and enjoy!
If a security pop-up occurs: Control-click on the app, select “open”, and then select “yes” when prompted.
Posted on 08 May 2017 in
Recent SCA MFA grad Alexandra Spence has been selected out of an "international open call" by "an esteemed panel of judges including sound artists Janek Schaefer, Annie Mahtani and publisher of The Wire, Tony Herrington" to be part of The Engine Room 2017: International Sound Art Exhibition, which "celebrates the most exciting sound art being produced right now by emerging artists from across the world." Spence's winning installation work, Listening to the sea from at least twelve points of hearing, is now on display at the Morley Gallery in London, UK.
Spence also presented Listening to the sea from at least twelve points of hearing as part of her work in her MFA Graduating Exhibition, will today be like yesterday – will yesterday be like tomorrow, at the Audain Gallery in 2016.
Find out more about Alexandra Spence at her website: alexandraspence.net
Photo credit: Lukas Engelhardt
Here's a short video Spence produced to document the work:
In this work I made twelve field recordings, one at each of Vancouver’s beaches, using a portable cassette player and hand-built tape loops. Each tape loop ribbon was removed from the cassette casing and buried in the location at which it was recorded. One to three months later they were dug up and placed back into cassettes. The obvious result is the physical deterioration of the tape, and degradation of the original recordings. And yet the deterioration of one thing is a transformation into another.
I decided to bury the tape to see how it might be affected by changes in temperature, the magnetism of the earth, as well as moisture and scratches from dirt and earth. Not only are the sounds of waves and wind recorded, the sand and dirt is embedded and etched into the tape too and thus affects the sound of the audio recording.
Listening… is also an attempt at collaboration, asking and prompting a place to affect its own sounding. Burying the tape seemed to give the places at which I was recording and burying a sense of autonomy over their own soundings. I imagined this as a collaboration of sorts – I made a recording and the physical variables of each place and location altered it. The decision to bury tape at each of Vancouver’s beaches became a way for me to connect the place I was in to the place I was from.
Posted on 21 Apr 2017 in
Congratulations to BFA grad Andi Icaza-Largaespada for winning the second CAG Prize. Icaza-Largaespada won for her work uninvited-guest (photographic installation, sourced image, performance). Here's how the project is introduced in the exhibition brochure for Lazy Susan, the BFA graduating exhibition:
What does it mean to be able to sit down and read? To sit comfortably, and to occupy space leisurely?
In the lobby of a building that hosts the headquarters of B2Gold Corporation on unceded Coast Salish Territories, sits a masked woman reading a book about borderlands. The balaclava made of sequins shines golden on some parts, while reflecting light and its surroundings on others. The woman wonders if it’s possible to individually embody (a resistance towards) a global context of expansion, resource extraction, and occupation.
Andi Icaza-Largaespada mobilizes a photographic practice—of image-reading and image-making—to suggest a continuation between symbolic and subversive acts of resistance. The project incorporates a process of surveying, learning, and material elaboration. This results in the spatial distribution of illuminating visual interventions within the Audain Gallery and Goldcorp Centre for the Arts. Through her work, Icaza-Largaespada seeks to honour the emancipating labour of the women of Mina El Limon, Rancho Grande, and Nueva Guinea in Nicaragua; instances of growing localized efforts working on alternative community-building. The photographic and performative operation is indebted to many, amongst them Gloria Anzaldúa, Andi’s mother, and Rachelle.
And here's how the CAG describe the prize: "Generously sponsored by the Peter Szeto Investment Group | BMO Nesbitt Burns, the CAG prize includes an award of $2,500, a solo presentation at CAG, career advice and a gift certificate from the CAG bookshop."
Posted on 10 Apr 2017 in
Chelsea Hunter, the SCA’s Professional Development Coordinator, sat down with Corbin Murdoch, the Managing Producer of Vancouver’s Theatre Replacement and SCA MFA Graduate, to talk about his background, his current practice, and the value of internships in the arts.
Chelsea Hunter: Tell me about Theatre Replacement and what your role is for the organization.
Corbin Murdoch: Theatre Replacement is an independent theatre company that has been around for almost 14 years. It is led by two Artistic Directors, James Long and Maiko Yamamoto. The company exists to support their work and their artistic vision. We don’t have a particular aesthetic and every project is radically different from the last. It is a busy little company. We’ve tried to carve out an international reputation with our touring work but as well as to develop a strong local presence with a slate of public programming for the local community.
In terms of my role with the company, I’m the Managing Producer and I’ve been with the company for almost 2 years now. Because it’s a small company, 3 full time staff and an Associate Producer on contract, we all have a hand in everything. As far as the office management, administration and production, it’s my role to have a bird’s eye view on all that is going on. Some days I’ll be in the office staring at spreadsheets all day and other days, I’ll be running around the city trying to find pink wigs.
CH: Can you tell me a bit about your background and how you found yourself working for a theatre company?
CM: During my undergrad in Environmental Studies at York University, I became more and more interested in music and started my band, The Nautical Miles. When I returned to Vancouver after completing my undergrad, I had this experience in music and the arts as well as working in youth programming and engagement. Those two things, the arts and youth, led me to a job at The Cultch as the Youth Program Manager. I was there for 5 years and during that time programming at the Cultch, I got to meet people in the theatre community, dance community, as well as music. Working alongside the team at The Cultch, the administrators and the technicians, I became interested in the independent artist community and began to recognize it as a place that I wanted to build a career as an administrator and a producer and a programmer. I think it is a really dynamic community and a lot of people are working in really collaborative ways to create systems of support to facilitate what they do. I found it was a really self-reflexive community and proactive in terms of self-organizing. There are a lot of examples of that, such as Progress Lab and various industry associations that have sprung up around the dance community like The Dance Centre or the Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists West. There are some really interesting ways people are organizing to create art in this city.
CH: What is TR’s philosophy in working with students?
CM: For the last few years, the majority of the people who have worked at Theatre Replacement have been SFU alumni so we have a really strong connection to this institution and we’re invested in continuing that relationship. It is really nice to have our company as a place that students can find opportunities to launch from. Theatre Replacement is really invested in training which is reflected in the training programs we offer, for really young kids and for mid-career artists alike. We also support young artists through early career development programs and these internship opportunities. We invest company resources in our own professional development. I think there is an ethic in our company that training never stops. It is important that we always keep growing and learning.
CH: Can you tell me a bit about the current internship opportunities you have for a student to intern with TR this summer and how this opportunity would be beneficial to their career development?
CM: This particular internship opportunity is all about our training programs. We have two formalized training programs. One is PantoLand, which is for kids ages 5-10 that is based around our East Van Panto project and the other one is the New Aesthetics Performance Intensive, which happens every other year. This program is where Jamie and Maiko choose two senior artists who they are drawn to artistically and inspired by and invite them to come to facilitate a 2 week intensive for mid-career artists. The guest artists are people who have contributed to the development of their practice in significant ways or are thought leaders. This summer there are 18 mid-career artists, ranging from their late 20s to mid 40s who will be training with these two artists. This internship opportunity is to really dive into these training programs. The students will take a lead role in administering and producing these programs, working with myself, our Associate Producer June Fukumura, and Jamie and Maiko. I think that training and education are kind of the cornerstone of any artistic practice, whether it is pushing yourself as an artist through continued training or pivoting into a teaching practice to support the work that you do. I don’t meet many artists who aren’t engaged in training and teaching on some level. I think it is an important realm for any student to explore.
CH: So, we’ve had a couple of students through, can you think of a time where you just know you’ve taught them something, like you saw a light bulb go on over their head?
CM: I find that the students we work with usually surprised by how much happens behind the scenes and how much work it is to administer a company. Theatre Replacement is in some ways a small company, we produce a lot but in terms of size, personnel-wise, we are a small company, but still the amount of the administration required is shocking to some people. I think students can use this opportunity to understand the diverse skills you need to be a fulltime artist. You’re not in the studio everyday, as much as you would want to be. You may find yourself wrestling with financial statements in order to make the bottom line balance for your funders, coding receipts and all these things. When students or interns come around to bookkeeping package day, they’re usually like “oh my goodness, this is crazy”. All of a sudden we’re interpreting financial reports and trying to figure out what it all means. So yeah, I think that is hugely valuable for students. I think there is a nice balance in our company. We just did an exit interview with our previous Associate Producers and one of the things she expressed was that she was happy with the range of experiences. Like one day she could be in rehearsal but there was also other responsibilities in terms of pre-planning and production and also reconciling everything afterwards. There is a great balance and satisfaction in seeing a project right through to completion so you’re not just passing it off to someone else.
CH: Turning it over, has there been a time when having fresh students around has put the light bulb on over your head? When they’ve pushed you or helped you look at things differently?
CM: The great benefit to me working with students is having to learn about splitting up the work, delegating, and not just passing off all the menial work but also figuring out how our small administrative team can tackle these things together. It has challenged me to create systems, which are definitely still a work in process (haha), which students can step into. The goal is to have clear systems in place so that they don’t have to start from scratch; there is a process that they can learn. There is definitely an opportunity for students to provide me with feedback on these things so we can continually improve.
CH: What does professional development in the arts look like or mean to you?
CM: I guess in the arts there are not particular designations or certifications that you’re going to need to meet like when you become an accountant or something. There isn’t certain boxes that you have to tick to be such and such a thing. There isn’t necessarily a clear path so I think that it [professional development] needs to be individual, highly individual. It is a challenge but also an exciting thing to think of yourself as a student, stepping into the arts community and figuring out where you can fit in. And I think that coming to work for a company like Theatre Replacement or any company that is involved in the community, you will start to understand all the different skill sets. It’s not like you need to learn everything, but you do need to learn a lot. You need to learn more than one thing. I think that a lot of students here at SFU are interested in interdisciplinary work and company models and interested in thinking about how they can create their own work. And that requires being creative, self-motivated and resourceful, and again it’s figuring out what composite skills you can collect to support yourself but also feel like you are contributing to the artistic community.
CH: Do you have any advice for emerging artists?
CM: There is always time to explore something and realize it’s not for you. You don’t have to pursue one narrow career path at the expense of others. Ultimately, if you are pursuing your dreams and passion with intention, it’s only going to benefit you to get a breadth of experience.
Photo: At registration table for PushOFF 2017. Photo credit Jessica Wilke.