Week 4


*Reading notes due on blog

Assign: One Feat Three Ways

Assignment: One Feat, Three Ways video project

Video Art: One FEAT, Three Ways*

You will work with a partner to make three videos less than 2-minutes each in length each.

Your videos should be shot at the studio in controlled, illuminated conditions.

Pick yourFEAT. You will repeat variations on your “FEAT” in each video below.

Your FEAT should be an everyday gesture or activity that you can push to its limits. Push yourself to your limits. Push a material to its limits. Do not take ANY risks with your safety – subtle, quiet, funny risks are better and more interesting anyway. Just watching someone smiling as long as they can as hard as you can is fascinating and even painful to watch for its duration.

Examples of gestures from past students include: Eating something, Juggling, Kissing, Blowing up a Balloon, Smiling, Holding an Awkward Pose, Reaching for Things out of Reach… etc.

It might be an absurd thing – something pointless, or an impossible feat that you can’t actually do   

The object is to try to do the thing, not to “act” – and what happens… happens! You, your partner, or someone else may perform. Maintain your concentration and explore how a simple gesture becomes interesting when performed with commitment and intention.

NOTE: Add titles to each video, and videos should be approximately 1-2 minutes in length.

Video #1: The One-Shot 

The video will consist of “one shot” – there will be no editing, other than a black screen to mark the beginning and end of the video. You may focus on camera function, unusual points of view, and framing. You will also add titles and end credits to your videos.

Video #2: The Sequence

The object of this video exercise is to shoot a series of shots with the intention to edit them into a sequence. It may require 5 minutes, an hour, a day, or a week, and you can show it in a series of stills or a time lapse.  Edit your footage to be less than two minutes.

Video #3: The Loop

The object of this video exercise is to create a video that is meant to be played over and over again indefinitely, without stopping. Consider the content of the video when you are shooting your feat, and use looping to complete the meaning of the work. Don’t make a short GIF type video – think of a longer loop – something that could play in a gallery without end.

Edit your loop footage to be less than 2 minutes long, and then play on a loop for the critique.


Videos will be graded by the degree to which students demonstrate understanding of the key concepts in the assignment including the clarity and originality of ideas, investment of time and contributions to the group, consideration of context for the video, technical success using lighting and professional camera equipment in works, technical success using editing software and exporting gallery-quality video, presentation and openness to feedback during critique.

Students are also expected to post a final work (including any revisions after critique) to the class blog with a title, artist names, and a short description of the work within ONE WEEK of the critique for final marks.

Videos will not receive a grade until a work is posted on the class blog.

Video Artist references:

Yoko Ono

Bruce Nauman

Adrian Piper

Pipilotti Rist

Michelle Pearson Clarke

Lee Walton

William Wegman

Jon Sasaki

Camille Turner

Marina Abramovic

Kelly Mark

Euan MacDonald

Wood and Harrison

Erwin Wurm

Maria Hupfield

**Be safe and respectful to yourself and others at all times! Talk with me if you have any questions about your project. Never perform unsafe activities for your projects in this or any class in Studio Art.

Camera Demo

Lighting Demo

Booking studio time

Lecture: Simple Instruction Videos

Camera demonstration with Nathan


Lighting demo in studio with Nathan

Reading and exercise:

Turning the Gestures of Everyday Life into Art, Katja Heitmann


Movement workshop:

(from Yoga, and dance)

Habits of of movement exchange:

  1. Describe the habitual movements/unconscious gestures, tics etc. of 3 people you know well. How do individual body parts move, and how does the whole body interact? What about facial expressions, and emotional valence of the movement? How does body type inform the movement?
  2. WARM UP EXERCISE all together – breathing, bouncing on knees, shaking it out, breathing together.
  3. Teach your partner one of the choreographies. Rehearse, and record 30 seconds of video of each performance.
  4. CHANGE PARTNERS. Repeat – Teach another partner another choreography. Rehearse, and record 30 seconds of video of each performance.
  5. CHANGE PARTNERS. Repeat – Teach another partner another choreography. Rehearse, and record 30 seconds of video of each performance.

At the end, you should have three, 30-second videos of other students performing an archive of movements. Use this footage for your editing workshop.


See Nathan to book studios and lighting, and for technical and camera assistance.

Talk to Rachelle for bookings in the Photo studio – in 406

Booking studio time

Week 3


Finish Kilometre critiques

Intro to Video Art: Lecture


Please come to class – we will have a special guest artist: Megan Arnold

See her video – Are We Human, Or Are We Skater

Megan will be showing some of her own work in video – and introducing you to our local video art and media support centre: ED VIDEO


During the final 1. 5 hours of in-class time –

Watch examples of works by Pipilotti Rist:

Read the article The World’s Most Colourful Video Artist –

Randy Kennedy, from The New York Times Magazine, 2009.


For a PDF of the article click here –

Create a short blog post responding to the reading, and reflecting on these questions:

  1. Post an image from one of Rist’s videos that you are most interested in. Summarize the action of the video. Who is performing, and how? Describe the images – including framing, colours, and movement. How did she shoot and edit the video? Describe the sound and how it interacts/enhances/competes with the images. How is it installed in a gallery – in terms of projection/scale/presentation in a context of other things? How does the work strike you?
  2. Rist has had a long career in video art making – how do you relate it to the kinds of video that you might see all the time on Tik Tok or You Tube, in our time? Reflect on her performances and also – on her ideas (particularly about women’s bodies, and sexuality, exposure, behaving strangely or subversively…) and how they play out from examples in her works.
  3. Experiment: While still at school – put on your sweater/shirt INSIDE OUT. How does this change how you feel? Is it changing how other’s are treating you? If you can wear your sweater/shirt inside out all day – make a few notes about the results of this very small change in your presentation in public. Is this a performance? Why?

Week 2


Artists: Marina Abramovic

Watch the film: The Artist is Present, Marina Abramovic

“Seductive, fearless, and outrageous, Marina Abramovic has been redefining what art is for nearly 40 years. Using her own body as a vehicle, pushing herself beyond her limits and at times risking her life in the process she creates performances that challenge, shock, and move us.

This film follows Marina as she prepares for what may be the most important moment of her life: a major new retrospective of her work, taking place at The Museum of Modern Art. To be given a retrospective at one of the world’s premier museums is the most exhilarating sort of milestone. For Marina, it is far more: it is the chance to finally silence the question she has been hearing over and over again for four decades: But why is this art?”( From Film Summary)

Questions for a short blog post due today:

  1. What are some of your first impressions of Marina Abramovic’s performance works, based on the documentary? Use an image/example of one or two works2. to describe aspects you admire, and aspects you might agree are problematic?
  2. What have you learned about features of performance art based on Abramovic’s work? Name a few key features according to her precedents. Include an image to illustrate. Consider her quote “When you perform it is a knife and your blood, when you act it is a fake knife and ketchup.
  3. Discuss the ways performance art resists many museum and commercial artworld conventions. How does Abramovic solve/negotiate some of these challenges, and do you find these compromises add to, or undermine the ideas at play in her work?


Critique of Kilometre projects

Posting on the blog.



“kilometre of blocks”



While watching this documentary, I quickly found myself in awe of Marina Abramovic and her performance works. The courage, stamina, and strength required to even attempt most of these performance pieces are beyond my imagination and I truly admire how she was able to present herself as such vulnerable body in front of her audience and the absolute commitment and determination that she has. For example, the performance piece by the name of Lips of Thomas involved Abramovic whipping herself and cutting a communist star into her stomach. The extreme lengths that Abramovic goes to in order to complete her performance clearly shows her commitment and determination. The theme of nudity also displays how she is often making herself so vulnerable to the audience. I can definitely understand how the nudity that is an essential aspect to many of these performance works might be viewed as problematic to the public eye, as shown in the documentary when the news anchor complains about how the nudity in the exhibit can be considered art. To the naked eye (pun intended), nudity is seen as a negative thing and only a sexual theme. However, in the world of art and in Abramovic’s performances and exhibition, I find that nudity is a means of expressing emotion or the lack of and vulnerability.


Even as an artist who is not too compelled to create her own performance art, the quote “When you perform it is a knife and your blood, when you act it is a fake knife and ketchup” from Abramovic will stick with me forever. Abramovic’s work as guided me to realize that performance art is not exclusively about the act of performing and watching. Just the raw aspect of reality that is involved in Abramovic’s performances such as Lips of Thomas is what makes performance art so much more than that. Although performance art and acting have many similarities and seem inherently identical, Abramovic’s quote is such a perfect way to describe the difference between the two. The image above is from the work The Lovers performed by Abramovic and Ulay. This is a great example of the raw reality of performance art as opposed to acting. If this were to be in a movie, the actors would only be walking small segments of the Great Wall of China to get the right scenes. However, in this performance work, they two partners both walked nonstop from each end of the wall to meet in the middle. The incredible commitment it takes to push their own bodies in order to make the performance piece more powerful is unbelievable. Some other key features of performance art that are evident in Abramovic’s work are the body and the relationship between artist and audience. The element of the body is very prominent in essentially all of Abramovic’s performance works, but the relationship between artist and audience is best found in The Artist Is Present as the documentary shows numerous clips of different audience members sitting in the chair across from her. The variety of reactions and emotions that are displayed on the audience members faces as well as Abramovic’s are clear proof that the relationship between the artist/performer and the audience is incredibly significant in performance art.


I think performance art definitely contradicts the idea of museums because of the way that traditional art has always been displayed in museums and art convections. Being a performer for so many hours in a day everyday for months is 100% something I could never imagine doing. Since the body is such an important key feature, I would assume that finding people who are willing to be so vulnerable and put their bodies on display while also sometimes doing repetitive tasks for hours on end would be very difficult and likely exhausting. Because of this, it makes a lot of sense that Abramovic required her performers to go through training to prepare and I think the way Abramovic approached this exhibition in MOMA was very well thought out. There also seemed to be many video recordings and photos of Abramovic’s older work displayed on the walls in the exhibition but I think this method of combatting the challenges that performance art may have in museums is not very effective. It undermines the experience for both the audience and the performer because they are just records of previous performances.