Week 6

Summary of Work for Week 6

  1. Read the article by Vivian Castro
  2. Watch the videos referenced in the article and the videos below – ,
  3. Create and post a proposal for a ZOOM video-art work and prepare to discuss your proposal with the class. Include images/research in your description.

During Tech Talk time – Nathan will discuss how to download a free copy of Davinci Resolve, and promote Davinci Resolve video editing workshops. All students will need to edit videos for new works soon. See Courselink for dates and times of upcoming workshops, and video workshops on the Resources page in this blog.


See the full text here and watch the videos highlighted in the text!

Candice Breitz

Breitz’s experiments in the field of portraiture can cumulatively be described as an ongoing anthropology of the fan. Beginning with ‘Legend (A Portrait of Bob Marley),’ which was shot in Jamaica in 2005, Breitz has subsequently set up temporary portrait studios in Berlin [for ‘King (A Portrait of Michael Jackson)’], Milan [for ‘Queen (A Portrait of Madonna)’] and Newcastle [for ‘Working Class Hero (A Portrait of John Lennon)’]. The portraits have thus far followed the same procedural logic, and have been governed by the same tight conceptual framework. In each case, Breitz first sets out to identify ardent fans of the musical icon to be portrayed, by placing ads in newspapers, magazines and fanzines, as well as on the Internet. Those who respond to this initial call (typically numbering in their hundreds) are then put through a rigorous set of procedures designed to exclude less than authentic fans of the celebrity in question, in order to arrive at the final group of participants.

The individuals who appear in these works have thus stepped forward to identify themselves as fans, and have been included purely on this basis: all other factors – their appearance; their ability to sing, act or dance; their gender and age – are treated as irrelevant for the purpose of selection. Each of the selected fans is offered the opportunity to re-perform a complete album, from the first song to the last, in a professional recording studio. The conditions are thus set for a typological study, as each of the participants steps into the studio, one by one, to offer their version of the same album under the same basic conditions. Having set the parameters of the experience, Breitz then allows the performances to unfold with little directorial interference. It is left up to each fan to decide what to wear, whether to use props, how to address the camera, when and if to dance, whether and how to follow the lead or backing vocals, how to behave between tracks, and whether to mimic the original recording or seek interpretive distance from it. Diverse as they are, the portraits are collectively characterized by a riveting tension between the somewhat inflexible conditions under which each shoot takes place (conditions which both reflect and reflect upon the severe limitations for creativity within the commodified realm of mass entertainment), and the struggle of each fan to register an idiosyncratic performance despite these conditions. In the process of this struggle, the singers generate an a cappella cover version of the album that scripts the work, a re-recording which might best be described as a ‘portrait’ of the original album. Although the portraits stubbornly insist on the exact format and duration of the original albums that they take as their templates, they specifically exclude the auratic voices and familiar musical arrangements from the original version, so that the star in question ultimately remains present in the work only in the unaccompanied voices of his/her fans.

The portraits evoke their mainstream entertainment counterparts (such as American Idol or Pop Idol), but also take significant distance from their reality television cousins: Breitz promises her subjects neither fame nor fortune. What she offers them is an opportunity to record the songs that have come to soundtrack their lives in whatever way they choose. The non-hierarchical grids that she uses to organize the final presentation of the fans in each portrait, allow Breitz to deliberately sidestep the question of who has fared better or worse under the conditions that she has created for these quasi-anthropological visual essays on the culture of the fan. Whether the fans who pay tribute to their icons in her portraits are victims of a coercive culture industry or users of a culture that they creatively absorb and translate according to their needs, is left to the viewer to decide. If the dignity of the portrayed fans remains surprisingly intact, it is because rather than prompting us to laugh at the fans that she lines up, Breitz forces us to reflect on the extent to which pop music has infiltrated our own biographies. From Candace Breitz


Left: Natalyn Tremblay (born 3 April, 1980).
Right: Jocelyn Tremblay (born 3 April, 1980).

FACTUM TREMBLAY is usually shown as a dual-channel video installation on two vertically-mounted plasma displays hung alongside one another. For exhibition purposes, the footage loops endlessly without beginning or end. For more info on FACTUM and to view other portraits from this series, see Factum

To produce the series of works collectively titled FACTUM (2010), Candice Breitz conducted intensive interviews with seven pairs of identical twins and a single set of identical triplets in and around Toronto during the summer of 2009, footage from which she then edited seven dual-channel video installations (and one tri-channel video installation). Like Robert Rauschenberg’s near-identical paintings FACTUM I and FACTUM II (both 1957), from which the series borrows its title, each interviewee in FACTUM is an imperfect facsimile of their twin: their apparent identicality is soon disrupted by a host of subtle differences.

Breitz chose to work with monozygotic twins (and triplets) who spent their formative lives together and who thus draw on shared memories and experience. Each pair of twins was filmed over the course of one long day in a domestic environment designated by the twins – most chose to shoot in the home of one twin, or in their shared home. In each case, Breitz interviewed Twin A for approximately 5–7 hours in the absence of his/her sibling and then directed the same set of questions separately to Twin B. Designed to give each individual the opportunity to narrate his/her own story as s/he chose, the questions covered intimate areas such as childhood, sibling rivalry and family matters, but also zoomed out to allow each subject to address his/her relationship to the world at large.

Some questions were specifically slanted to shed light on the mysterious terrain of subject formation: the twins were asked to lend comment, for example, on the nature-nurture debate, or to offer their thoughts on evolution versus creation. Other questions invited the twins to share personal anecdotes or key memories. According to their level of comfort before the camera, some individuals were willing to enter into minute and graphic autobiographical detail, while others set distinct boundaries.

Pipilotti Rist: Open my Glade

Each pair of twins was asked to style themselves as identically as possible for the camera, and left to decide how diligently they wished to fulfill the request. For some the superficial sameness that resulted – almost immediately to be undermined by innumerable small differences that manifest themselves throughout the interview – became an apt metaphor for the projections of sameness that they had been subject to all their lives.

Each pair of interviews was later woven together in the editing studio to create a somewhat stereoscopic dual-channel portrait. Breitz’s edits accentuate the push-and-pull relationship between the siblings. As the twins relate their stories, sharp distinctions in their voices, their attitudes, their body language, and their views on the world become apparent. At times they gravitate towards each other, offering almost the same syntax and gestures to describe memory, while at other moments they differ vastly in their conclusions on topics they both consider vital. Breitz’s presence is strongly tangible in each twin portrait – her jagged editing style distances the works from the truth claims of conventional documentary, suggesting that the intertwining forces of fact and fiction are always at play in auto/biography.

FACTUM raises questions not only about twinship per se, but also about the struggle that each individual must negotiate in defining him or herself as distinct, while facing constant reminders of the relative role of others in the process of self-definition.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYDh_D1G0hU&feature=emb_imp_woyt&ab_channel=FACTLiverpool


Post a proposal (with images/research/referenes) for some kind of ZOOM based video artwork you want to make. Play with, and think about this in your notes.

Consider the history of video art – and ways artists have experimented with the medium of video itself right from its early days of mass use. Artists sometimes manipulated the hardware, the software, and used video technologies in ways that were not intended. They found ways to connect video to sculpture, performance, and initiated what we now take for granted as remix culture. They used video to make intimate confessionals, experiment with their own bodies, and explore possibilities for art in public space that was critical of commercialism and conformity.

Explore the platform of ZOOM and consider its intended use for business meetings and class presentations. Experiment and play with the tools to see what other kinds of images, communications, and relationships might happen there. Test its possibilities, and explore how the platforms we learn and socialize and do business on – can lend insight to the medium itself, and to this historical moment we are living in right now.

We will discuss your proposals in class – to refine them and find possible collaborators.

Week 5

All work (from week 1-5) due AT THE LATEST: Tuesday Feb. 23rd (before next class, after reading week!)

  1. Complete your video art work and post on the blog with a title and description. Include references to lecture materials and artists studied in class.
  2. Make sure all of the work assigned from weeks 1-5 is complete – notes and exercises should all be on your blog page by next week.


I will be checking your Student page on the blog to find the work from the past 5 weeks. If work is incomplete, your will be deducted according to the amount of work incomplete. If everything is complete and the minimum requirements of each assignment are met – you will automatically receive a 75%. If it is completed with above-average level of curiosity, investment, effort and understanding of ideas – you may receive a higher grade.

See each week’s post to find a summary of work that should be on your blog.

Notes for weeks 1-5 (worth 20% of final grade)

Notes will be evaluated for completion, evidence of curiosity and full engagement with material, level of understanding of critical ideas at play.

Exercises for weeks 1-5 (worth 20% of final grade)

Exercises will be evaluated for completion, evidence of historical precedents for the work, understanding of conceptual ideas at play, evidence of technical investment and effort, evidence of experimentation and adventurousness.

TECH TALK TIME: In this week’s class, Nathan will talk about formatting your videos for uploading to the blog, and how to upload media to WordPress. Bring your questions – Nathan will join us for the last 20 minutes of each class.

Week 4

Summary of work for Week 4:

  1. Look at the works of artists relating to trees and other natural phenomena.
  2. Actively explore the work of Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay, including doing the guided audio walk, among trees.
  3. Propose a gesture or exercise of your own to relate intimately with a tree, or other natural object for a work of video art. Include images and notes to discuss with class next week.

Artists commune with nature:

Considering we are all in strict lockdown conditions, and prevented from being close to other people, we are going to explore recent works of contemporary art involving TREES – and make a new work based on a gesture performed with trees and other natural phenomena.

Look at these projects by artists involving encounters with plants, trees and nature.

Machine Project: Houseplant Vacation 2010.

Simon Starling

Tabernas Desert Run, 2005

Rebecca Belmore: Speaking to Their Mother

Belmore wanted to make a huge, loud megaphone for protest – and developed this work at the Banff Centre for the Arts. The work functions as a sculpture, and a functional megaphone for Indigenous people to speak to the land – “to our mother, to the earth” and to feel connected, and unafraid to express an urgency to care for and protect the land. See the video below as the artist discusses the impetus for the project.

Shawna Dempsey and Lori Milan: Lesbian National Parks and Services

Lesbian National Parks and Services was founded in 1997 to insert a lesbian presence into the landscape. In full uniform as Lesbian Rangers, Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan patrol parklands, challenging the general public’s ideas of tourism, recreation, and the “natural” environment. Equipped with informative brochures and well-researched knowledge, they are a visible homosexual presence in spaces where concepts of history and biology exclude all but a very few.

Shawna Dempsey and Lori Milan: Lesbian National Parks and Services

See the video here: vimeo.com/132492078

Lesbian National Parks and Services: A Force of Nature follows the intrepid Lesbian Rangers as they patrol, educate, and illustrate lesbian survival skills. This documentary about the Force archly parodies the so-called objectivity of educational films, while playfully recasting the wilds from a lesbian perspective, calling into question prevalent notions of nature and normalcy. Scenes from tours-of-duty in the Arctic, Banff, Australia and Manitoba are interwoven with interviews, in a style reminiscent of National Film Board documentaries of the 1960s. From Junior Ranger boot camp to the perils of a deep-sea rescue, this valiant team roves the world, asking, “What is natural?” while serving and servicing the lesbian wilds. Premiered at the 2002 Sydney (Australia) Gay/Lesbian Film Festival. 24:00 min. Digital video. 2002. (From Dempsey and Milan)

Wolfgang Laib

Watch how Wolfgang Laib relates to flowers and his wider environment:

Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay

Explore the video and audio art of Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay on his site:


Some of his classic works include: Live to Tell, 2002, shot and edited to appear as surveillance footage.

Some of his new projects include:

Tunings – 2020 a work where the artist created living flower arrangements with performers and botanical materials. https://nemerofsky.ca/Tunings

Here is a video excerpt:

Read the article from Canadian Art below:



Trees Are Fags is designed to be experienced on a dedicated website, with programming and sound design by Nikita Gaidakov. The piece is narrated by the artist, along with Matt Carter, Oskar Kirk Hansen, Bastien Pourtout, Ed Twaddle, Alberta Whittle, and Virginia Woolf. Bassoon performance by Ronan Whittern..

MAKE: Show prep work, and proposal with images, for a new work of video art on the blog:

You are going to draft a visual proposal for one new video – up to 5 minutes. You will find a safe (according to public health guidelines) way to relate to trees, or other natural phenomena – which may include earth, bushes, clouds, or even houseplants. You may or may not need to be physically present in the video to perform your gesture. You might choose to use voice-over to narrate the action, or represent the action in different ways. You may need to invent props or new arrangements, play with possibilities and post your ideas, images, and prep work for a video.

We will discuss your video proposals and share feedback in the next class.

(Note: The videos will be shot and edited next week – due in Week 6. )

Strictly follow all public health guidelines during the pandemic at all times – and when you make your work.

Consider the above examples, and your own need to commune and connect.

It may be practical, social, playful, spiritual, aesthetic or absurd. Create instructions for yourself to follow, and see what happens.

You may need to work on writing or text for your video – post all your prep work and we can workshop it together.

Reference works by artists in the lecture and readings in your proposal.

Consider what new insights or meaning about the moment, about yourself, or about nature do you hope to bring with your gestures?

Week III

The Three Movements, 2020. By Nathan Kasprzyk-Heuff

This banner was created to represent three major movements that are still prevalent in the 21st century. The bold stencil font was chosen in order to stand out visually and fight against domination, violence, and oppression.

Media: Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, printer paper, string with party cup lights, shot on an iPhone 11 camera

Stylistic Features, 2020. By Nathan Kasprzyk-Heuff

The second banner uses the phrase “stylistic features” with fonts using detailed features including serifs and slabs, italics, red and yellow colours, distortion effects, shrinking and increasing sizes, as well as outlines. A string with party cup lights was chosen to create an illumination effect, shining the light on the text.

Media: Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, printer paper, string, shot on an iPhone 11 camera



Micah Lexier:

  • Ampersand
  • Two Equal Texts
  • Notes-to-Self (2007)

Laurel Woodcock:

  • wish you were here (2003)
  • on a clear day (2010)

Hiba Abdullah