Spécial Vtape Special

From April 25 to June 20, 2015
Opening on April 30 at 7 pm


Screening on April 30 at 5:30 pm in the presence of Wanda Vanderstoop, distribution director at Vtape, followed by the opening.


Initially quite marginalized as a medium compared to other artistic disciplines, video has become, over the past forty years, a crucial practice in the visual arts. Its technical simplicity and relatively low-cost production and dissemination have made it an essential tool for democratising art, allowing to free oneself easily from academic and economic precepts. For many alternative and emerging artistic practices, video has become both a distinct artistic language and preferred tool for self-assertion and diverse social claims.

Vtape, a non-profit organisation founded in Toronto in 1980 by Lisa Steele, Kim Tomczak, Susan Britton, Rodney Werden, Clive Robertson and Colin Campbell, is today the largest distributor of video art in Canada. Its catalogue holds the works of more than 1 000 artists amounting to more than 5 000 titles, from canonical works, to the most hybrid, to those exploring new media technologies. Since its founding, Vtape has relentlessly embraced marginal forms and discourses, supporting works that claim a space and a right for freedom of expression—works that are often denied agency by society and its institutions. A pioneer in the preservation, development and promotion of media art, Vtape advocates an egalitarian and decentralised vision of practices, enabling itself to support a broad range of discourses.

Examining its formal, social and political concerns for the exhibition Spécial Vtape Special, Dazibao roamed freely through this vast collection. In an undoubtedly utopian attempt to trace a deductive portrait of this ground-breaking Canadian organisation. The result is less a synthesis than a series of singular points of view through various threads of video history: from performance to body art, activism as well as feminist, LGBTQ or First Nations practices. The sequence of thirteen works brought together in this program is neither chronological nor thematic. It calls instead for a non-linear reading in which each work remains fully in control of its own discourse. Ultimately, it is perhaps this freedom that provides the best insight on the tangible accomplishments of Vtape over the years.



(presented in a loop)


Jesi The Elder, Blossom (2014) — 3 min. 08 sec. jesi.ca

Paul Wong, 60 Unit: Bruise (1976) — 4 min. 30 sec.

Rehab Nazzal, BIL’IN (2010) — 4 min.

Ehren BEARwitness Thomas et A Tribe Called Red, Woodcarver (2011) — 5 min. 44 sec.

Tom Sherman, World of Strangers (2006) — 2 min. 45 sec.

Julieta Maria, Exercizes in Faith: Bird (2010) — 1 min. 52 sec.

Colin Campbell, True/False (1972) — 9 min.  

Stephen Andrews, Quicktime Interruptus (2004) — 1 min. 30 sec.

Martha Wilson, Deformation (1974) — 8 min.

Deirdre Logue, Fall – from Enlightened Nonsense (1997) — 2 min.

Andrew James Paterson, Roman Spring Leakage (2011) — 7 min.

Mike Hoolboom, In the Dark (2003) — 8 min. 04 sec. 

Freya Hattenberger, Sirene (2006) — 3 min. 30 sec. 

David Askevold, Rubberband (1970) — 3 min. 21 sec.



This exhibition was organised for Dazibao by France Choinière, in collaboration with Vtape. We thank Vtape and the artists for their generous collaboration as well as our members for their support.

Dazibao receives financial support from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des arts de Montréal, the ministère de la Culture et des Communications and the Ville de Montréal.