New Forms 2011: Public Domain

New Forms Festival 2011 delves into the theme of “Public Domain”, focusing on concepts of copyright art, public interactivity, media façades and relationships between public and private spaces.

The festival will run from Sept 9-11, 2011 and will be taking place at the Waldorf hotel.  Utilizing the entire hotel premises, the festival will act as a creative hub; a laboratory for exploration and discovery.

Throughout the festival, performances, video projects, workshops and installations will take place in the hotel rooms, various bars, spaces, hallways, outer walls and the back parking lot. Public Domain builds on the idea of temporal and spatial transformation, and that of creative commons.

New Forms Festival is a partner in the ‘Festival as Lab’ programme being currently carried out through the ICAS initiative, joining festivals such as Future Everything (UK), Club Transmediale (DE), MUTEK (CA), Todays Art (NE) and Unsound (PL).


Private Space

The Hotel Room acts as a location in which to navigate and disseminate the oppositional, yet co-dependent realms of the private and public. By presenting works in a publicly accessible, private domain, we are able to clearly examine the intrinsic issues, perspectives, and permutations, of the laws and ideas that propound the concept of public domains.

In a society that shares content, perspectives and art by the click of a button, the line between private ownership and public domain has become blurred beyond recognition. Laws and regulations work to try and control the situation, often with controversial and confusing outcomes.

Specific works of art within the Waldorf hotel rooms will address this line, and explore the relationship between public and private ownership.


Beyond Surveillance

Michelle Teran, The Bureau of Inverse Technology, Caspar Below, U.R.A.Filoart, Yangachi, Paola Barreto and David Valentine.

Surveillance technologies surround ones every day activity, from security measures to the ongoing monitoring of our daily activities.  In many downtowns, the video camera represents the constant reminder of these ongoing activities, and question issues of freedom of movement, expression and privacy.

Beyond Surveillance examines “Artistic strategies against video surveillance”. It is a programme of short videos curated by Manu Luksch of ambienttv.net, which looks at ways in which artists have used the video surveillance technology and beyond for alternative purposes.




Wikipedia Art Room:

Scott Kildall and Nathaniel Stern


A collaborative project initiated by Scott Kildall and Nathaniel Stern, Wikipedia Art was originally intended to be art composed on Wikipedia, and thus art that anyone can edit. Since the work itself manifested as a conventional Wikipedia page, would-be art editors were required to follow Wikipedia’s enforced standards of quality and verifiability; any changes to the art had to be published on, and cited from, ‘credible’ external sources: interviews, blogs, or articles in ‘trustworthy’ media institutions, which would birth and then slowly transform what the work is and does and means simply through their writing and talking about it.

Wikipedia Art at its creation, may start as an intervention, turn into an object, die and be resurrected, etc., through a creative pattern / feedback loop of publish-cite-transform that that the artists called “performative citations.” Despite its live mutations through continuous streams of press online, Wikipedia Art was considered controversial by those in the Wikipedia community, and removed from the site 15 hours after its birth. But the debate and discussion there, and later in the art blogosphere and mainstream press, produced a notable work after all. These communities still “transform what the work is and does and means simply through their writing and talking about it,” despite its absence from Wikipedia.


Public Access Television Room

As a component to the 2011 New Forms Festival, Public Access will be an exhibition presented as a series of television broadcasts curated by Josh Bartholomew. Over the course of the festival there will be daily broadcasts airing works that discuss notions surrounding the development of mass media culture.

A selection of work by Vancouver-based artists whose practices typically deal with issues of production/media will be exhibited by means of the television. Local residents of the Waldorf and surrounding areas will be able to view works typically found in larger more prominent art institutions.  The works will be shown once, questioning the temporal and spatial relevance of media today.

The format of T.V. allows for the representation of a work to be considered on totally different grounds with a new audience. This exhibition will be accompanied with a small publication containing an essay and additional texts/images that aid in furthering the discourse surrounding the show.



Over the past 25 years Negativland has been one of the pioneering forces in Copyright art.  Both in sound and video, the collective has been active in disseminating work commenting on copyright, though the work has rarely been seen due to the immense pressure from the music and television industry.

Negativland’s “illegal” collages have included; pranks, media hoaxes, and advertising, touching on media literacy, the bizarre banality of suburban existence, creative anti-corporate activism in a media-saturated multi-national world, file sharing, intellectual property issues, as well as evolving notions of art, ownership, and the law.

In the private confines of a nondescript room, people will be able to sit and view a series of work in their entirety, questioning notions of private and public space.


Digital Natives

Digital Natives was a public art project sited on the electronic billboard at the Burrard Street Bridge from April 4 – 30, 2011. Curators Lorna Brown and Clint Burnham invited artists and writers from across North America to contribute messages to be broadcast on the billboard, coinciding with the 125th Anniversary of the City of Vancouver. Taking the form of Twitter messages, the contributors responded to the site’s charged history, the ten-second format and the 140-character limit of tweets.

The sign itself became an artistic and literary space for exchange between native and non-native communities, exploring how language is used in advertising, its tactical role in colonization, and as a complex vehicle of communication. Many of the English messages were translated and displayed in Skwxwú7mesh, Kwak’wala, hǝn’q’ǝmin’ǝm’/Musqueam, Tahltan and Nlaka’pamuctsin in addition to the hybrid forms that are part of twitter usage.  Tweets from the public were gathered and broadcast in the later part of the month, making Digital Natives public art that the Vancouver public not only ‘received’ but had the opportunity to produce.

Two contributions, and one Skwxwú7mesh translation were omitted before broadcast, by the corporation that is under contract to manage the billboard’s content, Astral Media Outdoor.

During NFF 11 these quotes will be presented electronically on screens in the Waldorf, allowing their messages to be seen in the greater context of what defines the public’s access to expression.


Larissa Lai: “Your grandparents’ unacknowledged debts return to you as rage against the car in front” and it’s translation –

“ Ta esmáy s7íx ems ta a-selsí7l, na mi ḵ’énnem, nilh axw wa lhétḵ’em nilh kwi ses na7 ta tétxwem na7 ta a-syewániwilh.”



Pixloop is a interactive collaborative music mixing system. Traditionally, music mixing devices and programs are complex, requiring training and extensive use to become familiar with the systems. Pixloop is a music mixing system that allows users with little to no experience in music mixing to build compositions.  Using custom samples from popular music, the pixloop will be an ongoing space to deconstruct copyright in a live context, allowing audience members to create new remixes throughout the entire festival.


The Chat Room

Within the short lifetime of online communication, the boundaries  and scope of online chatting has shifted from anonymous exchanges in cyberspace, to the creation of online personas and personalities that act as extensions of who we intrinsically are. There are no secrets online, we present ourselves as open books, exposing our backgrounds, imagery, and opinions in relatively open friend/follower circles. Sites such as facebook aim to mirror the everyday, acting as a social connector which has the ability to bypass the constraints of geography, culture, and socio-economic status, while acting as a platform for expression, belief, politic, and opinion.

While the advancements in social networking have literally transformed the way we communicate, there was something about the unadulterated crassness of the earlier chat rooms that was somehow quite alluring. There was a freedom in the anonymity, an ability to be someone else online.

The Chat Room looks to bring back this era, inviting users to engage with a stranger, and experience the results.

The Chat Room will be set up in two locations, the men’s and women’s washrooms in the Waldorf restaurant. While waiting in line, the public will have the opportunity to communicate with someone in the opposing room.   By Creating a head on collision between the anonymity of a chat room interaction and one-on one-contact, the setting forces responsibility and dialogue around how we communicate, and who we are as individuals.  The chat room will act as a social experiment, allowing for private expression, and shared experience.


Art, Revolution and Ownership: Co-Presentations with ARO (Art, Revolution + Ownership)

What is copyright and why does it matter to artists?  Copyright is a tool that tries to ensure both a stream of remuneration to creators and access to what we like to think of as the public domain or the commons.  It has also become a tool that is used by industries to support or criticize a worldview.  What does it really mean to artists working in various media – video, painting, photography, animation, printmaking, and graphic design?  Does the law affect aesthetic practice?   In so many ways art transforms what we see and do, but does it transform the law?  Curated by Martha Rans.


War Room

Marching to May by Faith Moosang will be shown next to video projections of Hart Snider’s Newshole War Coverage and Diyan Achadi’s Camouflagehead.  They are viewed together with Sonny Assu’s iHamatsa_rise. These works pose important questions about the nature of political representation, and our responses to it. Even though most of the imagery has been abstracted through manipulation of some sort, each of the art works contain elements that have been affected at different times by a thesis committee, a broadcaster or VANOC because of fears of infringment.


The Group of Seven

An homage to the Group of Seven.  It features Diana Thorneycroft’s Group of Seven Awkward Moments (White Pine and the Group of  Dwarfs) and Ben Reeves [Name(s) of work].  Both pieces are  reflections on the iconic Canadian landscape re-imagined and replicated, and reference the original Group of Seven. Cereal Box by Sonny Assu, invites the viewer is invited to question how we see Canadian territory.  Even when a work is transformed into something new it may attract legal scrutiny – should that matter?     .


Haida Manga

A mural by Michael Nichol Yahgulanaas based on his book of Haida Manga :“Red.” This along with Ben Reeves’ work in progress, “Borges Comic”, offers us another perspective on transformation – specifically the recontextualization of text and the traditions that are represented within the texts to other media.

“art is either…..”


Plastic Orchid Factory

On September 8th in the Atrium at SFU Woodwards’s and W2, Plastic Orchid Factory will perform the piece “art is either a complaint or do something else” set to text by John Cage. This one time performance will be remixed live by Josh Hite and then re-viewed in the same space in collaboration with dancers and choreographers. In the piece, we hear John Cage reading a poem based on an interview Cage had with the painter Jasper Johns. “art is either…” brings a physical dimension to Cage’s original text. To accentuate this layered materiality, the work includes text panels that discuss the legal issues involved with John Cage’s work, his use of silence, and the questions of improvisation.  The video remix and related material will be installed at the Waldorf Hotel for the duration of the NFF.


Public Access

Throughout the rest of the Waldorf, works will be presented that interact with the festival patrons as they move throughout the interior and exterior of the space.

By addressing the public domain, and interactions of the Waldorf within a festival context, artists have been invited to look at both the festival its self and surrounding areas in an artistic context.  Artists will morph, remix, and challenge the predetermined structure, creating a new visual and auditory language by which to experience the space.

In using the façade of the Waldorf for installations and projects, the works can be disseminated by not only festival patrons, but by passers by, and the local community.


Façade Life

Antoine Schmitt

In Facade Life, an abstract visual shape endlessly paces on a facade, in relationship to its architectural elements. It slides on the borders, hits the window frames, bounces on the door sides, circulates in the available spaces. It inhabits it. Algorithms of artificial life and physical equations recreate the behavior of an abstract wild feline in a cage: a nervous body, free but confined.

Facade Life is issued from an artistic principle where existing facades are re-interpreted by programmed dynamics shapes, to initiate a dialectics between physical reality and a parallel level of reality.

The Facade Life installations are site-specific installations, ephemeral or persistent, but always unique. For the festival, Antoinne Schmitt will be creating a site specific work on the west wall of the Waldorf.


Olo J Milkman: Slides

Krista Lomax, eightprime (wayne mercier), Kinotropy (psimon

dontknowlastname), Jon A (lastnametotallyunpronounceable), and olo J.

Milkman (aka capt. rev. olo Guber P. Haaversnaatche jr. IV)

Images from the book “The Amaranthian Testament”, written by Sir Edmund

Twilight and illustrated by olo J. Milkman, have been manipulated and

transmuted by some of Vancouver’s premier VJ’s.

They have created both static and interactive video pieces based off both text and diagrams from the book.  These images will be projected onto the wall of the former Canadian Tire building across from the Waldorf hotel.


Lorenzo, Isabella and the Pot of Basil.

Brian Johnson

(Situated in THE FIT: Freie International Tankstielle)

1848 was not only a time of political and social upheaval but also a cultural one. This was the year that the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was formed – a group of Victorian artists widely thought to represent the first unified avant-garde movement in art. The PRB rejected the staid conventions of the Renaissance as espoused by the Royal Academy in favour of direct observation of nature.  Their firm belief was in creating a form more in touch with the everyday reality of their surroundings.  It has been suggested that this conflict between the seen (the real of everyday experience) and the seeable (the fantastic recreation of fictional or historical events) that is so typical of their work presages the cinema.

Lorenzo, Isabella and the Pot of Basil is a double stream, video installation featuring the choreography of two contemporary dance artists and a score that is at once compelling and formally challenging. The proposed system situates dance, music and film as vehicles whereby the audience can construct meaning in a fluid, changing nature based on their position and movement through the gallery space. This “interactivity” is achieved via old school techniques of stereo mixing.

Situated within the shipping container housing the FIT, the two finished films will then be projected on opposing walls.  Audience members standing in the middle of the gallery will hear an equal mix of all tracks of music, thus engendering the piece with a sense of cohesion and unity. As viewers move closer to one screen or another the audio “mix” becomes biased towards the closer image, foregrounding that particular piece – not only in terms of the perceptually larger visual image and associated sound, but also it’s existence as an independent entity.


Media Time Capsule (Co-Presentation with W2 Community Media Arts Centre)

Throughout NFF11, an ongoing video installation will travel throughout the festival to interview and document an ongoing conversation about Vancouver.  There are few public places where we can share our true feelings and thoughts about where we live, few outlets where we can be heard and speak freely about the identity of our city and how it has shaped us.

During NFF11, a recording booth will be set up in the lobby, and travel throughout the festival, from the installations and hallways to the parking lot of the Waldorf to capture these perspectives. It will run throughout the festival recording peoples thoughts and opinions. These recordings will then become a time capsule for the next 125 years of Vancouver.


Drawing Machine:

The Art Machine (Kunstautomat)

Andres Wenner

The portrait is one of the oldest and most popular forms of still life visual art. The portrait creates a snapshot of an individual, capturing them in a particular vein, time, and space.  Historically, portrait paintings have memorialized the the select few who could afford the high expense of commissioning an artist.  Over time, the portrait painting has been commissioned by governments, corporations, groups, clubs, and individuals.  One can also have their portrait drawn on the street, outside many museums and cultural institutions.

The Kunstautomat is an invention that brings this tradition into the digital landscape.

The Art Machine (Kunstautomat) draws portrait-pictures of visitors and prints them as miniature printouts. Based on the live-image of a video-camera, it traces object-contours in the manner of an artistic drawing. Users contribute to the picture by their motions or by standing still.

The Kunstautomat will create this service automatically in situ on an ongoing basis at New Forms.



September 8th and 10th

Saturday September 8th SFU Woodwords

ARO Performance and Panel

Everyone is welcome to participate as the dialogues that will follow the performances throughout the evening of September 8th.  Tina Piper, Research Director of the Centre for Intellectual Property Policy at McGill, will consider the extent to which the improvisational, ephemeral and ever changing nature of many contemporary art forms can possibly be described by the language of intellectual property law. She will consider the extent to which using and applying copyright, in particular, requires a particular way of seeing and being, and she will discuss how this kind of analysis leads to collaboration and creation in unimagined ways.  Choreographer James Gnam, lawyer Martha Rans will facilitate the conversation with the audience.


ARO Panels

Saturday September 10th (1-5 PM: Waldorf Hotel: Leeteg Room)

On Saturday, September 10, 2011 from 1 to 5 we will hold two additional dialogues at the Waldorf Hotel in in conjunction with the Centre for Humanities at SFU.  Both will be moderated by Mark Hosler.


Panel One:

Authorship and Art Practice in the Digital Age.

Diyan Achadi, professor Emily Carr University of Art and Design, printmaker and animator, and artist Sonny Assu share their perspectives on authorship and its relevance to their work.  What is an authentic voice?    Whose voice is it anyway?  Why does it matter?  Laura Murray, founder faircopyright.ca, Faculty of English, Queen’s University participates as does Geoff Glass, Faculty of Communications, SFU .


Panel Two:

The Status of the Thing: copyright and digital materiality.

Debates over copyright within crafting communities are particularly thorny, jumping as they do from notions of a common shared history that should be open and welcoming to all, passing through the idea that as a gendered pastime crafting is regularly devalued – something its practitioners should work against, to more recent arguments that there are lucrative opportunities for professional crafters and designers that need to be protected through the copyrighting, patenting and trademarking of designs and processes.   Kirsty Robertson, Assistant Professor,  Faculty of Visual Art at UWO invites the audience to consider a series of case studies that examine “embroidery pirates,” open source embroidery projects, controversies over trademarked fabrics, and traditional techniques in order to trace changing notions of ownership in crafting communities.  The work of both Ben Reeves, painter, and Faith Moosang, photographer, approach abstraction


Josh Hite: Art is a complaint video remix

Josh Hite creates a video work based on the performance of plastic orchid factory’s duet titled, “Art is either a complaint or do something else” a work   that appropriates John Cage’s mesostic poem of the same title. Two small spy cameras will be attached to the centre of the two dancers’ chests, recording the space of the performance, the viewers and passers by, and the dancers themselves in the atrium at W2 on September 8th. These two perspectives will be projected side by side in Room 122.


(dis)location – Sampa – www.dislocationsampa.com

“Modes of production write History in time; social formations write them in space. Taken individually, each geographical formation is representative of a mode of production or of one of its moments.”

Translated from Portuguese. Milton Santos, Da Totalidade ao Lugar. Edusp – Editora da Universidade de Sao Paulo. Sao Paulo, 2008

(dis)location – Sampa is the second iteration of the (dis)location series which began in Salvador, Brazil in 2009. The project examines how geography is devised, organized and constantly transformed based on socio-economic factors. The project is about dislocations and displacements in the chaotic zone of the historic city center in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2010. By mapping the daily ritual of three workers in this historic location the project encompasses complex economic systems that co-exist, define and transform the center’s geographic space.

(dis)location – Sampa is a process based work that is a continuation of a larger trajectory that studies and maps the vernacular of everyday life in a specific site. Realized during the course of an art residency in the “historical city center” of Sao Paulo in 2010, this iteration of the project advances an approach, an aesthetic and research on people and place. The basic concept in this process and research based practice is that perception is dynamic, depending on our position and condition in time and space.



Project, Camera, Location Sound, Editing, Design – Sarah Shamash

Narrators – Ana Lema Lema, Carlos Alberto Gomes, Valdemar Romao da Silva

Lead Developer / Programmer – Rumiko Akai

Sound Engineer, Sound Design, Sound Mix – Inaam Haq

Translation – Yom Shamash

Production Assistant – Luciano de Souza Gonçalves


Thanks / Acknowledgements

Brazil: Lucas Bambozzi, Rachel Mascarenas, Alex Pilis, Karina Polycarpo (FAAP), Workers at the FAAP residency.

Canada: Stephen Wichuk (Animation at the Purple Thistle), David Brisbin (drawings), Melissa Bayon, Aisha Jamal, Kasari Govendor, Rachel Laszlo, Alex Mackenzie (design), Eve Shamash, Canada Council for the Arts Travel Grants.



Mixing dance and technology, Mesosphere connects movement with Kinect images in a performance piece with an interactive edge.

The Mesosphere performance is an abstract investigation into the process of loss. A dancer moves through a landscape of projected trees, clouds, and pixelating images that respond to her movements. Melodic vibraphone music strikes a balance between a reflective dreamstate and a crying out of layered tones. The internal narrative of the performer evokes a feeling of loss restored through forgiveness with a freeing of self.

After the performance, audience members are invited to play in the interactive image environment. Mesosphere is performed one night only on September 9, 2011 in the downstairs multimedia room at the Waldorf Hotel.

Mesosphere is a collaborative project between the following artists:

Dancer / Collaborator: Darcy McMurray
Interactive Artist: Miles Thorogood
Sound: Heartbreak House & Faye Mallett
Director / Choreographer: Maia Love


Beyond the Boundaries

The Vancouver Public Space Network

Using the Graffiti Research Lab’s open source software, we are inviting the public to come and explore the intersection of arts, technology and public space. A graffiti laser system will be set up near the Waldorf hotel to project digital ‘tags’ onto the exterior of the Waldorf and surrounding buildings.

The system is open for anyone to use and interact with, and participants are invited to throw up digital tags, messages, scribbles and drawings on the walls, asphalt and facades of everyday outdoor structures. Why should advertisers have all the fun? This project brings into question the nature of public / private space through the use of digital arts and technology. It allows participants to operate in a sphere of public space that falls beyond the scope of what is typically within the public regulatory framework.