Something was up in Toronto in the fall of 1999, something unusually collaborative and optimistic. Pleasure Dome, Trinity Square Video, Vtape and the curatorial collective VVV (Dara Gellman and Leslie Peters) put their heads and their individual resources together and came up with TRANZ<—>TECH, a 3-day event with the audacious sub-title of TORONTO INTERNATIONAL VIDEO ART BIENNIAL that promised to deliver video screenings, performances, installations, talks and parties. And deliver it did. Here’s a quote from the introduction to the catalogue:
“This Biennial declares our interest in and commitment to a new generation of artists working in the electronic media, artists who are referencing the history and practice of video art, its immediacy and its hands-on approach. This Biennial recognizes a vision which is both startlingly new and deeply referenced.
“This is Toronto’s first international video art biennial. It literally sprang to life this summer when we came together with various curated programs of international and Canadian video art – mostly produced by emerging artists. This spring, V tape had an international curatorial intern – Stefan St-Laurent – in London, Paris and Amsterdam seeking work by young artists. VVV (Dara Gellman and Leslie Peters) had been working with Jan Schuijren of Montevideo in Amsterdam to produce an exchange between Canada and the Netherlands. Pleasure Dome had been approached by artist/curator Nelson Henricks with a program of work from the found-footage collective Cane CapoVolto, who are based in Sicily. And Trinity Square Video wanted to screen a program of recent tapes from Scotland which artist/curator Nikki Forest from Montreal had selected in Glasgow.
“From there our ambitions grew. Jan Schuijren proposed a screening of a program he had recently assembled from the collection of Montevideo in Amsterdam. Tom Taylor (Pleasure Dome) tracked down Tadasu Takamine (of Inertia fame from last year’s Images Festival), who was going to be in Windsor at Artcite in October. Jorge Lozano (Trinity Square Video) got in touch with Mistress Cybernoski (a.k.a. new media artist Sheila Urbanoski) to present her tour of web-based art. Lisa Steele (V tape) invited French artist Bertrand Lamarche to set up his installation TORE (with the support of YYZ Gallery). VVV engaged three Toronto artists (Karma Clarke-Davis, Louise Liliefeldt and Leslie Peters) to present installations during the event; Montreal-based Perte de Signal offered their curated program of international work, Zone d’emergence. And finally, Jan Schuijren proposes Jeroen Kooijmans’ installation piece Work for display.”