Blasting the Past: TRANZTECH 2001

Blasting the Past: TRANZ<--->TECH 2001

Continuing on with our recent highlighting of past years’ events, in this post we will examine the second of the three TRANZ<—>TECH Video Art Biennials that happened between the late 1990s and early 2000s. This second iteration of TRANZ<—>TECH took place in October of 2001, and represented a collaborative effort made between a long list of Toronto artist-run centres, as well a collection of public and private galleries, media centres and curatorial collectives from across the country.

One important development for TRANZ<—>TECH 2001 was that it was the first year that new works were commissioned specifically for the Biennial. This included The Story In 6 Parts, a collaborative exquisite corpse video project commissioned by the Art Gallery of Sudbury. Charles Street Video also showed a commitment to audio-based art residencies with Scream/Whispers, a multifaceted series of site-specific audio installations that were augmented by audio performances. And lastly, Trinity Square Video presented TRANZ>SEX>TECH, a collection of six commissioned works that claimed to “mix and mutate” toward new sexualities.


Video still from “Next to Last Tango,” a video by Johanna Householder and b.h. Yael that was shown as part of Trinity Square Video’s TRANZ>SEX>TECH programme.

Below is a block quote from the introduction to the Biennial’s catalogue, as well as a link to a scanned PDF of the publication for those interested in more information on any of the specific works that were included in the festival:

“Collaborative presentation efforts are an important aspect of this year’s TRANZ<—>TECH 2001, offering local audiences artists and exhibitions that would otherwise have not been available. F2F, an important presentation of Finnish new media artists organized by the Finnish Foundation for the Visual Arts in New York is a co-presentation of InterAccess, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Design Exchange. Pleasure Dome, Mercer Union and Artcite/House of Toast have come together to bring the Portland-based phenomenon Miranda July to Toronto. VVV is being sponsored by YYZ to present Videocentric, an  international programme that interrogates the intersection between landscape, performance and video. Gallery 44 is hosting video installations by Antonia Hirsch (Vancouver) and Catherine Elwes (UK), and Women’s Art Resource Centre is collaborating with the Centre for Aboriginal Media to present One Broke, a mixed media installation by Cynthia Lickers. Trinity Square Video is the location of a FADO-sponsored interactive web-based performance by Louise McKissick. As well, there are installations by Leslie Peters (VMAC Gallery hosts), Tom Sherman ( Vtape) and a web-based work by French artist Patrick Bernier (also presented by Vtape).

The important work being done in single-channel video remains at the core of the Biennial. At a point of intense technological development, video art can be either effect-full or baldly plain, but content and purpose remain the touchstones of the artists who continue to define the art form as vibrant and relevant. Trinity Square Video presents Crossing Over, an international programme addressing post-80s Europe curated by Nina Czegledy and Iliyana Nedkova. Vtape presents Creeped Out, a selection of edgy Toronto artists’ video curated by Lisa Steele and Light Structures, a programme of recent UK video curated and presented by London sensation Dryden Goodwin. The Images Festival sponsors Minor Star, Montreal video curated by Nelson Henricks with a nod to “Warholian____ness”. Recent Belgian Video is present by Argos Video Distribution in Brussels, The Irresponsible Truth: Three Recent “Documentary” Videos, presented by Artcite/ House of Toast and curated by Jeremy Rigsby features work from Thailand, Lithuania and Beirut.

For the audiophiles, there is a theremin performance by Henry Kucharzyk and Peter Hannan, a performance with you-know-what by Women with Kitchen Appliances, and Babble, an interactive video/audio performance by Montreal-based Paul Litherland (with Alexander MacSween) – all sponsored and/or commissioned by Charles Street Video. And Array_1, a new performance by _badpacket_, with audio by PROJECT, is presented by InterAcess.”


Link to Tranz<—>Tech 2001 Catalogue