Memento Mori

Memento mori
Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - 4:00am to Friday, October 24, 2008 - 4:00am

Memento Mori translates to “remember you are mortal”, originally based on Northern Renaissance vanitas. Some of the work explores life and celebrates the present, while the rest challenges death and contemplates the possibilities of what may come next. Participating artists are Katherine Bellman, Kathleen Breau, Hila Engel, Karen Grosman, Venus Lukic, Amanda Muis, Erin Parton and John-Philip Penny.

Image credit: Mortal Succession , Karen Grosman

Venue & Address: 
Transit Space 100 McCaul St., 2nd Floor, Toronto, Ontario

Monitor 11: South Asian Experimental Film + Video

SAVAC logo
Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - 11:30pm

How does trauma haunt us? How do we build fictions that tell the stories of our lived realities? And finally, how do we fantasize our way out?

The title of a 7” record by riot grrrl band Heavens to Betsy, “These Monsters are Real” conjures feelings of anxiety, fear, and panic. While the reference to monsters elicits the realm of fiction and fantasy, the insistence on their realness re-centers experiences of horror and trauma, summoning images of mutated and abject beings.

Monitor 11 takes this title as its starting point and asks that we claim a space for the imaginary and the make-believe that can emerge from and entangle with the most monstrous acts, which have become a part of our everyday reality.

Featuring work by

Sahej Rahal (India)
Kush Badhwar (India)
Tala Madani (Iran/USA)
Payal Kapadia (India)
Anjana Kothamachu (India)
Mahardika Yudha (Indonesia)
Chulayarnnon Siriphol (Thailand)
Laleh Khorramian (USA)

Curated by Azar Mahmoudian & Leila Pourtavaf

Doors Open 7 p.m.

Q&A with curators to follow screening

Venue & Address: 
OCAD University 100 McCaul St. Central Hall, Room 230
SAVAC members free | students, seniors & underemployed $5 | general $10 

Monitor 11: South Asian Experimental Film + Video Call for Submissions

Mosaic with the work monitor
Wednesday, October 8, 2014 - 4:00am to Monday, November 3, 2014 - 5:00am

Deadline: November 3, 2014, 5:00 p.m.


Submissions are now open for our annual experimental film and video screening program, Monitor 11.

Monitor is dedicated to the presentation of experimental short films and videos by and/or about South Asians from Canada and around the world. We invite independent and innovative short films and videos that explore the aesthetic and form of the moving image and its relation to narrative. Monitor encourages new, experimental and risk-taking work that challenges the viewer’s active engagement.

For Monitor 11, curators Leila Pourtavaf and Azar Mahmoudian invite filmmakers and artists to submit work based on the theme, “These Monsters are Real”, a nod to riot grrrl band Heavens to Betsy. The theme can be read as a playful insistence on fantasy as a legitimate mode of operation, but also question how we can still claim a space for the imaginary, and the make-believe, when the most monstrous acts have become a part of our everyday reality.

How do we realize and name trauma to normalize it? How does it haunt us? How do our fantasies return as the real? How do we build fictions that tell the stories of our lived realities? And finally, how do we fantasize our way out?


Works must be under 20 minutes and produced during, or after 2012.
Submissions from first time directors, and students are welcome. Artist fees will be paid.

Submissions must include all of the following:

• Name of artist or director
• Full contact information (address, phone, email, website)
• Title of work
• Date of production (No earlier than 2012)
• Brief synopsis of the work (300 words max)
• Brief biography of the artist (150 words max)
• Artist CV
• High-resolution production stills (300dpi)

Venue & Address: 
Mail-In Submissions: SAVAC – MONITOR 11 401 Richmond Street West, Suite 450 Toronto, ON M5V 3A8 Canada
<p><strong>Email Submissions:</strong></p> <p></p> <p><strong>Contact Sharlene Bamboat:</strong><br /> Artistic Director,&nbsp;SAVAC (South Asian Visual Arts Centre)<br /> p: 416.542.1661<br /> e:</p>


David Cronenberg and Piers Handling. Photos courtesy TIFF.

“Everybody’s a mad scientist, and life is their lab. We’re all trying to experiment to find a way to live, to solve problems, to fend off madness and chaos.” David Cronenberg

David Cronenberg, the master of the macabre, creepy obsessions and weird fantasies is coming to OCAD University to talk about the relationship between technology, art, cinema, architecture, design and city landscapes. The iconic Toronto-based Canadian filmmaker will be interviewed by Piers Handling, Director and Chief Executive Officer of TIFF at OCAD U on Tuesday, January 21, as part of the President’s Speaker Series

"OCAD U is honoured to host one of the world’s most imaginative filmmakers in conversation with a one of the world’s best known curatorial and administrative leaders in film," said Dr. Sara Diamond, OCAD U's President. "This is a wonderful opportunity for the OCAD U community to learn about cinema, technology, design and the creative process from two film masters and we look forward to their unique industry perspectives, artistic ideologies and visions for the future."

During Cronenberg’s 40-year career as a filmmaker, his works have included independent, experimental, science fiction, horror, thriller and studio productions including Videodrome, The Fly, Dead Ringers, Naked Lunch, Crash, A History of Violence, Eastern Promises, A Dangerous Method and Cosmopolis. Thought-provoking and transgressive to the point of being controversial, Cronenberg is also celebrated with significant international awards, including France’s prestigious Chevalier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres, a Special Jury Prize at Cannes, a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award and a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame.

Cronenberg was the subject of an ambitious, international touring exhibition curated and launched by TIFF in the fall, and as part of that initiative OCAD U partnered with TIFF’s Higher Learning Digital Resource Hub, York University and Sheridan College to create David Cronenberg: Virtual Exhibition. The Virtual Exhibition will make a vast collection of scholarly essays, footage and research materials available to an online international artist. Caroline Langill, Interim Dean of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences and School of Interdisciplinary Studies at OCAD U, Natalie Waldburger, Assistant Professor, Drawing and Painting and a team of OCAD U students contributed essays, interactive maps, lesson plans and 3D images to the Virtual Exhibition. 

Piers Handling, who will join Cronenberg at the January 21 event, is responsible for leading both the operational and artistic growth of TIFF. Since 1994, under his direction, TIFF became an internationally renowned cultural institution and opened TIFF Bell Lightbox, a permanent home for all of TIFF’s year-round film, educational and exhibition programming. Handling is the former Deputy Director of the Canadian Film Institute (CFI), taught at Carleton and Queens universities and has published extensively on Canadian cinema. He holds an Honourary Doctorate of Fine Arts from OCAD U.

Famous Cronenberg quotes

“I think of horror films as art, as films of confrontations. Films that make you confront aspects of your own life that are difficult to face. Just because you’re making a horror film doesn’t mean you can’t make an artful film.”

“Since I see technology as being an extension of the human body, it’s inevitable that it should come home to roost.”

“As filmmaker, I ask questions but don’t have answers. Moviemaking is a philosophical exploration. I invite the audience to come on the journey and discover what they think and feel.”

Learn more:

Attend the talk

David Cronenberg exhibition at TIFF 

Toronto Life profile of David Cronenberg 

Piers Handling at TIFF

Jillian Mcdonald named 2012 Glenfiddich Artist-in-Residence

Wednesday, March 21, 2012 - 4:00am

(Toronto—March 21, 2012) Andy Fairgrieve, Curator of the Glenfiddich International Artist in Residence program and OCAD University announced today that internationally acclaimed video and performance artist, Jillian Mcdonald is the 2012 Canadian winner of the highly-respected Glenfiddich Artist in Residence award. Ms. McDonald's haunting video and performance art reflects her fascination with the American horror film genre and its use of fear as entertainment. Unlike horror films however, Mcdonald's images of ghosts, zombies and vampires avoid extreme gore and violence as part of her narrative.

Edmonton born Mcdonald divides her time between New York City and Canada, and is notably one of only eight artists from around the world to be awarded the art community's coveted prize to live and work at the distillery in Dufftown, Scotland. The three-month residency, valued at roughly $20,000 per artist, represents Glenfiddich's commitment to the arts and the communities it serves.

Upon learning of the award, Ms. Mcdonald shared that, "I have never been to Scotland and I am so excited to create masks and costumes inspired by the folklore and the romance of the gothic landscape which evoke all sorts of horror associations."

While in Dufftown the artists live in crofts at the distillery and are encouraged to find inspiration from their unique setting in the Scottish Highlands. One of the special benefits is the opportunity to work in an international artists' community, to share in a dialogue with one another and to foster cross-disciplinary ideas. The Artist in Residence program covers the cost of travel, living expenses and working materials while at the residency.

Mr. Fairgrieve underscores that, "The program's ethos is about encouraging people to take inspiration from their experience living at the distillery, whether that be the pioneering heritage of Glenfiddich, the surrounding environment, or the daily life of the distillery and local community, and to be as pioneering as possible — a mission our artists live and breathe during their three-month residency."

"We are very proud that the Artist in Residence program appeals to so many of Canada's leading and emerging artists," says Mr. Fairgrieve. "The range and scope of the submissions is a true reflection of the creative exploration going on in Canada today."

Over 100 artists from the far-reaching corners of Canada submitted proposals. Along with OCAD U Curator and Associate Professor Charles Reeve, the selection committee also included Lisa Deane Smith, OCAD University Assistant Curator; Vlad Spicanovic, Dean of the Faculty of Art at OCAD U; and Dave Dyment, 2008 Glenfiddich Artist-in-Residence. Reeve points out that the "geography, age and interests provided a rich and broad range of entries as sweeping as the country and a collection of work that spans multiple genres, mediums and perspectives from the traditional to the avant garde."

The Glenfiddich Artist-in-Residence program has sponsored more than 40 artists since its inception in 2002. Canadian artists have included Helen Cho (2011), Damian Moppett (2010), Arabella Campbell (2009), Dave Dyment (2008), Jonathon Kaiser (2007), Annie Pootoogook (2006) and Myfanwy Macleod (2005).

About OCAD University (OCAD U)
OCAD University ( is Canada's "university of imagination." The University, founded in 1876, is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. OCAD University is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD University community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.

About Onsite [at] OCAD U
Formerly called "The Professional Gallery," Onsite [at] OCADU ( was launched in 2007 with Rirkrit's first solo exhibit in Canada. Since then, it has hosted solo and group shows featuring dozens of nationally and internationally significant contemporary artists and designers, enriching OCAD U's educational experience while helping to make this university an indispensable cultural resource for the region.

About William Grant & Sons
William Grant & Sons is an independent family-owned distiller founded by William Grant in 1886 and today still controlled by the fifth generation of his family.  The Company distils some of the world's leading brands of Scotch whisky, including the world's favourite single malt Glenfiddich®, the handcrafted range of The Balvenie® single malts and one of the world's best loved blended Scotches, Grant's®, as well as selected other spirits, including Hendrick's® Gin, Sailor Jerry® Spiced Rum and, most recently, Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey 

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For more information contact:

Sharyn Thomas / Alexandra Sockett
Jesson + Company Communications
77 Bloor Street West, Suite 1903, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1M2
T: (416) 323-7828 E: /

Design with Dialogue

Design with Dialogue
Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 10:30pm

Dancing the Unspeakable - A Halloween event with Unify Toronto Dialogues

Please join us for a special happening that explores the unspeakable mysteries, our shadow sides that underpin a creative and searching life, sharing with others in movement and music, visual expression, and creative verbal and nonverbal dialogue.

How do we, as individuals, as communities, as human beings, be with the outrageousness of our futures?

How do we express the mysteries and the shadows, the inevitability of our own ultimate future?

How do we stay in action when death is inevitable? (personal death, death of ecosystems, decay of economic and other institutional structures that once held us secure)

Halloween has been a time for playing with otherwise unspeakable. A time for acknowledging fear and lack of control. A time of even celebrating and playing with Death’s inevitability. On Halloween, and the Day of the Dead that follows death can be both frightening and funny—that is, when we try to escape and control it.

Dance offers us an opportunity to “speak” to the unspeakable, to express that which is too much for us to handle with mere words. In dance we can play with and release our overwhelm, so that we might grow into our next best futures. Imagery and deep dialogue enable a listening for the unspeakable to present itself. We'll also hold brief sessions for dialogue and drawing.

Doors open at 6:00. We start at 6:30 sharp.

Guest Facilitator
Patricia Kambitsch explores and promotes tools for dialogue available through the visual arts, theatre, creative movement and dance. In her work she seeks to engage all of us: all our senses, imaginations, and creative powers with artistic tools. She currently enjoys clowning and participates in dance projects with the MomoButoh Dance Co. in Washington State.

Seven Fraser Ave is at the very end of the short Fraser Ave off King West, 2 blocks east of Dufferin. Free parking is normally available in front of 15 Fraser, or down the street. Walk through the parking lot, through the double doors past the lobby. Studio 13 is the last studio down a long hallway in 7 Fraser Avenue. We will be making Halloween preparations in the building, but don’t be afraid to go ALL the way down the hall!



Venue & Address: 
Fraser Ave Studios #13 7 Fraser Ave Toronto, Ontario