Video still from Bann courtesy Nina Könnemann.
Video still from M.U.D. courtesy Nina Konnemann.

“Könnemann describes known worlds but shows them to be unraveling, strange, transient.” Nick Mauss, Artforum

Renowned Berlin video artist Nina Könnemann is offering critiques and workshops to Integrated Media students at OCAD University as part of the InterMedia Artist-in-Residency, a collaboration between OCAD U, the University of Toronto’s Visual Studies at Daniels and the Goethe-Institut. The residency, which runs until November 14, also includes a series of public events, including a screening, artist talk and culture talk.

The residency provides a unique opportunity to examine the worlds Könnemann documents in her works and consider her process and techniques, often described as deceptively simple. Though Könnemann doesn’t use special effects, there’s a destabilizing and disorienting quality to her work that captures imaginations and attention around the globe. Her work shows multiple times a year, both in smaller galleries and in high profile solo shows, including at MoMA in New York and the Camden Centre in London. A retrospective of her work is planned at Kölnischer Kunstvereine, Cologne in 2014.

Playing with time and reality

When writing about Könnemann’s work, critics and reviewers frequently describe the disruption it creates. Viewers can take realism for granted in video, which makes the destabilization in her work ever more powerful and unusual, especially when she’s shooting what seems to be everyday occurrences and events, like people milling around in parks and urban plazas. 

“Rarely have I felt so lost as in viewing the videos of Nina Könnemann,” says Noemi Smolik in Artforum magazine. “Lost, because I couldn’t determine the place or the time period in which they were filmed, or even what was taking place in them. Were the events I was observing real, or had they been staged? In this footage, reality seemed to blend into fiction — or was it fiction blending into reality?”

Könnemann’s work, which also examines themes of time, urbanism, globalism, exclusion, public excess and public spaces, creates a sense of unhinging described by Jan Verwoert in Frieze magazine: “Konnemann’s videos make you feel that it takes no more than a gentle slip of the hand or askew glance for reality to unravel. And when the matrix of orchestrated events that regulates social performance does start to come undone, time starts to flow away, space becomes indistinct and the body manifests its intensities in surprisingly minor actions.”

At the same time, Könnemann’s oeuvre can provide meaningful glimpses of what is real, and how things actually are. Turning the commentary upside down, Katha Schulte notes, in an essay in Zusammenhage: “The dramaturgy of a Könnemann video presents events from their peripheries and interstices, now and then even from the point of view of their absence. The Real peers through the gaps, grimacing.”

About the residency

The InterMedia Artist Residency builds on the success of the CrossMedial Residency, developed and organized by the Goethe-Institut Toronto and the OCAD U and the Goethe-UofT InterMedia Residency. Previous guest artists include Lillevan, Carsten Nicolai and Olaf Bender, Nina Fischer and Maroan el Sani, and Daniel Kötter.

Learn more

The Intermedia Artist Residency

Attend a screening and artist talk: October 26, 2 to 5:00 p.m.

Attend a Culture Talk @ Goethe with Nina Konnemann: November 8, 5:00 p.m.

Nina Konnemann at Galerie Karin Guenther


Connor Olthuis at GradEx 2014. Photo by Christina Gapic.
Conditioners by Connor Olthuis.

Connor Olthuis’s medal award-winning project Conditioners is a an abstraction of the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and plumbing systems that enable us to thrive in artificial spaces. Here’s how he describes it:

Conditioners is a sculptural exploration of the facilitative infrastructures that influence our habits and structure our behaviours within a highly networked environment. I created a set of cyclically redundant yet functional systems that are a result of a co-opted authority from engineers and designers.

What inspired you and motivated you to do this project?

I wanted to take the two most basic human needs (air and water) and to redesign their common delivery systems into useless forms. I was in a civil engineering program for two years, and I wanted to go back to the methods and materials from my time there: concrete, metal — and to explore different processes of filtration.

What part of the process of creating this project did you learn the most from?

Reading and writing.

What aspect of this project are you the most proud of?

This work resolved some fundamental questions that I have about infrastructure, and conveyed those questions through a tangible set of systems for others to question also.  

How did you react to the news that you won a medal for your work?

I had just come from adopting a one-eyed cat when I got the call, and then I hugged my girlfriend.

What’s your fondest memory from your studies at OCAD U, and what will you miss the most?

I will miss talking with a few excellent professors, and being surrounded by like-minded students.

What are you planning to do next?

Continue making work.

Find out more about Connor Olthuis


Alumni, faculty make both Sobey Art Award and Aimia | AGO Photo Prize longlists

Jean-Paul Kelly, "Service of the goods," HD video (still, detail), 2013.
Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 4:00pm

Awards season is here. This week longlists were announced for the Sobey Art Award and the Aimia | AGO Photography Prize.

The Sobey Art Award, Canada's pre-eminent award for contemporary Canadian art, is an annual prize given to an artist age 40 and under who has exhibited in a public or commercial art gallery within 18 months of being nominated. The winner will receive $50,000; four finalists will receive $10,000; and $500 is given to each of the remaining longlisted artists.

The Aimia | AGO Photography Prize is Canada's largest photography prize, awarding more than $85,000 to artists working in photography. The prize includes an annual exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), an online exhibition, international artist residencies, public programming and a national scholarship program.

This year’s Sobey longlist includes alumna Reena Katz (2010 Integrated Media medal winner), alumnus Chris Curreri (1998, Foundation Studies) and Visual Studies and Integrated Media Instructor Jean-Paul Kelly. Both Curreri and Kelly have also been announced among the Aimia longlist selections. Bios and work by all the artists can be viewed on Sobey Art Award and Aimia | AGO Photography Prize respective websites.

The Sobey shortlist will be announced in June. Work by the shortlisted artists will be shown in an exhibition at the Winnipeg Art Gallery opening on November 1, with the winner being announced at a Gala event on November 19.

The Aimia shortlist will be announced on August 13. Each shortlisted artist will receive a fully funded six-week residency in Canada and their work will be exhibited at the AGO beginning September 3. The winner, selected by public vote inside the exhibition and online, will be announced on October 29.

OCAD University presents the first annual TOOLBOX event

Monday, October 18, 2010 - 4:00am

(Toronto — October 18, 2010) This October, the Studio Management Department at OCAD University (OCADU) presents its first annual TOOLBOX event, designed to promote and celebrate studio-based education, and highlight OCADU’s shops and studios. This year, TOOLBOX includes a lecture panel featuring prominent Canadian artists and designers: Marla Hlady, Andrew Jones, Reinhard Reitzenstein and Tim Whiten; and a tradeshow of vendors, suppliers and friends of the shops and studios promoting their products and services.

TOOLBOX: Materials, Methods, Making
October 27, 7 to 9 p.m.
TOOLBOX: Materials, Methods, Making, moderated by Julian Goss, Chair, Industrial Design, and Simone Jones, Chair, Integrated Media, initiates a dialogue on the intellectual aspect of making with Canadian artists and designers Marla Hlady, Andrew Jones, Reinhard Reitzenstein and Tim Whiten. The discussion emphasizes fabrication and engagement with materials as primary to art and design practice.

All are welcome. Admission is free.
Generously sponsored by Henry's Photo Video Digital.

OCAD University
Auditorium, 100 McCaul St., Toronto


TOOLBOX: Tradeshow
October 28, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

TOOLBOX: Tradeshow is a day-long event organized in the style of an industry tradeshow. It will take place in the Lobby and Great Hall at OCAD University, and admission is free! The Studio Management Department at OCADU has invited vendors, suppliers, and friends of the shops and studios to participate by setting up booths to promote their products and services. In addition to the booths, there will be on-going demonstrations throughout the day in the Auditorium by software companies such as Adobe, Rhino, Apple, and Autodesk. This is a valuable opportunity to check out new products and technologies, exchange information and pick-up some free stuff!

All are welcome to attend all events, and admission is free.

OCAD University
Great Hall and Lobby, 100 McCaul St., Toronto

For more information about TOOLBOX, visit

TOOLBOX: Materials, Methods, Making: About the Speakers:

Marla Hlady draws, makes sculpture, works with sites and sounds and sometimes makes video. Hlady's kinetic sculptures and sound pieces often consist of common objects (such as teapots, cocktail mixers, jars) that are expanded and animated to reveal unexpected sonic and poetic properties often using a system-based approach to composition. She has shown widely in solo and group shows. Hlady is represented by Jessica Bradley ART + PROJECTS.

Andrew Jones designs furniture and lighting products and residential and commercial interiors. His clients include manufacturers, architects, and government agencies in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Jones received a Bachelor of Architecture degree at the University of Toronto in 1991, and a Master of Arts (Furniture) degree at the Royal College of Art, London, in 1997. He teaches at the University of Toronto John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, and has previously taught at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design, OCAD University, and Sheridan Institute College of Crafts and Design. His company, Andrew Jones Design, engages in a wide variety of design for production and architectural design projects, for which he has won numerous national and international awards and inclusion in major exhibitions and public collections. Jones sees his work as part of a design tradition, beginning every project by studying precedents to see where improvements can be made and how a design can be more pleasurable for the user. He looks for direct solutions that achieve more with an economy of material and process, while fulfilling the expressive potential of design. Scale, position, lighting, ease of movement, and elegance of fabrication are fundamental to his approach.

Reinhard Reitzenstein studied at OCAD University, Toronto, 1968-71. From 1971 to 1991, he was represented by the Carmen Lamanna Gallery, Toronto. Since 1993, he has been represented by the Olga Korper Gallery, Toronto, and since 2000 also by Lutz Teutloff Media Projects in Germany. Reitzenstein’s work has consistently taken him into processes exploring ways to interconnect nature, culture, science and technology. His work crosses several disciplines: indoor installation and sculpture using cast, spun and welded metals, wood, glass, photography, digitally processed images; large scale drawings; outdoor tree-based installations and sound art. Reitzenstein has held over one hundred solo exhibitions and participated in some 300 group exhibitions in North America and abroad. He has completed more than a dozen public art commissions along with numerous private commissions. His work is represented in over 40 public and corporate collections internationally, among those are, the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, University of Toronto, Teutloff Collection, Bielefeldt, Germany, CONAC, Caracas, Venezuela, City of Pirkkala, Finland, Fidelity investments, Boston, Mass., Trilogy, Austin, Texas, Tridel Corp.Toronto. Reitzenstein has been an instructor in sculpture and interdisciplinary studies at the University of Guelph, from 1980-1998, Brock University 1991-94, Queens University 1997, Toronto School of Art 1998-2000 and Sheridan College 2000. Since fall of 2000, the Director of the Sculpture Program, SUNY Buffalo.

Tim Whiten is a highly prolific senior-career Canadian artist who has been active in the visual arts community for over 40 years. At present, he divides his time between his home base in Toronto, Canada and his new source of inspiration, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Tim is highly respected by his peers and he has been instrumental in influencing generations of aspiring artists, as Professor of Fine Art at York University since 1968. In addition, Tim actively participates in solo, group and/or ritual-based exhibitions on an annual basis, and his work has been featured in numerous International venues of merit, including exhibitions in Mexico, Brazil, Germany, United States of America, and the Republic of China. His artistic pursuits have long been rooted in the exploration of the transcendental- spiritually, physically and mentally, often incorporating a variety of non-traditional materials from his daily experience, including glass, gum, hair, mud, blood, coffee grinds, juice containers, mirror, etc., in his quest to ‘conceal’ and/or ‘reveal’ our place in the physical world.

About OCAD University (OCADU)
OCAD University ( is Canada’s “University of the 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.

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For more information, contact:

Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer
416.977.6000 Ext. 327 (mobile Ext. 1327)