OCAD University hosts film and video marathon and interactive mural for Nuit Blanche!

Image of video still from Treasure Hill Camouflage (2014) by soJin Chun
Tuesday, September 27, 2016 - 4:00am

Wander through the darkened classrooms and corridors of OCAD University and lose yourself in moving images, interactive art and augmented reality. OCAD U is the site of two large-scale installations for Nuit Blanche starting at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 1 through 7 a.m., Sunday, Oct. 2

Multiplex, curated by The Modest Eyes collective, is an all-night video and essay-film marathon of work by local and international artists and designers.

Sit in a theatre, join an on-site slumber party or use your mobile device to plunge into the streams of image, sound and text to experience the marathon in your own way. A list of programming, artists and artworks can be seen at The Modest Eyes website.

OCAD U is also the site of The Merging. Artist Nicola Verlato’s interactive mural on the front of the main campus building at 100 McCaul St. depicts two of Toronto’s most prominent historic figures: communications theorist Marshall McLuhan and mathematician Donald Coxeter. Using an app on their mobile devices, viewers can see elements of the mural float in space like 3D objects.

A second version of the mural inside OCAD U’s Great Hall lets people enter the painting using the app. The Merging is one of 10 projects in the city-produced exhibition Militant Nostalgia, curated by Paco Barragán.  

Location: OCAD University, 100 McCaul St., Toronto. Wheelchair accessible at front doors.

A few blocks away from OCAD U at Toronto’s City Hall, Michael Prokopow, Interim Dean of Graduate Studies, is co-curating an exhibition with Jeanine Marchessault. Oblivion presents the works of three artists: OCAD U alumna Floria Sigismondi, architect Philip Beesley, and Director X. Their interconnected works encourage reflection on “the immensities, vulnerabilities and breathtakingly terrifying realities of the universe.”

PORTAGE Open house

Thursday, March 13, 2008 - 11:00pm to Friday, March 14, 2008 - 1:00am

The Mobile Experience Lab at the Ontario College of Art & Design is hosting an open house for the OCAD community and the professional design community as an opportunity to present the innovative research on cell phone experience done by the Portage research team.

Experience design on cell phones means much more than screen interfaces and ring tones. Emerging location sensitive phones and two-way multimedia is positioning the mobile platform as the successor to the Internet. Participatory and social experiences will overtake game playing and storytelling.

The researchers at Portage are currently creating a virtual streetscape theatre in downtown Toronto. A range of interactive experiences will be knit together and accessible through the mediation of the cell phone.

Come and see some working prototypes and participate in a dialogue about the future of mobile design.

Venue & Address: 
Mobile Experience Lab 52 McCaul Street, Floor 3, Toronto, Ontario
Free; Space is limited, please RSVP

Playing Doctor

Shannon Gerard
Wednesday, September 26, 2007 - 4:00am to Sunday, December 9, 2007 - 5:00am

AGYU presents PLAYING DOCTOR with OCAD Instructor Shannon Gerard and artist stef lenk at York University's Bookstore. Gerard's multi-media presentation, featuring models in crocheted strap-ons, guides the audience through a self-examination of their bathing suit areas, while lenk's life-sized game of Operation has participants digging for anatomical treasures on a fully functioning game-board. The installation will be on view from 26 September to 9 December 2007.
Books and comics by Gerard and lenk will be on sale in AGYU Bookstore for the duration of the exhibition.
PLAYING DOCTOR is part of a larger project called BOOBS & DINKS: Early Detection Kits:
Shannon Gerard's BOOBS & DINKS Early Detection Kits are crocheted breasts and testicles containing small lumps that can be found by following instructions provided in accompanying booklets. Warm up on these plush privates and then examine your own precious bathing suit area! The softness and humour of these BOOBS & DINKS aims to eliminate some of the fear surrounding monthly self-exams. Five dollars from each purchase will be donated to Cottage Dreams'a cancer recovery initiative in the Muskokas (cottagedreams.org).
The dates and times of PLAYING DOCTOR:
Opening Wednesday, September 26 2007, 6 to 9 pm
Get along on the Performance Bus! On the Harvest Full Moon, Wednesday, September 26, spirit yourself onto the AGYU performance bus with artist Katie Bethune-Leamen to the opening reception of PLAYING DOCTOR and FASTW'RMS Donky@Ninja@Witch. The free bus departs OCAD (100 McCaul St.) at 6 pm sharp and returns downtown at 9 pm.
The AGYU is located in the Accolade East Building, 4700 Keele Street Toronto. Gallery hours are: Monday to Friday, 10 am'4 pm; Wednesday, 10am'8 pm; Sunday from noon'5 pm; and closed Saturday. Admission to everything out there is free.

Venue & Address: 
Art Gallery of York University 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario

OCAD University celebrates PRIDE with innovative, interactive design

The Swing Lounge under construction at OCAD University
Sayyad Glassford, Rouzbeh Akhbari, and Nelly Goodarzi building the Swing Lounge
Sayyad Glassford installing a swing
Shamina Chherawala enjoying a swing
OCAD University celebrates PRIDE
Friday, June 26, 2015 - 1:15pm

Get ready to swing: This year marks the first time OCAD University is participating in the street fair at Toronto’s PRIDE festival. From June 26 to 28, stop by OCAD U’s Swing Lounge, an innovative booth where visitors can interact with the installation as well as with volunteers – students, faculty, staff and alumni – from across the university.

Unlike conventional booths at the PRIDE street fair, The Swing Lounge invites participants into a 10’ x 10’ space where they can swing from suspended seats while listening to audio recordings representing the diverse experiences and thoughts of students, faculty and staff – including President Dr. Sara Diamond. Shamina Chherawala of OCAD U’s Office of Diversity, Equity & Sustainability says that The Swing Lounge “both disrupts a monolithic understanding of queerness and celebrates our place in the larger LGBTQQI2SA* community.”

The Swing Lounge (pictured here under construction) was conceived, designed and built by Rouzbeh Akhbari, Nelly Goodarzi and Sayyad Glassford. Based on consultations with OCAD U community members, it also showcases the university’s art and design talent, and was created entirely within the university’s own shops and studios. OCAD U’s installation is dedicated to Wendy Coburn, an OCAD U professor, activist and artist who recently passed away.

Be sure to make The Swing Lounge a stop on your PRIDE 2015 celebrations. And tweet your impressions to #OCADU.


*Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, 2-spirit, Asexual/Allies


Jessica Knox, You Lucky Dog, interactive installation, image by DFI
Che Yan (Shino), Assimilation, Dissimilation, interactive installation, image by Christina Gapic.
Elizabeth Eva Coleman, [Bare Witness], multimedia ebook, image by Christina Gapic.
Cathy Fang, Loopboration, collaborative graphics game, image by Cathy Fang
Anne Stevens, textDIAL, text messaging prototype, image by Christina Gapic.

Upcycled rotary dial phones that send text messages, a cabinet of mementos that trigger digital videos and an interactive installation designed for Union Station that brings people of different cultures together by asking, “what has changed in you, living in Toronto?” These were just a few of the imaginative works in Xtension, the inaugural Digital Futures Graduate Exhibition on view at OCAD U’s Open Gallery this past week. 

The final projects from the Digital Futures Initiative’s inaugural class included a wide range of interactive experiences — everything from digital games to sound installations to multimedia ebooks. One project, You Lucky Dog, by Jessica Knox even measured dogs’ brainwaves using EEG headsets so viewers could type in questions and see a video of a typical dog’s thought response.

The theme of how analogues of our past extend into new ways of imagining our future also had a definite global scope. “It’s amazing to see how diverse the projects are,” said Fayssal Itani, who grew up in Beiruit, and whose projectBlogtivist turns players into activists contributing to helping topple a dictatorship through online activities. “We’re all from different backgrounds, places and areas of expertise, all coming together.”

Interactivity added to the excitement of the show, particularly during the packed opening reception. “Hosting an exhibition that’s so hands on is interesting because people aren’t used to interacting with works in a gallery space,” said Knox. “Hopefully as this becomes more common, people will play more.”

Knox was one of the four student co-organizers of the show, along with Heather Phenix, Ryan Rizzo and Lloyd Gray, under the guidance of Martha Ladly, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies. 

Three of the graduate students who exhibited received DFI Awards of Merit for their work: Anne Stevens, Marc de Pape and Elizabeth Eva Coleman. Stevens presented two pieces, stereoPHONEic, a portable music player that positions stereo speakers behind each ear, and textDIAL, the text-messaging rotary dial phones. Marc de Pape’s The Chime: Scoring the City, poetically translates external impulses from the everyday city and translates them into sounds. Elizabeth Eva Coleman’s [Bare] Witness is a multi-sensoral ebook incorporating animation, video, sound and text-based storytelling to convey complex, personal narratives of trauma and recovery.

"The true magic of advanced technology has been brought to life by this year's digital futures graduates," said Tom Barker, Chair of the Digital Futures Initiative. "There is something here for everybody: whether you want your dog to give you advice, you want to learn how to meditate, hear music created by cities or play the latest computer games. Experience tomorrow. Today."

The Digital Futures Initiative is a unique, practice-based, interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate program for future innovators, leaders and creators of digital media and new technologies. It builds on OCAD U’s historic strength in digital research, design innovation, foresight and artistic practice.

The focus of the program is to develop “X-shaped innovators” for the creative digital industries. Each point of the X is an expertise: in art, design, science and enterprise.


OCAD University presents Pitch_Patch_Pulse at Scotiabank Nuit Blanche

Wednesday, September 15, 2010 - 4:00am

Firm to collaborate with institution to create new brand identity

(Toronto — September 15, 2010) OCAD University (OCADU) will celebrate the 5th anniversary of Scotiabank Nuit Blanche on Saturday, October 2 with a sensual feast of light, sound and performance in Pitch_Patch_Pulse, cooked up by OCADU artists Bentley Jarvis, Reena Katz and Geoffrey Shea. Torontonians, prepare yourselves for an all-nighter of atmospheric fractals, portals and turbulence.

We take in the world through our senses; our eyes, ears, nose, fingers, mouth. Pitch_Patch_Pulse uses this theme to transform OCADU’s streetscape into an alluring, interactive playground. Bentley Jarvis showcases his narrative, electro-acoustical digital imagery, while Reena Katz engages visitors with an experiment in displaced global protest, called Empathic Maneuver (dimensions not to scale).Through an interactive installation inviting the audience to play “old-timey” music and animate projections using their mobile devices, Geoffrey Shea interrogates DIY culture, inspiring exploration, jam sessions and collaboration.

“The artists representing OCAD University this year for Scotiabank Nuit Blanche are innovative creators pushing the boundaries of performance, interactivity and technology,” said OCAD University President Dr. Sara Diamond, who is also Chair of the Scotiabank Nuit Blanche Advisory Committee. “These are deep-running themes present each year in Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, an event OCAD University is proud to have been a part of since its inception. Pitch_Patch_Pulse is our homage to contemporary art in Toronto — we wish all revellers a great night, and Scotiabank Nuit Blanche a very happy 5th birthday!”

Bentley Jarvis
OCADU Assistant Professor Bentley Jarvis is a multi-media artist who creates works that integrate visual, sonic and performative aspects. He has worked with choreographers, theatre designers and visual artists for more than thirty years, investigating the relationships between how objects look and sound. Jarvis’s process begins with the building of highly resonant structures, for which he then composes electro-acoustic music, which is intended to be played on the structures. His installations often feature multiple monitors that portray the visual aspects of the music, creating slowly evolving digital paintings, with sound. Jarvis’s performance videos often feature one or more live musicians interacting with the video. Jarvis has been teaching electro-acoustics at OCADU for the last 27 years.

Reena Katz
2010 OCADU Integrated Media medal winner Reena Katz is a multi-media artist guided by a deep love of collaboration. Her inventive compositions, installations and performances explore themes of gender, ethnicity, migration and anachronism, making constant reference to collectivity and oral archive. Using recorded sound, handmade electronics, wood and performance, her works often take the form of film, video, poetry and dance. Katz’s works have been exhibited at galleries, festivals and have played on international radio in Toronto, Montreal, New York and Berlin.

Empathic Maneuver (dimensions not to scale) renovates a standard parking booth into an improvised recording studio for telepresent rabble-rousing. Katz invites the public to join her via video conference and select from an array of protest chants from the US/Mexico border wall, and the Separation Wall in Palestine. Participants then rehearse and mimic their chosen chants, learning their inflections and emotions as if they were song lyrics. This displaced duet becomes a lament against architectures of power, and a moment of empathic democratization. Through cover and spectacle, Empathic Maneuver (dimensions not to scale) brings the passions, questions and concerns of civil societies across the planet to the parking corridor between OCAD and the AGO.

Geoffrey Shea
OCADU Assistant Professor Geoffrey Shea is a media artist, designer, musician and researcher focused on mobile and locative cultural content delivery and the creation of new wireless hardware and software platforms. His related research interests include sound, music, co-creation, network access and assistive communication technologies. He is a lead researcher in OCADU’s Mobile Experience Lab, where he recently completed Portage, a major research and development project with support from the Department of Canadian Heritage.

A pioneering media producer, Shea’s credits include Monster Home, the first interactive, feature-length movie for the Web. His artwork, principally in installation and video, has been presented internationally and is represented in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada and the Museum of Modern Art. As well as producing, Shea curates and writes about art and new media, most recently as a regular programmer for the Fabulous Festival of Fringe Film. Shea has taught new and emerging media for artists and designers at OCADU since 1986.

Pitch_Patch_Pulse at OCAD University
Part of Scotiabank Nuit Blanche
Saturday, October 2, 6:57 p.m. to sunrise

OCAD University
McCaul Street, from Dundas to Grange Road, Toronto
416-977-6000 | www.ocad.ca

Pitch_Patch_Pulse Programmer: Caroline Seck Langill, Associate Dean, Faculty of Art
Event Manager: Jeff Zoeller, Manager, Outreach Events, Marketing & Communications

About OCAD University (OCADU)
OCAD University (www.ocad.ca) 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)

OCAD University appoints David Rokeby as adjunct professor

Monday, February 11, 2013 - 5:00am

(Toronto—February 11, 2013) The Faculty of Art at OCAD University (OCAD U) has appointed Canadian interactive installation artist David Rokeby as Adjunct Professor. His appointment started January 31 and continues until December 31, 2016.

Rokeby is widely considered a pioneer of interactive new media art. His complex digital installations, environmental works and public sculptures explore multi-sensory perception, architecture and embodiment.

“Mr. Rokeby’s deep knowledge of interactive art and commitment to technological innovation will inform and complement our ongoing research and curricular initiatives across the Faculty of Art and OCAD U,” said Vladimir Spicanovic, Dean of OCAD U’s Faculty of Art. “His creativity will surely inspire many of our students and faculty.”

David Rokeby has been creating interactive sound and video installations with computers since 1982. His early work Very Nervous System (1982-1991) is acknowledged as a pioneering work of interactive art, translating physical gestures into real-time interactive sound environments. Very Nervous System was presented at the Venice Biennale in 1986, and was awarded the first Petro-Canada Award for Media Arts (1988) and Austria's Prix Ars Electronica Award of Distinction for Interactive Art (1991).

Several of his works have addressed issues of digital surveillance, including Watch (1995), Taken (2002), and Sorting Daemon (2003). Taken was exhibited at the Witney Museum of American Art in New York in 2007. Another of his surveillance works, Watched and Measured (2000) was awarded the first BAFTA award for interactive art from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in 2000.

Other works by Rokeby engage in a critical examination of  the differences between human and artificial intelligence. The Giver of Names (1991-) and n-cha(n)t (2001) are artificial subjective entities, provoked by objects or spoken words in their immediate environment to formulate sentences and speak them aloud.

Rokeby's installations have been exhibited extensively around the world. He has been featured in retrospectives at Oakville Galleries (2004), FACT in Liverpool (2007), the CCA in Glasgow (2007) and the Art Gallery of Windsor (2008). He has been an invited speaker at events around the world, and has published two papers that are required reading in the new media arts faculties of many universities.

In 2002, Rokeby was awarded a Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts, the Prix Ars Electronica Golden Nica for Interactive Art (for n-cha(n)t) and represented Canada at the Venice Biennale of Architecture with Seen (2002). In 2004 he represented Canada at the São Paulo Bienal in Brazil. In 2007 he completed major art commissions for the Ontario Science Centre and the Daniel Langlois Foundation in Montréal. His 400 foot long, 72 foot high sculpture long wave was featured at the Luminato Festival in Toronto (2009).

In 2011 and 2012, Rokeby was a guest artist at Le Fresnoy Studio Nationale in Tourcoing, France, and artist-in-residence at the Ryerson Image Centre at Ryerson University, in Toronto. He developed substantial new works for exhibitions in both places in 2012. He is currently working in partnership with Michael Awad on a large kinetic mobile for the public art component of the new Ripley’s Aquarium. Rokeby, who graduated from OCAD University’s Experimental Arts program in 1984, is represented by Pari Nadimi Gallery.

OCAD University (OCAD U):
OCAD University (www.ocadu.ca) 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.

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Download this release as a PDF document.

Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer
416-977-6000 x327 (mobile x1327)