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Distance Between Us


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Distance Between Us 

Opens February 2 at Open Space; runs till March 17

Remember those strange, herky-jerky black-and-white images the astronauts sent to earth from the moon? That was Slow Scan Television (SSTV), an early telecommunication technology that uses voice frequencies to send pictures.

Artists participating in Distance Between Us, which is both an exhibition, opening on Feb. 2 and a symposium, to be held Feb. 23 & 24, will explore the cultural and social impact of this technology both in its 1970s heyday and today. 

The participating artists are Bill Bartlett, Peggy Cady, Kerri Flannigan, and Patrick Lichty. They will be collaborating with artists networked globally. The exhibition will highlight artists' contemporary use of this early technology and the influence it has had on media art practices. Distance Between Us will also consider impact of SSTV on audiences, the access audience members have to the technology, and its influence on what’s considered artistic production.

In the spirit of acknowledging its own past, Open Space is presenting this exhibition, symposium, and artist’s residency as part of a series of programs that invite artists to explore the Open Space 45-year old archive.

In 1978, Open Space came into international focus as a media arts producer with the presentation SAT-TEL-COMP, a ground-breaking media transmission project that combined video, satellite, telephone, and early computer technologies. The project was led by Bill Bartlett and Peggy Cady who developed it as part of their collaboratory curatorial program that provided the general public with access to early communications and imaging technologies in an attempt to humanize their use.

This past year Kerri Flannigan was invited to participate in a media arts residency, funded by the Canada Council for the Arts, to explore the involvement of SSTV as an early telecommunications technology, and as an important component of Open Space programming archives. Flannigan has been working with artist and researcher Patrick Lichty, who has provided refurbished, working slow scan devices and acted as a technical mentor in the process. Flannigan has been conducting her own workshops and projects, as well as working with students and community members during her residency here in Victoria. 

During the two-day symposium Feb.23 & 24, artists from the exhibition will be joined by other luminaries who acted as trailblazers in the early days of new media in Canada. This gathering will include talks, performances, and a display highlighting the archival treasures of Open Space.

The exhibit’s opening reception takes place Friday, Feb. 2 from 7pm to 10 pm. The symposium is Feb. 23 & 24. Distance Between Us runs until March 17, 2018.

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