SAW Video commissioned seven media artists from across Canada to create new works from audio visual materials in the public domain at Library and Archives Canada.



A screening program of six Public Domain videos will tour North America and the UK in 2011-12.



Public Domain is SAW Video’s first ever full-length publication, featuring new critical pieces from the artists and new essays from archivist Caroline Forcier-Holloway and noted UK scholar Sarah Cook.




In June 2009, SAW Video commissioned seven media artists to create new video works from public domain materials in the film/video/audio collection at Library and Archives Canada. The result is Public Domain, a program of six new videos that premiered in Ottawa June 23rd, 2010 and will tour across North America and Europe in 2011-12.

The range of mid-career and established media artists selected for this project represent a broad cross-section of media artists working in Canada. Bringing critical perspectives to bear on their found materials, the artists mine the nature of the image for its visual, narrative, mnemonic and evocative potential. While some of the resulting videos highlight the fragility and disappearance of images, others focus on their renaissance through recontextualization.


Gennaro de Pasquale (Montreal) - Vortex, 12:08

Sara Angelucci (Toronto)-The Beauty Pageant News, 8:47

Maureen Bradley (Victoria)-Beyond the Pale, 16:00

Ryan Stec/Véronique Couillard (Ottawa) - Library and Archives Canada Public Domain Reels Documenting Spots of Beauty and Interest in Ontario and Quebec Sometime Ago Remixed Today (VCRS): 19752010, 3:00

Suzan Vachon (Montreal) - chant [dans les muscules du chant], 23:32

Steve Reinke (Chicago/Toronto) - Not Torn (Asunder from the Very Start), 9:57


Public Domain is the first commissioning project of this scope undertaken by SAW Video, and the first of its kind in Canada. It was made possible with the support of a grant from the Canada Council Media Arts Commissioning program.

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Following two screenings at the prestigious Festival international des films sur l’art (FIFA) in Montreal and at FACT in Liverpool, the long awaited tour of the commissioning program gets underway this fall [2011] with stops at six cities in Canada, the USA, and the UK.

The seven artists chosen to participate in the Public Domain project bring a range of approaches and artistic styles. Steve Reinke (Chicago/Toronto), already known for the use of archival documents in his video essays, transgresses the nature of the archival images he employs by giving them new context and meaning using a voice-over narrative. Sara Angelucci (Toronto) links the fragility and physical evanescence of the image with the volatility of memory and identity. Maureen Bradley (Victoria) employs a feminist and political approach in the form of essays which join the force of documentary images with a kind of personal docu-fiction. Gennaro de Pasquale (Montreal) collects images and sounds from multiple sources, which he then assembles in video collages according to their formal and semantic properties. Suzan Vachon (Montreal) gleans the archival collection looking for images with oneiric and evocative possibilities which she incorporates into her lyrical essay. The artistic duo Véronique Couillard and Ryan Stec (Ottawa) are particularly interested in the graphic qualities of analogue images, which they manipulate digitally using a process of live retouching and mixing that imparts a new rhythm and nature to the images.

Each night of the tour, one Public Domain artist will be on hand to discuss their work and the project with audience members. 

Public Domain Tour 2012 & 2013

Cambridge Galleries, Cambridge, Ontario February 18th, 2012 with Christopher Rohde
Zeitgeist Multi-disciplinary Arts Centre, New Orleans, Louisiana March 15th, 2012 with Christopher Rohde and Ryan Stec & Véronique Couillard
Eyedrum Arts Centre, Atlanta, Georgia March 17th, 2012 with Christopher Rohde
Halifax Independent Filmmakers Festival April 10, 2012 with Suzan Vachon
Modern Fuel Artist-run Centre, Kingston, Ontario February 26, 2013 with Christopher Rohde

Public Domain Tour / Fall 2011

Winnipeg Film Group (Winnipeg)

September 21

with Steve Reinke & Christopher Rohde

MediaNet @ Deluge Gallery (Victoria) September 23 with Maureen Bradley & Christopher Rohde
No.w.here (London UK) October 5 with Sara Angelucci & Christopher Rohde
Metro Cinema (Edmonton) October 13 with Suzan Vachon & Penny McCann
EMMedia (Calgary) October 14 with Maureen Bradley & Penny McCann
Visual Studies Workshop (Rochester NY) November 17 with Steve Reinke & Christopher Rohde

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Public Domain

Softcover book  (126 pages) - $15.00 CDN

Public Domain originated as a video commissioning project of SAW Video in 2009. Seven artists from across Canada were selected to create new videos using materials held in the collection of Library and Archives Canada. SAW Video is proud to present the new Public Domain book, the media art centre’s first ever full-length publication featuring new critical pieces from the Public Domain artists and new essays from archivist Caroline Forcier-Holloway and noted UK scholar Sarah Cook.

Graphic Designer: Simon Guibord

Editor:  Emily Falvey

Translation: Marie-Claire Forté


Foreword: Penny McCann

Introduction: Caroline Forcier-Holloway

Essays and Photo Essays:  Mireille Bourgeois, Sarah Cook, Sara Angelucci, Maureen Bradley, Gennaro de Pasquale, Steve Reinke, Ryan Stec & Véronique Couillard, Suzan Vachon

Copyright: SAW Video 2011

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Library and Archives Canada holds thousands of film documents which have become free of copyright. These documents cover a wide range of historic events which played a role in the collective history of Canada, such as the First and Second World Wars and our industrial development. In addition to documents of these historic events, the large collection of materials also includes home movies of private events such as garden parties, sporting matches and scenes of camaraderie amongst friends, soldiers and workers. These audio-visual recordings are traces of the private history of individuals, and each provides a different perspective on the passing of time.

The high cost of royalties makes it difficult for many independent artistic projects to use archival documents. If royalties are not paid, the incorporation of archival material, while widespread, is often illegal, which immediately eliminates the possibility of public exhibition in galleries, at screenings, on television, etc. As a result, the use of archival documents and materials from Canadian history is often restricted to corporations and big-budget commercial productions.

While Library and Archives Canada offers artists an inexpensive and publicly accessible alternative to this dilemma, researching, finding, and obtaining rights to materials at LAC can be complex, daunting and time-consuming. In order to facilitate access to audiovisual works in the public domain and to eliminate many of the obstacles which could hinder artists' research, SAW Video provided research support throughout the duration of the Public Domain project. In screening the new videos and describing the process of the project year, Public Domain seeks to inspire artists to see the archives as a treasure trove for their own work. The project also raises broader questions about copyright/copyleft and specifically about the complex term public domain, a topic at the centre of an international critical discourse.

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Sara Angelucci is a photo and video artist living in Toronto. She completed her B.A. at the University of Guelph and her M.F.A. at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. She has exhibited her photography across Canada including exhibitions at Le Mois de la Photo in Montreal, Ace Art in Winnipeg, Vu in Quebec City, the Toronto Photographer's Workshop, the MacLaren Art Centre, the Art Gallery of Hamilton, and the Richmond Art Gallery. Her videos have been screened across Canada and included in festivals in Europe and Hong Kong. Sara has participated in artist residencies at NSCAD (Halifax), the Banff Centre and at Biz-Art in Shanghai, China. Sara's work is represented by the Wynick/Tuck Gallery and V-Tape in Toronto.


Teacher, curator and artist, Maureen Bradley has produced 32 short films and videos that have screened at festivals and galleries around the globe. Retrospectives of Maureen's work have been programmed in Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Vancouver and two of her tapes screened at the Museum of Modern Art (New York). She works in multiple styles and forms including drama, documentary, experimental, and web. Maureen attended the Women in the Directors Chair workshop at the Banff Centre for the Arts in 2002. She is the president of CineVic Society of Independent Filmmakers and has been involved in artist-run culture in Canada for almost twenty years through Image et Nation, Out On Screen, Video In Studios, Saskatchewan Filmpool and the Independent Media Arts Alliance.


Multimedia artist Gennaro De Pasquale was born in Bisceglie, Italy, in 1969. He lives and works in Montreal, Canada. He completed his fine arts studies in France. He has participated in many individual and collective exhibitions and was initiator and curator of the Post-Audio Esthetic project at the Clark Gallery in 2000. He has shown his works in Europe, Canada, Asia, United States, Brazil, Chile, and Japan. He participated in the exchange between Clark Centre and the Glassbox gallery, shown at the Québec national museum of Fine Arts, and conceived and directed the net art project Post-Audio NetLab. In 2006, he curated the project Post-Audio_DVD, a compilation of audiovisual works created by Montreal artists. De Pasquale has been particularly interested in the representation of sound through images, objects and installations, as well as in sound as matter, language and autonomous art work. His artistic exploration draws inspiration from a reflection on the impact of technological innovations on our perception of time, the spaces of transmission and socialization.


Steve Reinke is an artist and writer best known for his monologue-based video essays which are widely screened, collected and exhibited. He lives in Toronto and Chicago, where he is associate professor of Art Theory & Practice at Northwestern University. In 2006 he was awarded the Bell Canada Prize in Video Art. He has edited a number of books, including the anthology "The Sharpest Point: Animation at the End of Cinema" with co-editor Chris Gehman. Coach House recently published a book of his scripts "Everybody Loves Nothing." He is represented in Toronto by Birch Libralato Gallery.


Ryan Stec is a Winnipeg born/Ottawa based media artist and curator. His work experience and community involvement spans a wide variety of disciplines and interests. He has been heavily involved in the artist-run culture of Ottawa since 1998. He is currently the Artistic Director of Artengine.

Véronique Couillard is a visual artist who works mostly with video, live video performances and video installation. A graduate from the fine arts program at the University of Ottawa, her work has been exhibited in Moncton, Guelph, Saskatoon, Québec, Tracadie-Sheila, Gatineau and other Canadian cities and towns, as well as in Cape Town (South Africa) and Vaasa (Finland).


Interdisciplinary artist Suzan Vachon teaches sculpture, video and other multidisciplinary courses at the Université du Québec à Montréal's École des arts visuels et médiatiques since 1992. Between 1991 and 2002, she taught video at Université de Montréal, first in the Art History Department and then in Film Studies (2004). Considering her art practice as a polyphonic space for research, Vachon questions the relations of resonance and interpretation between architecture and several other media, for example sculpture, video, cinema, sound, literature and photography. Since, 1993, Vachon has focused on public art, installing either permanent or temporary works within the architectural environment. Her works divulge an interest for staging light and develop various spatialization strategies to reveal images onto different types of screen and by luminous bodies. In 2001 and 2007, she was a runner-up for the Artistic Creation Award for best experimental artwork by the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, presented at the Rendez-vous du cinema québecois. Her videos have been shown and nominated at several international festivals (France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Mexico and Argentina).


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