Knot Projections 2019

Imagining Publics
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Hélène Lefebvre, Ryan Conrad, Pansee Atta, Maayke Schurer + Sasha Phipps
Multiple locations, TBA

A special public art project by SAW Video Media Art Centre, with support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.


SAW Video and Knot Project Space are proud to announce Knot Projections 2019: Imagining Publics – an extended public projection series taking place at multiple sites throughout Ottawa from July to October 2019.

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About Knot Projections

A series of public video projections that will occur at multiple sites in Ottawa this summer and fall represents the culmination of SAW Video Media Art Centre’s yearlong commissioning program Knot Projections. Funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the program was designed to build capacity for local media artists in Ottawa to realize moving image works that are intended for large-scale projection in public spaces.

As part of its capacity-building ethos, the program funded the support of the Video in the Public Sphere speaker series, which took place at Knot Project Space from October 2018 to April 2019 and featured presentations by five national and international artists, curators and critics who highlighted the challenges and opportunities of art in public space, the claims of site-specificity, cinema as a built environment and other relevant topics. The guest speakers also conducted intensive follow-up workshops and discussions with a cohort of five local commissioned artists: Hélène Lefebvre, Ryan Conrad, Pansee Atta, Maayke Schurer and Sasha Phipps, as well as the program’s ‘Resident Critic,’ Carleton University film professor Malini Guha, who worked directly with the group over the span of the program. SAW Video also secured a high-lumens digital projector capable of transforming outdoor architectural surfaces into ‘urban screens’ to create temporary moving image experiences for passersby. This unique initiative represented a major expansion in SAW Video’s programming scope and its support for local artists, providing the critical and technical tools to approach the urban fabric of Ottawa as a space for media art experimentation and presentation.

About Imagining Publics

Imagining Publics is an extended public projection series that will take shape as a sequence of five ephemeral video installations, each occurring at different sites within Ottawa, beginning in mid-July and concluding in late October. In conversation with SAW Video’s curatorial staff, five local commissioned artists have each selected specific sites and surfaces to host their newly created video projections. Each of these special projects implicates or acknowledges the preexisting architectures, dynamics, and histories of the sites that surround the edges of their frame.

Varied in both form and content, the works are linked by the artists’ ‘imagining’ of public viewing as a transitory and fleeting moment of encounter. In these outdoor locations, the tactics of immersion, narrative, proximity and control, inherent to moving image presentation within the gallery or theatrical setting, have had to be modified or abandoned. In their place, the artists have developed compositional and editing strategies that generate density, compression, seduction, fluidity or ambience, producing modes of imagistic address that make use of the attention offered within the span of a passing glance. Through this conjuring of curiosity and ultimately commitment, these works invite the public to gather around a sequence of illuminated surfaces, to peel back the layers of facades, and engage in an act of collective imagining.