Sunday, April 8, 2-3:30 pm
Stephen Foster Artist in Residence Presentation
Current Artist in Residence Stephen Foster will present a selection of his video works and will entertain a Q & A after the screenings.
OffCentre. Stephen Foster. 1995
Running Time 15:00
Originally a two monitor video installation performed at Banff Centre inside a large teepee this tape interprets the original images as a single channel two panel videotape. The background image is of a dancer from the E.S. Curtis film “In The Land of The Head Hunters.” which continually multiplies and degenerates into raw video scanlines. The foreground image of myself running up stairs also multiplies itself in continual overlays. The images are consciously manipulated to draw attention to the level of mediation that occurs in the video medium. This mediation can be seen as a metaphor for the manipulation of ethnography and mass media to transform the image of indianess into desired stereotypes of romantic savage or drunken Indian.
Villains/Heroes. Stephen Foster, 1994
Running Time 7:00
Originally a video installation this is a single channel version. The tape mixes on air footage from the Oka conflict and the artist's own footage from Montreal and Quebec City.
The subject of the tape is the construction of history — official and unofficial. Different ideals of heroism are revealed through the layering of video images, textures and rhythmic editing. The work de-constructs the dialogue of 'good guy/bad guy' played out in the media and substantiated in official culture through historical monuments marking political power. The question is who gets to play the hero and who gets to play the villain — are we too close to playing a Hollywood version of 'cowboys and indians'?
Stephen Foster 2001.
Running Time 6:00. Stereo.
The title is meant to refer to the two films by Joyce Weiland ( and ). The deep ramifications of the imagery of those two films are what inspired the creation of this video. The work takes as its starting point the military appropriation of the names of First Nations for the Canadian Navy’s WWII Tribal Class warships. This has a disturbing irony in that the Canadian government has historically attempted to repress aboriginal cultures but obviously finds inspirational value in their names. The use of names was part of a deliberate strategy to establish a national identity for Canada by using ‘uniquely’ Canadian names for their ships. Beyond the specifics of the issue, the piece is a meditation on the experience of Nationalism and its current conflicts with First Nations. Digital video is manipulated to expose issues of technology in its role as a tool for representation bringing into question its authority by referencing film and analog video as texturing elements. These elements act as disruptive counterpoints to the visual and sonic rhythm of the piece.
Curios and Other Trinkets. Stephen Foster 2000.
Running Time 9:33. Stereo.|
is a three-monitor installation with wall prints that explores the roles of protagonist and antagonist in the power relationships between Colonial Government and First Nations People. Through this video and installation, various issues of 'Officially Constructed History' are deconstructed in relation to personal identity. Conflict is represented in a symbolic and abstract fashion and juxtaposed against images from news footage of the Oka conflict. Issues of representation (images of Indianness) are examined as contributing factors in the oppression of Native peoples as images/stereotypes are used to rationalize the dispossession of land and artifact from First Nation's People.
Playing Indian: Burn Static and Squelch. Stephen Foster 2004
A series of short video’s for installation or single channel presentation.
Burn. Running time: 3:00mins.
Static. Running time: 3:00mins.
Squelch. Running Time: 3:00mins.
The three videos are meditations on the use of indigenous iconography in pop culture and the possible divergent meanings and repercussions this might have for aboriginal peoples and society at large. Starting with a basic dichotomy implied in the one word titles images are arranged to highlight inter-textual links between meanings and the social metaphors found in the titles. The words themselves have conflicting meanings as they are used in different contexts. All the words have specific technological usages but also have overt connotations to oppressive social actions when perpetrated against marginalized members of society. The work is non-narrative and image based; it is edited for rhythm and emotive effect. Mediating technology is referenced widely through the texturing of the image with the overt use of digital effects. This is meant to draw reference to various forms of mass media and its role in altering our perception of events.
Pristine Distortion. 2003
Co-Directors: Stephen Foster and Guenter Schulz
Music: Guenter Schulz
Running time: 7mins. is an experimental single channel video that is a meditation on mass media. The central concept is that nature through the metaphoric use of the landscape image is a separate reality beyond that of contemporary human experience. Through out the video are inferences to landscape and images of nature but they are always seen through the abstracted reflections in buildings and automobiles. The landscape is almost always contained within the grid of an architectural structure. The images are treated with extreme color correction that has a tendency to make the video image flat and very graphic in effect. The editing style uses simultaneous multi-panel video images to create abstracted and symbolic compositions. Through out the video there is a text narrative in German but it is not there to explain the images or give context to the video. Instead, the text has been reduced to another graphic element within the video. This relationship is ironic following its own path the text may or may not create interesting juxtapositions with other video elements. Narrative it implies is based loosely on a conversation between two women at a market. One woman is talking about her son being involved in the Gulf War, which echoes part of the audio track — also drawing references to mass media coverage of the war. This is not a work necessarily about the Gulf War but it was made at the time of the war. We wanted to capture some of that irony between the reality of the war as it related to people in North America and Europe and how mass media manufactured the image of the war. The resulting video is broad in scope and aesthetic approach but has a succinct and strong formal quality.
Stephen Foster is a video and electronic media artist of mixed Haida and European background. His work tends to deal with issues of indigenous representation in popular culture through personalized narratives. He has exhibited both internationally and throughout Canada.
Stephen is currently a Professor in the Creative Studies Dept. at the University of British Columbia — Okanagan where he instructs courses dedicated to video production and digital media.