RENEW 2013

The 5th International Conference on the Histories of Media Art, Science and Technology

Riga / October 8 – 11, 2013

"Archaelogy" Participants


The vidéothéâtre of Montréal’s Vidéographe: The forgotten screening room

Session:Media Archeology

Panel:Panel B


Venue:Stockholm School of Economics in Riga

The vidéothéâtre of Montréal’s Vidéographe: The forgotten screening room This paper looks at the vidéothéâtre, the public video viewing room designed for Le vidéographe in 1971. Le vidéographe was conceived as a democratic apparatus of rapid production, dissemination and discussion of independent videos in Montréal. The storefront space of Le vidéographe housed the equipment depot, offices and editing rooms as well as an innovative screening room known as the vidéothéâtre. This made use of a unique circular layout that placed the viewers facing each other seated around a central cluster of outward facing video monitors. The vidéothèatre model becomes particularly interesting when we look at the rapid development of video installation practices in the 1980s and 1990s and the later incorporation of the cinematic experience into the museums and exhibition spaces of contemporary art in the first decades of the 21st century. It is also an interesting model to re-look at after the recent proliferation of participatory art practices. This paper follows one that I gave at the Pionniers- innovation-création-média conference in Montréal in May 2012. In that paper, I considered the unique form of the vidéothéâtre as a democratic architecture that inverted the panoptic tendencies of panoramic cinema. This paper I propose for the RENEW conference will focus on the vidéothéatre’s disappearance from media art history despite the resonance of the project today; the vidéothéâtre was ultimately a temporary arrangement, its unfulfilled potential as well as the legacy of Le vidéographe are enduring and demanding of reconsideration.

Born in Rudgwick, England. Lives and works in Montréal, Canada. Citizen of Great Britain and of Canada.

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