Étienne de Massy, soyouz choisy, 2014

Mandate, vision, and history

Mandate

Videographe is an artist-run centre dedicated to research and dissemination of experimental forms of moving images. This mission centers around three main lines: the distribution and showing of work and a fair payment of copy rights to the artists; to participate and initiate the dissemination of works and the development of audiences by programming activities which highlight the richness and plurality of this artistic practise; support the establishment of professional knowledge and the development of the media arts community.

Videographe exists to:

– Offer specialised distribution services which support the dissemination of, primarily, Canadian work.
– Put in place programming that deepens the thinking around and about moving images, in collaboration with programmers, curators, festivals, educational institutions and cultural groups.
– Facilitate research and development by offering advice and support to artists as well as access to resources and expertise.
– Offer a place for human gathering and for dissemination of work.

Vision

Videographe is dedicated to the development of forms that stem from experimental video and encompass the many modes of production and dissemination available in today’s expanded field of moving image. We endeavour to promote the recognition and understanding of both contemporary and archival works.

The moving image serves as a witness to contemporary society. That it is omnipresent in public and private spheres and integrated into our day-to-day communication confirms its relevance and currency as a subject for exploration. The transformation of its languages through, among other things, the hybridization of practices, the influence of the internet and social networks, the growing use of mobile devices, and the rise of virtual reality constitute fertile fields of investigation for Videographe. The conceptual, formal, technical, and political questions that are raised are considered in the context of the changing conditions of production and reception of the last fifty years.

In addition to examining the formal and technical developments of the moving image, Vidéographe looks at the political power of the medium. For as long as it has existed, video has been used as a tool for protest, for the assertion of identity, and for the democratization of discourse. Vidéographe places particular focus on this documentary function.

Artists are at the heart of Vidéographe’s mission, and we endeavour to support them through various strategies. Fair remuneration for their work constitutes an essential value that we actively defend. We are equally driven by the belief that our artistic discipline should be enriched through dialogue and multiple points of view. To this end, we strive to promote work by artists, curators and researchers from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds and genres. Vidéographe encourages collaboration and boosts opportunities for partnerships with arts and community organizations. In actively participating in national and international arts networks, we foster exchange in order to develop and promote our discipline.

Videographe defends the accessibility of culture. Diversifying our strategies of dissemination enables us to reach wide audiences from specialists to students and members of the general public and, in so doing, to promote Canadian cultural heritage.

History

Videographe, Canada’s first artist-run centre dedicated to video, was formed in 1971 by a group of filmmakers and producers from the National Film Board (NFB) who wanted to democratise the production and dissemination of audio visual material. In 1973, it was incorporated as a non-profit organization and a dissemination network was subsequently established that became a model for Canadians and Europeans in independent video dissemination.

During the early 1980s, Videographe redefined itself as a production and dissemination centre that was open to the use of video both as a tool for intervention and an artistic medium. The principle of copyright was recognized. During this period, the centre acquired a two-storey building at the heart of Plateau Mont-Royal, a dynamic and densely populated area of Montreal. Renowned artists such as Robert Morin, Pierre Falardeau, Manon laBrecque, Donigan Cumming, Nelson Henricks, Chantal duPont, Charles Guilbert and Sylvie Laliberté gravitated to the organization and saw their works disseminated.

At the end of the 1990s, Videographe created a dissemination division and developed an interactive laboratory for research and creation where residencies, training sessions, and performances could take place. The organization specialized in non-linear video montage and the development of free software for the interactive arts.

In 2011, Vidéographe launches Vithèque, an innovative platform for video streaming. From 2015, the center focuses its activities on dissemination and distribution and puts in place new initiatives to promote research, dissemination and education in its discipline. In order to achieve its new orientations, strategic alliances have been established with Montréal arts and community organizations.