Reservoir | Peter Von Tiesenhausen | January 20 to March 3, 2018


In the spring of 2017, the Saddleridge reservoir in northeast Calgary was drained and dried for scheduled maintenance. The immense subterranean chamber, which is one of many reservoirs that supplies Calgary with filtered water originating from the Bow Glacier, had been sealed for forty years. For four decades its full volume— thirty-eight million litres of water—lay still, in complete darkness below two soccer fields. It is part of a largely invisible, complex infrastructure that variously and usually unfailingly shuttles clean water to, and ushers dirty water from, Calgary’s 1.24 million inhabitants.
The Saddleridge reservoir, emptied, is a colossal and alien space. A slight sound within the massive chamber can reverberate for up to 25 seconds, and certain frequencies compound upon themselves, intensifying in resonance. In late May of 2017, Peter von Tiesenhausen commissioned sound artists Jen Reimer and Magnus Tiesenhausen to record an improvised collaborative work within the reservoir, and cinematographer Dave McGregor to capture the visual space. The resulting fleeting images and sounds comprise Reservoir.
Upon completion of the maintenance, the Saddleridge reservoir was resealed and filled, returning to silence for the next anticipated forty years.
Reservoir is presented in collaboration with and was commissioned by The City of Calgary as part of the Watershed+ Dynamic Environment Lab.


Exhibition Essay: Chapter I: A monument to tears

It is such a secret place, the land of tears.
 – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Here too we find a virtue somehow rewarded,
Tears in the nature of things, hearts touched by human transience
- Virgil
 Monument (mänyəmən), noun
A lasting evidence, reminder, or example of someone
or something notable or great

She only cried once, but her tears birthed a river. And they stained her face for the rest of time, or at least as long as the particulate matter of a stone stays molecularly bound together. Her river was a tributary to a larger one, and that one: a benefactor to the salty ocean.
She didn’t have a name. Well, at one point she did, but as part and parcel of her sacred obligations, she was required to relinquish it. Thereafter, she was known only as the Oracle. Or sometimes the Sybil, or other times still: the Pythia. Nomenclature in the hands of patriarchy is a science of oppression; those names were only indicative of a category, a box for many—an occupation or a blessing or a curse, depending on how you look at it—and not a particular human with a unique permutation of 20,000 or so combinations of cytosine, guanine, adenine, and thymine, a singular arrangement of seven billion billion billion atoms. There were 100 trillion neural synapses in her brain, greater than the number of galaxies in the universe. Her mind was a cosmos. But she didn’t have a name.
Every day before sunrise, she was awoken by a Keeper, bathed—in the purest of water, of course—and then led down. Down, down, down, down. Into her subterranean throne room: Queen of the foul gases that leaked through the cracks of her cavernous, cold castle, gases that swirled around her face, then her respiratory system. They coursed through her blood—O Negative, O, sweet priestess—creating unusual and novel new highways in her neural circuitry. She had visions. She was the Oracle of Delphi.

She was a canary in a coal mine, or rather, its antithesis. Canaries cease their song in the presence of carbon monoxide (CO) or methane (CH4) or an excess of ethylene (C2H4). When the music ends: time to leave. These alkanes are deadly. But, in that sweet spot of just enough but not too much, they compelled her songs, her sad prophesies. The gaseous plumes? Inhabiting her mind, as a god might. Eddies and she their epicenter.
She had the voice of a ghost, not an angel, emanating from the cave of her chest, out into the cave of her workplace, where it bounced off the wet, cold, stone walls, returning to the caves of her ears as something other than what left her mouth. When she was alone, when she was lost in the damp darkness—the kind that settles into your bones and sinews and becomes part of your anatomy—her voice was her only companion. Although her sounds would run away from her, in the cave, they always returned, wiser, with all manner of textures accrued throughout their journey. She would stop her singing for a time, and wait for her reverberations to come home, back to her. She was never really alone.
Then: another voice, a reverberation from the dark. Sounds mingling with hers. A call back, a response. From who? She would never see. She could only hear their nuclear fusion: a synthesis of the immaterial vibrations into something more dense. A magic. A harmony.
They sang perennially, preternaturally: time ceased to exist. Then a clamor, a crash, which summoned their fleshy bodies back to the cave. But they had one last perfect consonance. With it: her tears.
A smell can conjure a memory, but a sound can excavate something buried deeper in the neural fabric of the brain. Something that arouses every hair follicle, commands trembles down the notches of a spine. Sound is an archeology of feeling.
She only cried once, but she never stopped. Her tears birthed a river, a tributary to a larger one, and that one: a benefactor to the salty ocean. She relinquished every ounce of water, and turned to stone. A reprieve from her nameless fate. Now: she’ll be known forever.
We drink from her reservoir. She sustains us all. A monument to tears.

By Natasha Chaykowski

Natasha Chaykowski is a researcher, writer, and curator, based in Wichispa Oyade (Calgary, Alberta) on Treaty 7 Territory. Currently, she is the Director of Untitled Art Society. 

Jen Reimer

Jen Reimer is a sound artist and musician based in Montréal. Her work explores the resonances of urban environments through in-situ performances, installations and spatial recordings. Since 2009, her projects with media artist Max Stein have been presented in residencies and festivals across North America and Europe. tunnel is a collaborative singing practice she shares with Alberta-based interdisciplinary artist Magnus Tiesenhausen.

Magnus Tiesenhausen

Magnus Tiesenhausen is an interdisciplinary artist based in southern Alberta. Tiesenhausen’s work operates within productive disagreements between magic and materiality; structure and indeterminacy; and reverence and punk energy. tunnel is a collaborative singing practice he shares with Montréal-based sound artist Jen Reimer.

Peter von Tiesenhausen

Peter von Tiesenhausen is a multi-media Canadian artist whose work has lead him through journeys both real and imagined.  Based in the Alberta Peace country, Demmitt specifically, he has exhibited across Canada, in Europe and the United States in public galleries and throughout the landscape.  His practice has grown from landscape painting to installation, sculpture, performance and from simple media to complex combinations of media and multifaceted collaborations.  He claims copyright on his land as an artwork. His work often deals with the ideas of time, life, voyage, death, spirit, nature and humanity.  There is a strong pursuit of sustainability often evident in the work and an attempt to understand time and substance from a variety of perspectives.

Still Life: An Animated Trilogy | Elisabeth Belliveau | June 2 to July 15, 2017


Elisabeth Belliveau’s interdisciplinary practice braids art history and everyday life, employing intuition, curiosity, and material exploration. Her recent work addresses still-life and the digital erratic, primarily through stop-motion animation and sculpture. The Latin origin of the word Animation is ‘animare’: to instill with life. Animation creates the illusion of motion by sequencing still images wherein objects and images perform and transform in constructed time and space.
Still Life: An Animated Trilogy presents three animations addressing themes of still-life and vanitas, LimonadeLily and Troisième. Together, they explore the intersections of sculpture and the moving image in dialogue with digital tools, employing high and low materials and technologies. Manipulating materials before the camera, she transforms and composes relationships that expand their metaphoric and ineffable potential. Each animation begins with a quote from the Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector, unfolding as a meditation on composition and movement.

Elisabeth Belliveau

Elisabeth Belliveau is a Montréal based interdisciplinary artist and published author of four graphic novels. Her work has been screened and exhibited internationally. She has attended residencies both in Canada and internationally, including the Banff Centre for the Arts, Women’s Studio Workshop NY, and the National Film Board of Canada, among others. Belliveau holds a BFA from the Alberta College of Art + Design and an MFA from Concordia University Montréal. She was the 2015 recipient of the Federation Wallonie Bruxelles and Conseil des Arts et des Lettres Quebec studio residency in Belgium. In 2017 she was awarded the CALQ studio residency at Tokyo Wondersite Japan. Her work has been generously supported by grants and scholarships including the Brucebo Fine Art Scholarship Foundation of Gotland Sweden. 

TimeTraveller™ | Skawennati | March 24 to May 13, 2017


Artist Statement // 

It is critical that Aboriginal people show up in The Future. Historical images of Indians are everywhere, yet Aboriginal people rarely appear in our future imaginaries. Our lack of presence in the depictions of things to come concerns me. As a Mohawk woman, I believe that we need to visualize ourselves as full participants in the future in order to assume our appropriate role as active agents in the shaping of new mediums and new societies.
At the moment, nothing can represent The Future better than a real-time, interactive, 3D space where fantastical people populate improbable architecture and fly, teleport, and telepathically communicate their thoughts and dreams. Second Life, the popular virtual world, is such a space. How do Indigenous people fit into such spaces? And, more importantly, what is our role in defining those spaces? TimeTraveller™ is a creative and critical intervention into such discussions.
TimeTraveller™ is a 9-part machinima that tells the story of Hunter, an angry young Mohawk man living in the 22nd century. Despite his impressive range of traditional skills, Hunter is unable to find his way in an overcrowded, hyperconsumerist, technologized world. He decides to use his edutainment system, his TimeTraveller™, to learn about his heritage. Through a bizarre glitch in the system, he meets Karahkwenhawi, a young Mohawk woman from our present. Together they criss-cross time, and end up discovering the complexity of history, truth, and love.



Skawennati makes art that addresses history, the future, and change.  Her pioneering new media projects include the online gallery/chat-space and mixed-reality event, CyberPowWow (1997-2004); a paper doll/time-travel journal, Imagining Indians in the 25th Century (2001); and TimeTraveller™ (2008-2013), a multi-platform project featuring nine machinima episodes.  These have been widely presented across North America in major exhibitions such as “Now? Now!” at the Biennale of the Americas; and “Looking Forward (L’Avenir)” at the Montreal Biennale. She has been honored to win imagineNative’s 2009 Best New Media Award as well as a 2011 Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship. Her work is included in both public and private collections.
Born in Kahnawake Mohawk Territory, Skawennati holds a BFA from Concordia University in Montreal, where she is based. She is Co-Director, with Jason E. Lewis, of Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace (AbTeC), a research network of artists, academics, and technologists investigating, creating, and critiquing Indigenous virtual environments. She also co-directs their Skins workshops in Aboriginal Storytelling and Digital Media. In 2015, AbTeC launched IIF, the Initiative for Indigenous Futures; Skawennati is its Partnership Coordinator

Strange Loop | Kyle Whitehead | January 13 to March 4, 2017


A strange loop is a logical inconsistency that manifests when, by moving upwards or downwards through a hierarchical system, like the linear sequence of images imprinted onto a length of film, one finds oneself back where one started. Like an M.C. Escher drawing, Strange Loop is a self-referential paradox. Composed of a single length of un-split 8mm film spliced end-to-end with a half-twist to form a Möbius loop (a non-orientable geometric object with one single and continuous surface and boundary) this generative expanded cinema installation is the physical realization of its namesake.
An 8mm film projected as a 16mm strip, Strange Loop presents four images on-screen simultaneously. With each pass of the loop through the projector, the images re-orient themselves horizontally with one vertical-half of the images moving forward and the other vertical-half moving in reverse.
The sonic element of Strange Loop is a mirror of the visual. A contact and induction-coil microphone pair routed through the projectors built-in speaker via a passive ring-modulator creates a closed feedback loop that generates a drone in the form of a dyadic tone pair. In music theory dyadic tones are sets of two notes or pitches, and perhaps not so coincidentally, when represented geometrically dyads also form a Möbius loop.
Taken together, these peculiar formal and material qualities present a logical incongruity; this loop, as a form, has no clear beginning, middle, or end, and follows an identical trajectory regardless of the direction the film travels through the projector.

Kyle Whitehead

Kyle Whitehead is an artist and filmmaker working primarily with small-format cinema, experimental sound and electronics. He prefers a careful and considered approach to image making; which should not be confused with best practices, as his work is more about embracing the potential of an indeterminate process. What he wants is the definitive by chance - leveraging trailing-edge technologies often with unusual or startling effect. His films, performance work, and installations have been shown nationally and internationally with recent exhibitions at Antimatter Festival (Victoria, BC), The 8 Fest (Toronto, ON), Paved Arts (Saskatoon, SK), Smiths Row Gallery (Bury St. Edmunds, UK) and in solo exhibitions at Galerie Sans Nom (Moncton, NB), Eastern Edge (St. Johns, NL), and Latitude 53 (Edmonton, AB). Kyle is a graduate of the Alberta College of Art + Design and currently resides in Calgary where he spends most of his time in the dark. 

Searching for Bruce Willis | Julie Tremble | September 16 to November 26, 2016

Nourished by cinema, literature, and philosophy, Julie Tremble’s practice considers the role that narrative plays in our experience of the world. Through the media of video and digital animation, Tremble constructs experimental fiction and contemplative animation loops that explore how emotion, nature, mental state, and social interaction are interpreted and understood through processes of narrative construction
In recent years, Tremble has focused on natural phenomena, and in particular, the explosion, exploring how it might act as a pivotal point of transformation and a great concentration of potentialities. As a continuous movement, unstable form, and element of radical change, Tremble has utilized the explosion as a means to examine different forms of narrative. Through research centered on meteorites, black holes, and stellar explosions, she developed a body of work that addresses the field of astronomical representation and how the imagery and vocabulary of natural science and the mental attitudes and social values that are reflected in these sites of research are disseminated. Her research on natural disasters considers the roles they play in collective imagery as illustrated by their representation in oral tradition, cinema, and documentary films.

Julie Tremble

Julie Tremble currently resides in Montreal PQ, and holds a Master’s degree in film studies from the Université de Montréal with an undergraduate in cinema and philosophy. Tremble’s work has been exhibited at galleries and festivals nationally and internationally. In 2013 Tremble was the recipient of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ) award for best work in art and experimentation presented as part of the 31e Rendez-vous du cinéma Québécois. She is represented by Joyce Yahouda Gallery and her videos are distributed by Groupe Intervention Video (GIV).