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Art Film & Video

Moments of Perception

Experimental Film in Canada

edited by Jim Shedden & Barbara Sternberg

text by Michael Zryd & Stephen Broomer

Goose Lane Editions
Initial publish date
Nov 2021
Film & Video, Canadian, Contemporary (1945-)
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2021
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Nov 2021
    List Price

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Film is the art form of our times. It has formed the background of our lives, informed visual arts practices, and formed our culture’s stories, its memory.

Moments of Perception is a landmark book. The first history of twentieth and early-twenty-first-century Canadian experimental filmmaking, it maps avant-garde film across the country from the 1950s to the present day, including its contradictions and complexities.

Experimental film is political in its very existence, critical of the status quo by definition. In Canada, some of the country’s best-known artists took up the moving image as a form of artistic expression, allowing them to explore explicitly political themes. Mike Hoolboom’s exposure of the horror of AIDS, Josephine Massarella’s concern for the environment, and Joyce Wieland’s satiric look at US patriotism are just a few examples of work that contributed to social movements and provided a means to explore issues of race and gender and 2SLGBTQ+ and Indigenous identities.

Featuring a major essay on the history of the movement by Michael Zryd and profiles of key filmmakers by Stephen Broomer and editors Jim Shedden and Barbara Sternberg, Moments of Perception offers a fresh perspective on the ever-evolving history of Canada’s experimental film and moving image media arts.

About the authors

Jim Shedden is the Manager of Publishing at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). In that capacity, Shedden has produced books on Jack Chambers, IAIN BAXTER&, Josef Sudek, Giuseppe Penone, Sorel Etrog, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, David Blackwood, Iris Häussler, and Inuit Art. Shedden has also worked at the AGO as a curator of film, video, and performance, and as an educator in the contemporary art department.

Jim Shedden's profile page

Barbara Sternberg has been making films since the mid 1970s. Her films have been screened around the world and her work is in the collection of the AGO and the NGC. Both Sternberg and Shedden have been involved in the artist-run experimental film scene in Toronto since the mid 1980s, programming and coordinating screenings, festivals, and congresses, and curating exhibitions and writing on film.

Barbara Sternberg's profile page

Michael Zryd is Associate Professor of Cinema & Media Arts at York University. He has published widely on experimental film, including articles on Hollis Frampton, Joyce Wieland, and Canadian film studies.

Michael Zryd's profile page

Stephen Broomer is a filmmaker and film historian. He teaches at the Cinema Studies Institute at the University of Toronto and is the host of the video essay series Art & Trash, on cult and underground cinema. He has been a Fulbright visiting scholar at the University of California Santa Cruz and the Prelinger Library, and is a past recipient of the Chalmers Art Fellowship. As a filmmaker, he has been the subject of retrospectives at the Canadian Film Institute and Anthology Film Archives.

Stephen Broomer's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“No one teaching a course on this cinema would fail to find it an indispensable source for syllabus building.”

<i>Canadian Journal of Film Studies</i>

Moments of Perception is the ideal guide for the curious and adventurous spectator.”

<i>Winnipeg Free Press</i>

Moments of Perception works as history, analysis and homage to those creators past and present who have tried to utilize tools beyond Grierson’s hammer and mirror: the camera as a painter’s canvas, a magic wand or a kaleidoscope.”

<i>The Star</i>

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