HOW TO BE A CANADIAN

How To Be A Canadian

Curated by Astria Suparak and Brett Kashmere
For Eyebeam‘s “Panorama Screening Series,” New York, NY
2004. Tour through 2006.

Videos by:
Jeremy Bailey, Daniel Barrow, Dorion Berg, Shary Boyle, Peaches, and Kara Blake, Jubal Brown, Paige Gratland, Brett Kashmere, Jake Kennedy, Jim Munroe, Jon Sasaki, Tom Sherman

And red & white goodies:
Annotated maps of Canada, Canadian-to-American dictionaries, and other red & white goodies for all guests

All Canadian Parliamentary decisions are made under a structure named The Peace Tower. On summer nights the nation’s capital invites citizens and tourists alike to sit on its barricade- free front lawn. A spectacular sound and light show commences, detailing Canadian mythologies and first-person perspectives. Astonishingly, also selected for giant, projected broadcast on the government walls are admissions of Canada’s historical flaws and bureaucratic errors in judgment. The evening ends with a heartfelt promise to make Canada the ultimate socially responsible, peaceful and welcoming country that so many of its residents proudly speak of.

The second largest country in the world, Canada houses a population less than California’s 34 million. The birthplace of You Can’t Do That on Television, Tom Green, and the inspiration for American Pie, Canada has been a chief exporter of adolescent gross-out comedy for two decades. No MTV, Madonna, Mister Roger’s Neighborhood or melting pot, but Much Music, Alanis Morissette, Mr. Dressup’s tickle trunk and government-mandated Multiculturalism.

The videos of Jake Kennedy, Jim Munroe and Jon Sasaki propagate popular images of the well-mannered, sportsmanlike Canadian. But this is only part of the story. The self-inflicted pain and chronic angst of Jubal Brown’s Deathday Suit and the real-life, vengeful ice capades in Brett Kashmere’s When Canadians Attack evidence a hushed violence. The weepy protagonist of Daniel Barrow’s A Miracle and the webcam community in Tom Sherman’s HALF/LIVES delicately construct loneliness in a socially liberal state.

Paige Gratland’s Shoe Squishing Food Project and Sex by Shary Boyle, Peaches and Kara Blake dress up and act out domestic perversions. Jeremy Bailey (Video Paint 1.0, Strongest Man) and Daniel Cockburn (Metronome) portray themselves as underdogs with a feeble narcissism. Dorion Berg (ASCII Alphabet) and Jubal Brown (The 6th Day) condense the culture of image to split-second beats in their scratch video compositions.

Utilizing artistic (re)enactment, telepathetic aesthetics, manual animation, performance and a grab bag of low-end high technologies, these videos question traditional representations of (Canadian) identity and gender.

How To Be A Canadian is the third and northernmost installment of Eyebeam’s NAFTA- inspired Panorama screening series.

Notes:
– Canadian Multiculturalism Act. R.S., 1985, c.24 (4th Supp.): http://www.pch.gc.ca/progs/multi/policy/act_e.cfm
– Statistics Canada: http://www.statcan.ca
– Famous Canadians, Harvard Business School’s Canadian Club: http://sa.hbs.edu/canadian/html/famous.html#athletic
– Want to immigrate to Canada? See if you qualify: Skilled Worker Self- Assessment,  http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/skilled/assess/index.html


PROGRAM

1. When Canadians Attack, Brett Kashmere, 2004, 3:15 min.
2. Colonel Canuck, Jake Kennedy, 2003, 2:25 min.
3. HALF/LIVES, Tom Sherman, 2001, 6:45 min.
4. Deathday Suit, Jubal Brown, 2002, 8:41 min.
5. A Miracle, Daniel Barrow, 2003, 2:37 min.
6. Circle Game, Jon Sasaki, 2002, 5:28 min.
7. ASCII Alphabet, Dorion Berg, 1999, 5:30 min.
8. My Trip to Liberty City, Jim Munroe, 2003, 9:00 min.
9. Strongest Man, Jeremy Bailey, 2003, 4:33 min.
10. The Shoe Squishing Food Project, Paige Gratland, 2003, 4:00 min.
11. Sex, Shary Boyle, Peaches, and Kara Blake, 2001, 3:45 min.
12. Video Paint 1.0, Jeremy Bailey, 2004, 2:56 min.
13. The 6th DayJubal Brown, 2003, 9:30 min.

Total running time: 70 minutes

Other versions of this program include:
10. Metronome, Daniel Cockburn, 2002, 10:40 min.


PRESS REVIEWS:

THE INDEPENDENT FILM CHANNEL (IFC):

Desperate Blue Staters Learn ‘How to Be A Canadian’

Even before John Kerry conceded the election, the word was out: Disenchanted Americans were flooding the Canadian immigration Web site. Elsewhere, young Canadians were pledging to marry an American to save the poor things from their evil empire.

Tapping into the zeitgeist, a couple of film-loving Canucks, Astria Suparak and Brett Kashmere, are curating a series called How to Be a Canadian, with a new event in New York tonight at 8.

The third installment of Eyebeam’s Panorama screening series offers work by experimental and underground film/video makers from the nation Famous for Alanis, Celine, and quick trips to Cuba. Following the screening, Quebecois multimedia sensation Skoltz_Kolgen will perform the live audio-visual show Fluux:/Terminal v.4.
– Andrea Meyer, IFC News, November 2004

PHILADELPHIA CITY PAPER:

Northern Exposures: Citizenship Test (Canadian Div.)

With an impressively short turn-around time, the Philadelphia-based Small Change Film Screening Collective presents “U.S. Without Us: A Primer For Secession” tomorrow night at Vox Populi. Working from the assumption that the overwhelming majority of Philadelphians who didn’t vote for Bush are morbidly depressed right now, Small Change offers an evening of helpful information for would-be Canadians: a dozen or so Canada-themed experimental video shorts (one of which, Sex, numbers Peaches among its collaborators) and a Q&A with American-in-exile (in Canada) Astria Suparak, filmmaker and curator, who last hosted a Small Change event in April. Attendees will also receive miniature American-Canadian dictionaries. Stick around afterwards for It’s the End of the World as We Know It, a rapture-inducing, millennially themed dance party hosted by Miss Meow and DJ Julia Factorial of WPRB and Homos Outta the Hacienda infamy.

All of the above are designed to lure us towards our northern neighbor, where public transit is beyond reproach, iPod muggings are unheard of and the government lavishes funding upon experimental filmmakers.

Like City Paper when we offered a step-by-step post-election guide to obtaining Canadian citizenship, it appears that the Small Change collective is, at most, half-joking. Maybe not even half.
– Joel Tannenbaum, mixpicks, November 18-24, 2004

THE PHILADELPHIA WEEKLY:

U.S. Without Us

The first (as far as I’m aware) official local public mourning session for Kerry’s close-but-not-close-enough loss comes courtesy of the whimsical hosts of Small Change, who’ve designed an evening of film, dancing and pragmatic suggestions for how to assimilate up north. Expat curator Astria Suparak returns with another cavalcade of DIY shorts, all programmed under the banner of “How to Be a Canadian”.

Afterward DJ goddesses Julia Factorial and Miss Meow will spin a barrage of doubtless pointed favorites (R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)” among them, surely), while patrons can help themselves to imported goods to aid northbound travels and take a written test to see if Canucks will take to you. Try not to ask Suparak, who’ll participate in a Q&A, too many questions on how her new homeland’s better than ours.
– Matt Prigge, Arts & Entertainment

THE PHILADELPHIA INDEPENDENT :

A Primer for Secession

Small Change film collective has the answers to all of the semi- rhetorical questions you’ve been asking each other, and you don’t even have to read anything. Tonight’s video screening – “How to be a Canadian” (videos by Canadians about Canada) – will answer it all.

Plus, there will be giveaways: dictionaries, maps, and a Q&A with recent American expatriate turned Canadian resident Astria Suparak. Followed by “IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT!, a dance party with DJ’s Julia Factorial and Miss Meow.

Here’s what co-curators Suparak and Brett Kashmere have to say about it: The second largest country in the world, Canada houses a population less than California’s 34 million. The birthplace of You Can’t Do That on Television, Tom Green, and the inspiration for American Pie, Canada has been a chief exporter of adolescent gross-out comedy for two decades. No MTV, Madonna, Mister Roger’s Neighborhood or melting pot, but Much Music, Alanis Morisette, Mr. Dressup’s tickle trunk and government-mandated Multiculturalism. Utilizing artistic (re)enactment, manual animation, telepathetic aesthetics, performance, and high-end low technologies these videos challenge traditional representations of (Canadian) identity and gender.

Features recent work by Jeremy Bailey, Daniel Barrow and The Hidden Cameras, Dorion Berg, Shary Boyle, Peaches and Kara Blake, Jubal Brown, Daniel Cockburn, Paige Gratland, Brett Kashmere, Jake Kennedy, Jim Munroe, Jon Sasaki, and Tom Sherman.
– November 2004

PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS:

“O, Canada!” by Sara Sherr, Nov. 19, 2004


TOUR DATES

November 16, 2004, 8pm
Panorama Screening Series: 3rd edition
@ Eyebeam new media arts organization, 540 W. 21st Street, New York, NY
Followed by a performance from Montreal A/V duo Skoltz_Kolgen and a reception with Canadian beer.

November 19, 2004, 9pm
THE U.S. WITHOUT US, presented by small change
@ VOX POPULI GALLERY, The Gilbert Building, 1315 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, PA
Followed by DANCE PARTY FOR THE APOCALYPSE with DJ Julia Factorial and Miss Meow.

February 6-27, 2006, Mondays, 9pm
@ Clark’s, 314 Main St., Houston TX
Aurora Picture Show: One part of the three-month Monday Night Series guest curated by Astria Suparak

October 5, 2006, 7pm
WNDX festival of avant-garde & experimental film: Opening Night
@ Winnipeg Cinematheque, 100 Arthur Street (Art Space Building), Winnipeg, MB

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