Fine Arts at the Fringe Fest

It’s time again for Victoria’s annual Fringe Festival—the 29th annual Fringe Fest, actually, making it the second-oldest Canadian Fringe (next to the mighty Edmonton Fringe). With over 50 shows from across Canada, around the world and all over Victoria, Fringers are primed for 11 days of indie theatre from August 27 to September 6. Remember, the Fringe only comes once a year, so take in as much as you can! Grab a program, get a button and start seeing whatever strikes your fancy.

fringeAs always, Fine Arts is well represented in this year’s Fringe, with a plethora of Phoenix Theatre alumni & students on deck—but there are also a number of Department of Writing alumni active this year too. In no particular order, here’s a quick guide to who’s doing what and when. Just click on the show title and a link will take you to their Fringe page to find out more. Note: any names listed are Fine Arts students or alumni.)

The Dangers of Daphne – Downtown Activity Centre (Venue 2) • Written by Robbie Huebner (Writing MFA), Directed by Melissa Taylor. Projection Design by Max Johnson. Featuring Sarah Cashin, Ian Simms, and Kevin Eade.

The damsel: kidnapped, hogtied, blindfolded, helpless — the old Hollywood standard. Daphne, an aspiring silent film actress, plays the part every day. Sure, she’s getting famous, but what good is fame when you’re always the victim? Nobody loves a woman roped to railroad tracks. If only Daphne could flip the script… A tale of music, celluloid and bigscreen hubris.

Keara Barnes

Keara Barnes

Almost a StepmomWood Hall (Venue 4) • Created by Keara Barnes

A true story:Keara moved to Ireland. She fell in love. Then she became a stepmom…almost. A darkly comic tale about the ups and downs of becoming a stepmother. Multiple characters and a murder attempt round off this tumultuous and touching solo show.

Rumpelstiltskin . . . and Other Tales – Metro Studio Theatre (Venue 3) • Created by & featuring Jeff Leard

Classic children’s stories re-imagined by Fringe Festival favourite Jeff Leard—son of Story Theatre founder & fellow Phoenix alumnus Jim Leard. An exciting solo show of family favourites created for kids, their families and everyone else, too.  “…a young Robin Williams” – LONDON FREE PRESS. “Do yourself a favour and let Jeff Leard spin you his story…” – BEAT MAGAZINE.

Jeff Leard

Jeff Leard

Sperm WarsVictoria Event Centre (Venue 1) • The other Fringe show created by & featuring Jeff Leard!

Sperm Wars takes place in a brutal, futuristic, utterly absurd universe. As sperm and eggs collide in the battle for Uteran supremacy tales emerge of love, loss, betrayal, spaceships, sword fights, life, and death before birth. The result is gametocidal tragedy, sci-fi hilarity, and one surviving oddly placed robot. “5 stars: an epic masterpiece” – Edmonton Journal

The Workingclass CafeFairfield Hall (Venue 7) • Produced by Emma Hughes and Tristan Bacon. Featuring Nicholas Yee, Alexa Carriere, Logan Mitev, Sean Brossard.

The Workingclass Café is a last-minute Fringe show featuring a different performance lineup every night, providing the opportunity to showcase many different artists and their amazing performance talents. Join this celebrate live theatre, local artists and the last minute chances that are always hoped for!

Sam Mullins

Sam Mullins

The Untitled Sam Mullins Project – VCM Wood Hall (Venue 4)  • Created by & featuring Sam S. Mullins

Canadian Comedy Award-winner Sam Mullins (This American Life, The Moth, CBC’s The Irrelevant Show) tells the four stories of his four “truths”. “****1/2 God he’s good. Sam Mullins is a master storyteller.” –WINNIPEG FREE PRESS. “****1/2 Equal parts excruciating and hilarious. Mullins knocks it out of the park.” – EDMONTON JOURNAL

The Problem with Facebook – Downtown Activity Centre (Venue 2) • Created by & featuring Ian Simms

Five teenagers struggle to make the best of the awkwardest time of their life. But thanks to the magic of the internet, they are put in touch with an Iranian rebel with some sage, although offbeat, advice. A show about honesty, the subtext that flows through every social media message, and our perspective through the lens of technology.

4web3webLt.-Nun-Fringe-Image-copy-3Lieutenant Nun – Macaulay Point Park (Venue A) • Directed by Mercedes Bátiz-Benét (Writing) & Kathleen Greenfield. Musical Coaching by Sarah Jane Pelzer. Mask Design by Ingrid Hansen, Bátiz-Benét & Greenfield. Puppet Design by Hansen. Mask & Puppet Construction by Hansen & Andrew Barrett. Stage Management by Delaney Tesch. Featuring Keshia Palm.

The creators of Little Orange Man team up with the makers of El Jinete (Summerworks 2014) to re-imagine this 2004 Theatre SKAM smash hit! In the 17th Century, Catalina escapes the convent and sails to the New World dressed as a conquistador. After years of being male, Catalina’s secret sex is revealed. A true story about gender, identity, war and conquest.

The Daughter of Turpentine – Langham Court Theatre (Venue 6)
Written by Leah Callen (Writing MFA). Directed by Chase Hiebert. Featuring Graham Roebuck, Lindsay Curl, Renee Killough, Pascal Lamothe-Kipness, and Brett Hay.

Meet Pin: a fed up, sexually-frustrated tree nymph who just turned sixteen. Burning to get away from her painted sisters and her guardian Gabriel, she falls for turpentine and a passing arsonist. But will she ever break free from Gabriel’s spell? A flammable fairytale for adults. Originally presented as a Phoenix SATCo production.

3webtwo-copyTwo Metro Studio Theatre (Fringe Venue 3) • Created by Kat Taddei. Directed by Colette Habel. Lighting/set design by Sean Brossard. Sound design by Colette Habel. Featuring Brett Hay, Nicholas Yee, Levi Schneider, Jack Hayes, Sam Lynch.

Ever wondered if out there, in a faraway universe, lives another you? This haunting new work presents two dramatically different versions of one life. Set in parallel worlds, both manipulated by a chorus of mysterious figures, Two blends the unsettling surreal with the familiar hyper-real.

Two St Andrew’s Gymnasium (Venue 5) • Created by Cameron Fraser

The second show in this Fringe so titled, this Two is an unbridled multidisciplinary show centered around a young couple’s evolution from a budding romance through to an established relationship. Combining physical comedy, acrobatics, dance and object manipulation, Two offers a lighter side to the ups and downs of love, lust and peanut butter sandwiches.

3webcasino-royale-copyIan Fleming’s Casino Royale – St Andrew’s Gymnasium (Venue 5) • Directed by Ian Case. Featuring Ellen Law.

Witness the world stage premiere of the first of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels. Agent 007 declares war on Le Chiffre, French Communist & paymaster of the Soviet murder organization: SMERSH. For incredible suspense, unexpected thrills, and extraordinary danger, nothing can beat James Bond in this, his inaugural adventure.

Band GeeksSt. Michaels University School (Venue 9) • Directed by Cam Culham

Faced with dwindling attendance and funds, a highschool’s beloved marching band is desperate. When a troubled athlete is relegated to their ranks, Elliott, the band captain and Laura, his best friend, must find a way to unite the band, embrace their inner geek, and save the day.

3webthewyrdsisters-copyThe Wyrd SistersMetro Studio Theatre (Venue 3) • Created/Directed by Alannah Bloch. Featuring Colette Habel, Nicola Whitney-Griffiths, Victoria Simpson, Nicolas Yee, Jack Hayes, and Levi Schneider. Costume design by Michelle Bowes. Original sound composition by Carl Keys. Choreographed by Nicola Whitney-Griffiths.

Benevolence and malevolence. Evanescence of smoke whispering across a moor. The glint of a dagger behind a curtain. The Wyrd Sisters is a collective movement theatre piece interpreting the magic of Shakespeare through dance and original sound composition. “Something wicked this way comes…” the Wyrd Sisters are waiting for you.

Fallout – Roxy Theatre (Venue 8) • Written by Shane Campbell (Writing). Featuring Markus Spodzieja, Jenson Kerr.

At the end of the world, two men are trapped in their basement struggling to pull together a forgotten past. Al, who is suffering from amnesia, is stuck with Nate, his roommate. In this dark comedy the two have to come to terms with how to survive the future they find themselves in.

Andrew Wade

Andrew Wade

The Most Honest Man in the World – Wood Hall (Venue 4) • Created by & featuring Andrew Wade

A life-long love story about the pursuit of honesty over all happiness. Andrew Wade builds a working lie detector and straps himself in. Using stories, music, apps, and tap shoes, Wade looks at old relationships and insecurities as he tries to learn how to honestly let go. “A brave experiment in both theatre and life. 4 stars! – Saskatoon StarPhoenix

The Best Meal You Ever Ate Congregation Emanu-El (Venue B) • Featuring Michael Armstrong (Writing MFA)

Avram and his wife are the last two Jews left alive in the ghetto fighting the Nazis and they are starving. To their astonishment a chef, Jean-Paul, brings a wonderful meal complete with wines. He applauds their courage and has persuaded the German commander to allow them one final, sublime meal before they are destroyed. But is it kosher…?

Get connected with the Integrate Arts Festival

Looking for one final visual arts hurrah before the semester begins? Don’t miss the ninth annual Integrate Arts Festival, running August 28-30 in more than 20 venues around Victoria. Once again, Integrate features students, alumni & instructors of the Department of Visual Arts; among this year’s 20 featured artists are Andrea Soos, Doug Jarvis, Rose Lemonade, Pete Kohut, Yoko Takashima and Ruby Arnold.

integrateFormerly known as “Off the Grid Arts Festival,” Integrate was developed in 2007 and included an en masse art crawl to celebrate the city’s small galleries, artist-run centres and alternative arts venues. Since then, the festival has grown enormously and was re-branded in 2012 as the Integrate Arts Festival—yet it’s focused on providing a unique opportunity to circulate and experience an integrated landscape of the arts in Victoria.

Best of all, everything is free! All participating galleries, parties, events and performances are free during the festival crawl, although some public galleries will revert to admission fees or “by donation” on the festival’s second day.

Don't miss Doug Jarvis in action at Integrate

Don’t miss Doug Jarvis in action at Integrate

All you have to do is pick up or download Integrate’s interactive map, which will guide you  to a variety of exhibitions and events at participating galleries, publicly accessible studios, and various sites throughout the city. There’s even a hop on/hop off bus for Saturday evening’s art crawl so  participants can easily circulate among the venues—don’t miss Visual Arts instructor Doug Jarvis’ ongoing performance in Limbic Media’s parking lot (#2-740 Discovery) from 6-9pm Saturday night—as well as a family-friendly bike tour for participants on Sunday afternoon.

UVic’s own Legacy Art Gallery is once again among the venues, this year offering an interactive printmaking activity during the art crawl, from 6 to 9pm Saturday at 630 Yates. Based on their current exhibition, unlimited edition, which attempts to construct an art historical framework examining how prints by Aboriginal and Inuit artists represented. Featuring work from the Kamloops Art Gallery, Carleton University Art Gallery and UVic’s Legacy, unlimited edition represent a drive to preserve, portray and popularize oral histories and address social inequities in the medium of printmaking.

Bridge Over Troubled Water (Thomas), 2015, Video stillI

Bridge Over Troubled Water (Thomas), 2015, Video stillI

Also on view at Saturday night’s art crawl is Bridge Over Troubled Water, an interactive video & sound installation by Visual Arts instructor and local media artist Yoko Takashima and alumni Ruby Arnold. Check it out from 6 to 9pmat MediaNet’s Flux Media Art Gallery, #110 -2750 Quadra.

Special events this year include the Opening Reception from 7-10pm Friday, August 28 in the the Bay Centre downtown, the Art Crawl itself and the After Party, running from 9:30pm-2am at the Copper Owl (1900 Douglas), which will feature a great range of musical acts and projections, plus performance art by Integrate alum Anna Shkuratoff and Sean Rea. Get all the details here.

Joseph Salem joins School of Music

The School of Music is pleased to announce the appointment of its latest faculty member, Dr. Joseph Salem.

Joseph Salem

Joseph Salem

Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Salem studied piano at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and holds a BM in Piano from the University of Texas at Austin and an MA in Music Theory from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As a lover of new and old traditions, Joe pursues topics at the boundaries of the musicological discourse: musical/intellectual history, analytical studies of post-Wagnerian music and writings, semiotics, music aesthetics, and hermeneutic trends in the arts.

“Dr. Salem comes to us from Yale University, where he completed a doctoral degree with a dissertation on Pierre Boulez,” says Susan Lewis, Director of the School of Music. “A scholar with expertise in music after 1950, he brings a strong analytical focus to his approach to music. He is a passionate teacher who will ignite the classroom and instill a love for music our students.”

French composer, conductor, writer & pianist Pierre Boulez

French composer, conductor, writer & pianist Pierre Boulez

Salem’s dissertation examines the development of Boulez’s serial techniques between 1948 and 1962, through a close examination of the composer’s manuscripts housed at the Paul Sacher Stiftung. “Recent scholarship on Pierre Boulez has emphasized the rigorous, thoroughly serial nature of the composer’s music during the 1950s and the corresponding shift toward more transparent compositional techniques in later works due to Boulez’s increasing interest in musical perception,” writes Salem in this abstract.

“My paper nuances this perspective by arguing that practical compositional concerns (commissions, deadlines, and the like) led Boulez to reuse compositional material in ways that contradicted his early serial aesthetics while also expanding the expressive range of his compositional style—all well before his post-1970s writings and compositions . . . . Changes to this essential compositional process reveal Boulez’s shifting priorities as a serial composer well before the publication of Boulez on Music Today, such as his changing conception of structural coherence and musical organicism.”

Salem’s previous studies have focused on the manuscripts of Francesco Cavalli and WA Mozart, among others. He will be filling the Assistant Professor position vacated by Jonathan Goldman, who has now moved over to the Université de Montréal.

Joe is also a cat lover and describes himself as being “silly for culinary delights”—so we’re sure he’ll enjoy discovering Victoria’s epicurean treats.

Two new professors in Visual Arts

The Department of Visual Arts is proud to announce the appointment of two new members to their acclaimed teaching faculty. Joining Visual Arts from the University of Manitoba is sculptor and photographer Cedric Bomford, and stepping up from her longtime position as a sessional instructor is sculptor Megan Dickie.

Cedric Bomford joins the Visual Arts faculty

Cedric Bomford joins the Visual Arts faculty

Cedric Bomford is leaving an Assistant Professorship at the University of Manitoba, a position that he has held since 2012, to join us at UVic to teach photography,” notes Visual Arts chair Paul Walde. “Professor Bomford’s career is on a upward trajectory as evidenced by an international exhibition record and his work being recently nominated for the prestigious 2014 Sobey Award.”

Bomford’s elaborate installation Bamberton: Contested Landscape ran locally at Open Space in January 2010. An immersive installation that reused materials from the artist’s building demolitions and previous work, the installation confronted land-use issues on the Vancouver Island site of Bamberton and Malahat Mountain through architectural references in the individual structures—which visitors were able to physically move through, over, under and around, allowing for a tactile interaction with the artists’ interventionist strategies and theme of contested space.

Bomford's "Bamberton: Contested Landscape" at Open Space in 2010

Bomford’s “Bamberton: Contested Landscape” at Open Space in 2010

“We believe Bomford’s high profile projects—most recently in Vancouver—will raise the profile of the Department and attract students to the program,” Walde continues. “Bomford’s practice is rooted in West Coast culture and he often collaborates with the brother Nathan and father Jim who live in on Vancouver Island. Additionally, Bomford is known for his curatorial projects, particularly his work with the collective aedc which produced a number of exhibitions in Berlin.”

Megan Dickie teaching the Foundation class in Visual Arts

Megan Dickie teaching the Foundation class in Visual Arts

And it’s a pleasure to see Megan Dickie move up to a faculty position, after her many years teaching with the department. “Megan has been teaching with Visual Arts for 10 years now,” says Walde. “She is consistently one of our most highly ranked instructors and is extremely popular with our students. In the past four years, Megan’s studio research has developed in new and innovative ways bringing her more exhibition opportunities both nationally and internationally.”

Known for her objects and images that are humorous, tactile and interactive, Megan investigates ideas of artifice by making sculptures out of sensuous materials that turn functional forms into exaggerated novelty gadgets. She finds novelty compelling in how it rejoices in excess and is truthful about its moral shortcomings; it’s a form that promotes curiosity over intimidation which allows the viewer to lean in and discover through touch.  Through this tactile experience the viewer ends up struggling between their desire for amusement and their desire for reason.

Megan Dickie's "The Gleamer," last seen at Legacy Gallery

Megan Dickie’s “The Gleamer,” last seen at Legacy Gallery

Megan has exhibited her work across Canada and has had recent exhibitions at Victoria’s Deluge Contemporary, Vancouver’s Grunt Gallery, the Nanaimo Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, the Ministry of Causal Living and Saskatoon’s Kenderdine Art Gallery. She was also the recipient of a Canada Council emerging artist creation grant in 2004 and a BC Arts Council grant in 2007 & 2009. Most recently, she contributed a piece to Legacy Gallery’s In Session: One, an exhibit focusing on UVic’s sessional instructor

“Megan has also curated exhibitions in Victoria, which have contributed to the vibrancy of the community by bringing in the work of national and international artists,” says Walde. “And, for seven years, she has been leading our Foundations Program—we are currently looking to re-design this area, as was recommended by our Academic Program Review. Megan’s experience within the Department makes her a natural fit for this position. She will continue to work and develop our Foundations Program, but also teach video which is an increasingly important part of her practice.”

Victoria Summer Music Festival celebrates 20 years

Twenty years is a long time in the life of any festival, and it’s especially exciting when it’s a music festival. As such, this summer marks the 20th anniversary of the Victoria Summer Music Festival, which has been presenting a series of chamber music concerts every summer since July 1996.

School of Music professor & VSMF artistic director Arthur Rowe

School of Music professor & VSMF artistic director Arthur Rowe

VSMF Artistic Director and School of Music professor Arthur Rowe has lined up a fantastic celebration for their anniversary: the artistry of some of North America’s finest soloists and chamber musicians performing music that resonates in UVic’s intimate Phillip T. Young Recital Hall with its terraced, comfortable seating, excellent sightlines and warm acoustic.

Rowe has arranged seven great concerts featuring sublime music by a range of favourite artists from previous seasons and outstanding new talent. Back again too are the popular pre-concert talks, in which the artists get personal about their music and their repertoire (starting at 6:40pm on most evenings).

Returning to the VSMF stage this year are Gary Karr and Harmon Lewis with their amazing evening of 18 double basses, the Alcan Quartet, cellist Eugene Osadchy with pianist Arthur Rowe, and the amazing Dover Quartet, back for two concerts. New for the 20th anniversary are the internationally renowned Gryphon Trio as well as Victoria’s dynamic violin duo, the Chooi Brothers.

All concerts take place at 7:30 pm in the UVic’s Phillip T. Young Recital Hall, School of Music’s Maclaurin B-wing.Tickets range from $10 to $30, with a 10% discount for tickets to four or more concerts. Here’s the complete schedule:

Basses Loaded 19 • 7:30pm Tuesday, July 28

In the traditional festival opener, Gary Karr, double bass, and Harmon Lewis, piano, introduce 18 double bassists from around the world who have spent July at the KarrKamp summer workshop. Audiences will marvel at the deep, resonant sound of heartfelt music-making.

The Alcan String Quartet

The Alcan String Quartet

The Alcan Quartet • 7:30pm Thursday, July 30

Featuring Laura Andriani and Nathalie Camus (violins), plus Luc Beauchemin (viola) and David Ellis (cello),the Alcan Quartet performs quartets by Haydn (op.52 no.1) and Beethoven (op. 135); Borodin’s A-flat Major Scherzo, and Andrew MacDonald’s Perfect Day—a work specially commissioned for their 25th anniversary.

Eugene Osadchy and Arthur Rowe • 7:30pm Tuesday, August 4

Eugene Osadchy (cello), former principal cello of the CBC Radio Orchestra, joins the Festival’s artistic director Arthur Rowe (piano) in sonatas by Beethoven (G Minor op. 5, no.2), Debussy, and Rachmaninoff (G Minor, op. 19).

The Chooi Brothers

The Chooi Brothers

Nikki and Timothy Chooi • 7:30pm Friday, August 7

Victoria natives Nikki and Timothy Chooi (violins) and Lorraine Min (piano) join forces in a wide-ranging program of works for one or two violins and piano by Saint-Saëns, Prokofiev, Sarasate, and Arcuri. All three have been on the wish list for a few seasons, and it will be thrilling to have these dynamic performers together in one program.

The Gryphon Trio • 7:30pm Saturday, August 8

Long-overdue to the VSMF, this performance by Annalee Patipatanakoon (violin), Roman Borys (cello) and Jamie Parker (piano) highlights the 20th anniversary celebration with piano trios by Haydn and Mendelssohn, as well as Wijeratne’s Love Triangle.

The Dover String Quartet

The Dover String Quartet

The Dover String Quartet • 7:30pm Monday, August 10 & 7:30pm Tuesday, August 11

After two sold-out VSMF concerts last season, the Dover String Quartet—Joel Link and Bryan Lee (violins), Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt (viola) and Camden Shaw (cello)—returns with Wolf’s Italian Serenade, Dvorak’s American Quartet, and Shostakovich’s Quartet No. 2 on August 10, then perform with guest artists Arthur Rowe (piano), David Harding (viola) and Ariel Barnes (cello) as they present Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet and Tchaikovsky’s stirring Souvenir de Florence string sextet.

Voices Without Borders

Looking for the finest in new music? Add a taste of SALT to your musical diet—with an international flair! This year’s fifth annual SALT New Music Festival & Symposium focuses on “Voices Without Borders” and will present a diverse and exciting range of global talent. Running July 23 to 27, SALT will focus around the voice and will provide an opportunity to hear a variety of new and recently composed work for voice and vocal ensemble.

The Tsilumos Ensemble

The Tsilumos Ensemble

This fifth annual SALT festival will feature five concerts at Open Space, as well as a series of lectures, masterclasses and open rehearsals at the School of Music. The Festival’s Hosted by the Tsilumos Ensemble—made up of School of Music professors Ajtony Csaba, Joanna Hood and Dániel Péter Biró, plus Kris Colvin—is pleased to collaborate with the internationally acclaimed German vocal ensemble Neue Vocalsolisten, Austrian flautist/ composer Sylvie Lacroix, School of Music technician Kirk McNally, and local vocalist & School of Music alumna Cathy Fern Lewis. Concerts will feature new works by Biró, plus Canadian and international composers Charles-Antoine Fréchette, Annesley Black, Justin Christensen, Georg Friedrich Haas, and Samir Odeh Tamimi.

All concerts will be performed at downtown’s Open Space and the masterclasses will be here in UVic’s School of Music. Tickets range from $11 to $20 and you can get a festival pass for $55 to $75. View the full schedule of events here.

The festival opens with a performance by the Tsilumos Ensemble on Thursday, July 23, followed by Sylvie Lacroix on July 24, Neue Vocalsolisten on July 25, Cathy Lewis on July 26 and the UVic Alumni Ensemble on July 27.

SALT-2015-brochure-500x647Since 2011, the Tsilumos Ensemble has been performing chamber music ranging from duos to large instrumental combinations. Its main objective is to give new and little-known Canadian and international works an optimal performance, regardless of technical and intellectual demands or compositional style. Since its inception the ensemble has brought high quality, challenging new music to the larger community of British Columbia.

The Neue Vocalsolisten established as an ensemble specializing in the interpretation of contemporary vocal music in 1984. Founded under the artistic management of Musik der Jahrhunderte, the vocal chamber ensemble has been artistically independent since the year 2000. Each of the seven concert and opera soloists, with a collective range reaching from coloratura soprano over countertenor to “basso profondo”, shapes the work on chamber music and the co-operation with the composers and other interpreters through his/her distinguished artistic creativity.

Sylvie Lacroix is an accomplished flute soloist and chamber musician with a special emphasis on contemporary and new music. The freelance flutist lives in Vienna, Austria and works regularly with composers side-by-side, searching for new sounds and expressions all the way through until their first performances. This interest in working with living composers has accompanied Sylvie Lacroix since the beginnings of her career. A founding member of Klangforum Wien, she remained an active member until 1997.

School of Music alumna Cathy Fern Lewis is an ambassador and active exponent of the professional new music and art scene in Canada since 1974, versatile and experimental soprano/voice artist Catherine Fern Lewis graduated from UVic’s School of Music, where she specialized in contemporary music. Lewis spent a further three years in Europe, predominantly in Paris, studying French song with the noted Peirre Bernac, Madame Chereau and Winifred Radford.

UVic’s Digital Fabrication Lab the first of its kind in North America

UVic is once again leading the pack with the creation of the Digital Fabrication Lab (DFL). A collaboration between the Department of Visual Arts and the preexisting Maker Lab in UVic’s Electronic Textual Cultures Lab, the DFL is the first of its kind to encompass the arts and humanities in North America. Additionally, no university or college in North America yet has a computer numerical control (CNC) lab in the humanities, meaning the DFL is the first humanities facility of its kind on the continent.

It's early days for the DFL in Visual Arts

It’s early days for the DFL in Visual Arts

“There are far-reaching effects for this type of technology in just about everything we do,” says Department of Visual Arts chair Paul Walde. “Photography was the first area where there was almost a complete paradigm shift towards digital, and we’re now seeing digital technology move into every aspect of visual arts production. This represents a way for us to move forward not only with new sculptural techniques and projects but also printmaking and even certain kinds of painting.”

The DFL will include CNC routers, an industrial grade 3D scanner, a laser cutter, a milling machine, and 3D printers, together with various machining tools. “Visual Arts is a leader in material practices and material culture,” says Walde, who notes they already have extensive workshops and the necessary support staff to expand into this area. “We have purpose-built facilities for the safe handling and research of these applications. It’s a perfect fit for us . . . it’s an investment in the future.”

Materials for making a small solenoid (photo: Maker Lab)

Materials for making a small solenoid (photo: Maker Lab)

The Maker Lab at UVic, housed in the Technology Enterprise Facility, is a collaborative space of new techniques and old technologies involving the invention of imaginative and often outsized revisions of objects that don’t always exist in the world. Because its research is innovative, multi-faceted and occasionally intangible, it does not easily fit a simple definition.

The lab is inspired by experimental art, design and D.I.Y. cultures. The inter-disciplinary research team from UVic English, CSPT and Visual Arts includes faculty as well as undergraduate and graduate students who use physical computing and digital fabrication for cultural research.

The lab was launched in September 2012, under the leadership of director Dr. Jentery Sayers, an assistant professor, English and CSPT, with funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Canada Foundation for Innovation and the British Columbia Knowledge Development Fund.

Sayers describes the Maker Lab as an “intersection of cultural criticism and comparative media studies with computation, prototyping, electronics and experimental methods. Its design is anchored in blending a humanities research lab with a makerspace—a design that affords its team of students and faculty opportunities to build projects through various modes of ‘knowing by doing,’ such as programming, markup, new media production, data modeling, 3D printing and circuit design.”

The lab’s research will ultimately “inform policies on the ethics, distribution, licensing and derivation of 3D objects,” says Sayers, policies which currently do not exist in Canada. The lab also trains students in physical computing and desktop fabrication in non-STEM fields. Sayers points out that fabrication and physical computing are popular in STEM fields, but are virtually unknown in the humanities.

Paul Walde (photo: Times Colonist)

Paul Walde (photo: Times Colonist)

The Maker Lab and DFL are two of several initiatives at UVic—including the Humanities Computing and Media Centre (HCMC); Electronic Textual Cultures Lab (ETCL); Implementing New Knowledge Environments (INKE); Modernist Versions Project (MVP); Internet Shakespeare Editions; Map of Early Modern London; and the annual Digital Humanities Summer Institute—which continue to position the university at the forefront of digital humanities.

“I’m very excited about it,” says Walde about the DFL and this new Visual Arts collaboration with Humanities. “I can’t wait to see what the possibilities are with this equipment. That’s usually what gets the imagination stirring.”

—Tara Sharpe, with contributions by John Threlfall

This story was originally published in a longer form in UVic’s Ring newspaper

Fine Arts alumni fuel Shakespeare Festival

While students and alumni of the Department of Theatre tend to show up on stages all over—and far out of—town, one place to keep an eye on local talent is the Greater Victoria Shakespeare Festival. Running July 8 to August 8 and this year celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Shakespeare Festival is packed with Phoenix folks past and present, on stage and off.

GVSS Artistic Director & Writing MFA Karen Lee Pickett

GVSS Artistic Director & Writing MFA Karen Lee Pickett

“We trace our genealogy back to 1991, when the first Shakespeare Festival was started in the Inner Harbour by Clayton Jevne,” says GVSS Artistic Director and local playwright Karen Lee Pickett—an MFA alumna of the Department of Writing. (Jevne himself was both an alumni and former instructor with the Department of Theatre.) “And after Clayton moved on, a couple of members wanted to keep it going so they formed the non-profit Greater Victoria Shakespeare Society and eventually found this home at Camosun College—and now it’s our tenth year at Camosun.”

This year’s outdoor productions include A Midsummer Night’s Dream—directed by Bard on the Beach’s Christopher Weddell—and Romeo & Juliet, directed by Phoenix alumna Britt Small, of Ride the Cyclone! and Atomic Vaudeville fame.

“Being the 25th anniversary, it’s good to have two plays with a broad appeal,” says Pickett, who was hired as festival producer back in 2011 and is now in her second year as Artistic Director/Producer. “The last time we did Dream was our first year at Camosun.”

The triple Phoenix alumni Dream, starring Trevor Hinton (Oberon), Sarah Jane Pelzer (Titania) & directed by Britt Small (photo: David Bukach)

The triple Phoenix alumni Dream, starring Trevor Hinton (Oberon), Sarah Jane Pelzer (Titania) & directed by Britt Small (photo: David Bukach)

This year’s productions, running in repertory from July 8 to August 8 on the grounds of Camosun College—include Phoenix alum Trevor Hinton, Sarah Jane Pelzer, Cam Culham, Michelle Morris and Taylor Lewis, plus stage managers Rebecca Marchand and Delaney Tesch. And School of Music instructor Colleen Eccleston’s son Kiaran McMillan will be playing Romeo, as well as Lysander in Dream.

Pickett, who recently performed her own one-woman show Slick at Intrepid Theatre’s Uno Festival in May 2015,, admits her current gig is nominally a year-round position, despite being a summer festival. “It’s a lot for one person,” she says with a bit of a tired laugh. “My big push last year was to concentrate on the artistic quality of the productions. We have a great history of including a lot of students and community actors—which is an important part of our mandate—but I want to make the shows the best that we can make them.”

Phoenix alumna Sarah Jane Pelzer as Juliet with Kiaran McMillan as Romeo (photo: David Bukach)

Phoenix alumna Sarah Jane Pelzer as Juliet with Kiaran McMillan as Romeo (photo: David Bukach)

As a playwright and actor herself, does being an artistic director help her own creative activity? “It’s challenging, especially with a small but growing organization, but I always feel grateful that I work in the arts; I don’t pull down any other jobs. That said, my hours are ‘when I’m awake.’ But living an artistic life means doing a lot of different things.”

Looking to the future, Pickett sees great opportunities for growth in the festival. “I really want to bring our young actors up through the ranks, so they have the opportunity to work with more established actors,” she says. “And I would like to expand our education program, so we can include more youth.”

The Greater Victoria Shakespeare Festival runs July 8 to August 8 at Camosun College. Tickets run from $19 to $24, or you can get a festival pass for $33 to $42.

Benjamin Butterfield wins Craigdarroch Award

Performer, artistic collaborator and educator—Benjamin Butterfield continues to make an indelible impression on the future of Canadian singers and on audiences worldwide. He is a tenor of international renown, with a repertoire ranging from baroque to classical to contemporary. This much-loved School of Music professor is now the 2015 winner of UVic’s Craigdarroch Award for Excellence in Artistic Expression.

Benjamin Butterfield (UVic Photo Services)

Benjamin Butterfield (UVic Photo Services)

Benjamin Butterfield is an outstanding performer, artistic collaborator, and educator, whose body of artistic work and song serves as a link to a greater sense and understanding of one’s self, others, and the world around us,” says Dr. Susan Lewis, Acting Dean of Fine Arts. “The measure of Professor Butterfield’s impact on the musical world can truly be found in how he applies his talent and expertise to the training of a new generation of singers at the School of Music. He makes the difference for young singers, providing both inspiration and sound teaching to prepare them for the world stage.”

Butterfield’s artistic knowledge and production experience is broad, versatile and widely recognized by peers, critics and audiences for its quality and impact. He has performed with the world’s top musicians and conductors, and is highly sought-after as a teacher who transforms young singers into emerging professional artists. Many of his students have gone on to give performances with major opera companies and symphonies throughout North America.

“This award clarifies the value that the University of Victoria places on the arts by acknowledging artistic expression as a point of recognition amongst it’s community members,” says Butterfield. “To be included with scientists, scholars, historians, technicians and health professionals sends a valuable message that the whole is made stronger by the sum of it’s parts. This award also helps me clarify for myself the importance of continuing to grow and learn as a singer, educator and human being.”

Butterfield, dressed for success on the stage

Butterfield, dressed for success on the stage

As an example of how busy Butterfield is during his off-campus hours, he is performing at two prestigious music events this summer alone: the Ukrainian Art Song project—which will find Butterfield at the Glenn Gould Studio this July recording alongside the acclaimed likes of fellow Canadian vocalists Russell Braun, Virginia Hatfield, Andrea Ludwig, Krisztina Szabó, Monica Whicher and Pavlo Hunka as part of the overall project to record 1,000 Ukrainian art songs by 26 composers as an extraordinary musical legacy to the world—and at Vermont’s famous Yellow Barn Concerts, which presents 23 concerts between July 10 and August 8.

“Music binds, educates and serves—the human voice is common to us all and is at the very core of our collective abilities, story telling and passions. Music can heal and rally, console and inspire. It is a reflecting pool for our common struggles and joys,” says Butterfeld. “Our world today is full of seemingly insurmountable obstacles and conflicts presenting a complicated and challenging future. There has never been a better time to sing. It helps one find the strength of character to be inspired, find solace and understanding and to know our responsibilities towards this world. As a performing artist, how do I inspire others to better appreciate the world around us? By singing about it.”

Butterfield teaching one of his students

Butterfield teaching one of his students

And, considering the range of students he’s had over the years, what kind of impact does Butterfield see UVic graduates having on the world? “An old sailor once said, ‘There are two kinds of people in this world: those who have hit a coral reef, and those who are going to hit a coral reef.’ UVic grads know that true success comes from developing the strength of mind to negotiate and manage failure; they are taught to deal with life’s inevitable ups and downs through UVic’s faculty, staff, facilities and location,” he says.

“They become committed, thoughtful and interested contributors to our society rather than focusing on self serving ventures. Our music grads in particular achieve this through learning to communicate through their music, developing their point of view and by taking chances every day. Their impact on the world is simple: they make music.”

Butterfield joins the likes of previous Craigdarroch Award winners Harald Krebs, Lorna Crozier and Marcus Milwright. The Craigdarroch Research Awards were established in 2003 to recognize outstanding research-focused and creative contributions at UVic, and were named for Craigdarroch Castle—home to UVic’s predecessor institution, Victoria College (1921-1946).

You can view Craigdarroch winners’ “Faces of UVic Research” videos here.

Vikes Band wants you!

Love sports? Play an instrument? With the brand-new Vikes Band course, you can now combine both—for credit!

Join the Vikes Band & help jazz up the games! (photo: APShutter.com)

Join the Vikes Band & help jazz up the games! (photo: APShutter.com)

A new initiative between the School of Music and Vikes Athletics, Vikes Band (MUS 189) is a new for-credit course that will rehearse and perform at Vikes Varsity events and special events on campus. If you played in your high school band or just play for fun, you can still put those skills to use to play game-day music—even if you aren’t a Music major.

“The Vikes Band will make an incredible contribution to creating the most unique and exciting venue in Canadian Interuniversity Sport,” says Vikes Athletics director Clint Hamilton. “Joining the Vikes Band will make you part of our team as we make our athletic venues energizing, fun and inspiring for our home crowds and a challenge for our visiting opponents. The Vikes Band will be a great way to engage with UVic and show your team spirit as you join Vikes Nation and bring your talents to the team!”

Blow your horn—for credit—in the Vikes Band (photo: APShutter.com)

Blow your horn—for credit—in the Vikes Band (photo: APShutter.com)

Open to any student with the basic ability to play a band instrument, Vikes Band is a 1.5 unit course that can even be taken more than once, to a maximum of six units. Better still, there’s no audition necessary!

“This band is both a way to increase school spirit and bolster the atmosphere at sporting events while also giving a fun musical outlet for UVic’s entire population,” says School of Music professor and Vikes Band leader Scott MacInnes. “A dedicated Vikes Band is something that has been a long time coming—and now that it’s here there’s a buzz around the entire city that’s so exciting.”

While the School of Music jazz band has been playing at key Vikes games since 2013, the idea of creating a dedicated band course has been in the works for a couple of years now. “Now that UVic has a top-notch athletics facility like CARSA, it seems only logical that there is a dedicated ensemble to bring live music to already great sporting events,” says MacInnes. “Having a live group at the games will create a level of excitement and energy that will be felt not only by the fans but also by the Vikes athletes.”

Vikes Nation ambassador Dan Mecham is already pumped about signing up for the Vikes Band course!

Vikes Nation ambassador Dan Mecham is already pumped about signing up for the Vikes Band course!

Current student and Vikes Nation ambassador Dan Mecham has already decided he’ll be enrolling in the Vikes Band course. “I’m really keen on school spirit,” he says. “I was on the pep band in high school and I love the atmosphere of people coming together, all united over something like a game. That’s really big for me.”

Mecham, who went to high school in Sacramento, California, immediately noticed the difference between American games with bands and Canadian games without. “In high school it made a huge difference having the band there,” he says. “At first it was just at the football games, but eventually all the sports teams were requesting we show up to their big games. I’m sure we can create the same atmosphere here at UVic, where people will recognize how much the music adds to the energy and enthusiasm.”

Music student Josh Lovell belts out the Vikes Rally Song before a game (photo: Armando Tura)

Music student Josh Lovell belts out the Vikes Rally Song before a game (photo: Armando Tura)

MacInnes is already working on a play list for the Vikes Band (“our repertoire will span popular tunes like ‘Sweet Dreams are Made of These’ and the Rocky theme ‘Gonna Fly Now’ to Balkan gypsy music and New Orleans jazz-style tunes, as well as the Vikes Rally Song by Music teacher Colleen Eccleston”), and says he hopes the Vikes Band will attract the more “energetic and outgoing” students. “A group like this gives students the opportunity to hone their skills and foster relationships with students from other parts of campus that will no doubt last into their professional lives.”

Given that this course is open to anyone who can play an instrument—even if you’re not a Music major—even a super-fan like Mecham is eager to sign up. What’s his instrument? “I played a little marching xylophone in the high school pep band, so I’m going to see what I can do to make that work here.”

2015-05-25-ATRS-VikesBand-infocasterUltimately, Mecham—who plans on becoming an elementary school teacher—compares the Vikes Band to the Vikes Cheer Squad. “It’s part of that whole game-day atmosphere,” he says. “It will be great to both get credit for it and to have that mandatory practice time. I’m optimistic about the whole course!”

Remember, no audition is necessary and Vikes Band is open to any student with the basic ability to play a band instrument, and can be taken more than once.

REGISTER HERE FOR VIKES BAND!