Call for grad student proposals: Ocean Networks Canada Artist-in-Residence Program

2021 ONC Artist in Residence Dennis Gupa

UVic’s Faculty of Fine Arts and Ocean Networks Canada (ONC) are calling for graduate student applications for the 2023 ONC Artist-in-Residence program.

Note: the application period closes on December 17, 2022.

The Artist-in-Residence program strengthens connections between art and science that broaden and cross-fertilize perspectives and critical discourse on today’s major issues, such as environment, technology, oceans, cultural and biodiversity, and healthy communities. This program is open to all current Fine Arts graduate students who have completed most of their course requirements with practice in any visual, written, musical or performance media. Co-led and sponsored by Fine Arts and ONC, the Artist-in-Residence program receives additional financial support from UVic’s Faculty of Science and Office of Research Services.

About the residency

The Artist-in-Residence will ignite cross-disciplinary exchanges, interacting with Fine Arts faculty members and scientists & staff at ONC, as well as with other individuals using ONC’s world-leading ocean facilities. The Artist will learn from and engage with the current research, connecting it to the Artist’s own practice, and to wider societal and cultural aspects, creating work for public presentation at the end of the residency. The Artist will also be invited to contribute as a lead or co-author in scientific conference proceedings and/or journal articles.

The selected Artist will actively engage with researchers on a variety of ocean science themes that may include:

  1. Deep Sea Ecology
  2. Seabed-Ocean Exchanges
  3. Coastal Ocean Processes
  4. Marine Natural Hazards
  5. The Ocean Soundscape
  6. Arctic Ocean Observing
  7. Ocean Big Data

The ONC Artist-in-Residence program is established to:

  1. explore the potential of the arts or alternative cultural practices in the area of the visions, challenges, philosophical, aesthetic, and ethical aspects of the ocean and the impacts humans have on it;
  2. add a complementary artistic and creative perspective to ocean science, the societal ramifications of its exploitation, and its cultural aspects;
  3. create opportunities for potential new research questions, experimental approaches and knowledge synthesis resulting from interaction between the arts and science; and
  4. help envision and communicate the potential long-term impact of ocean changes on humanity.

Learn more about previous Artists in Residence

Previous ONC Artists in Residence include Colton Hash (Visual Arts, 2019), Dennis Gupa (Theatre, 2021) and Colin Malloy (School of Music, 2022). Watch for a special performance event in late January 2023, when Colin will be debuting his project created as part of the residency.

But you can get a sneak peek of Colin’s work by listening to these two compositions which he created during his time with ONC:

2022 ONC Artist-in-Residence Colin Malloy

Financial provision for the Artist

The residency period can start anytime between 1 Feb 2023 and 31 May 2023 and last for up to four months. A cost-of-living stipend of CAD$2000/month will be paid to the selected Artist, with limited additional funds to support production or materials.

At the conclusion of the residency, a public exhibit of the resulting art will be displayed or performed, and will be promoted by ONC and the Faculty of Fine Arts.

Proposal Submission

Interested applicants are to email ONC at dwowens@oceannetworks.ca with the subject line “Ocean Artist-in-Residence Program,” and attach:

  1. the artist’s CV
  2. a concise portfolio of previous relevant artistic work;
  3. a letter of motivation outlining the artist’s project proposal for the residency, and
  4. a 500-word project proposal with a separate project-costs budget.

The application period closes on 17 December 2022. Applications will be reviewed by representatives of Fine Arts and Ocean Networks Canada. Artists may be contacted for an interview or to supply further information before a decision is made.

Public Exhibit or Event

At the conclusion of the residency, the artist will host a public exhibit or event within a specified budget agreed to during the residency and depending on the type of project to be exhibited. Assistance for marketing and/or ticketing could be made available from other UVic departments (Visual Arts, Theatre, etc.).

About Ocean Networks Canada

Established in 2007 as a strategic initiative of the University of Victoria, ONC operates world-leading ocean observatories for the advancement of science and the benefit of Canada. The observatories collect data on physical, chemical, biological, and geological aspects of the ocean over long time periods, supporting research on complex Earth processes in ways not previously possible. The observatories provide unique scientific and technical capabilities that permit researchers to operate instruments remotely and receive data at their home laboratories anywhere on the globe, in real time. The facilities extend and complement other research platforms and programs, whether currently operating or planned for future deployment.

About the Faculty of Fine Arts

With experiential learning at its core, the Faculty of Fine Arts provides the finest training and learning environment for artists, professionals, and students. Through its departments of Art History and Visual Studies, Theatre, Visual Arts, Writing and School of Music, the Faculty of Fine Arts aspires to lead in arts-based research and creative activity and education in local, national, and global contexts by integrating and advancing creation and scholarship in the arts in a dynamic learning environment.

As British Columbia’s only Faculty exclusively dedicated to the arts, UVic’s Faculty of Fine Arts is an extraordinary platform that supports new discoveries, interdisciplinary and diverse contributions to creativity, and the cultural experiences of the students and communities UVic serves. With thanks also to the Vice President Research & Innovation and Faculty of Science for their support.

Explore UVic on Nov 26

Considering a future as a student in the Faculty of Fine Arts? Join us on Saturday, Nov 26, as we open our doors as part of Explore UVic—UVic’s free, all-day open house. We’ve created a fun-filled day of student panels, sample lectures, presentations, tours and more. Check out the schedule of events, plan ahead and make the most of your visit!

This is your chance to discover what it’s like to be part of BC’s only stand-alone fine arts faculty, which means you’ll be learning as part of a dedicated arts-specific community. On Saturday, we’ll be hosting an open house (12-2pm in the lobby of the Fine Arts building) with representatives from our departments of Art History & Visual Studies, Theatre, Visual Arts, Writing and the School of Music who can answer your program questions. We’ll also have a general representative on hand to answer your questions from 11-12 and 2-3pm if you can’t make the open house.

Explore where you’ll be learning

We’ll also be offering behind-the-scenes tours of our facilities at these times and locations:

  • Art History & Visual Studies: 11:00, 12:00, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00 (meet in the Fine Arts building lobby)
  • Fine Arts/Writing: 11am-3pm (meet in the Fine Arts building lobby)
  • School of Music: 11:00, 12:30, 2:00, 3:30 (meet in Music’s upstairs lobby, MacLaurin B-Wing)
  • Theatre: 11:00, 11:45, 12:30 (meet in the Phoenix Building lobby)
  • Visual Arts: 11:00, 12:00, 1:00, 2:00 (meet in the Visual Arts building lobby)

Enjoy a sample lecture

You can also catch a sample lecture on “Activating Performance” with Theatre professor Sasha Kovacs from 2:15-3pm in room 167 of the Elliott Building.

The word “performative” is everywhere across social media. People add “performative” in hashtags to denounce those who don’t, as Hamlet advised his players, “suit the action to the word, the word to the action.”

Performance has always gotten a bad rap. People criticize performance as hollow, ineffective, lazy and false. But does this account for performance’s power to activate and incite real-world change? Through historic and contemporary examples, we’ll reconsider the power of performance as an agent of positive change.

Sasha Kovacs

Take in a show

If you’re specifically interested in Theatre, take the opportunity to see first-hand what our students can do by catching a matinee of our mainstage show Spring Awakening, running 2-4pm Saturday. This powerful rock musical transformed Broadway in 2006 and went on to win eight Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score — now, our Phoenix students are bringing this electrifying fusion of morality, sexuality and rock ‘n’ roll to life on stage. (Note: this is a separate ticketed event that must be booked separately from Explore UVic.)

Spring Awakening (photo: Dean Kalyan)

And if you’re interested in Music, you can hear what our students are creating at two separate concerts on Saturday: a Piano Studio Recital (2-4pm, featuring students from the studio of May Ling Kwok) and a Student Composers’ Concert (8-10pm, featuring new and daring works by composition students), both in the School of Music’s Phillip T Young Recital Hall in the MacLaurin B-Wing. 

Register now for Explore UVic

Register in advance now for this free day of exploration and activities . . . or just drop by on Saturday. We’d love to meet you!

Fine Arts active with 5 Days of Action

UVic’s 5 Days of Action is back! Running Nov 14-18, Five Days of Action: 365 Days of Commitment is UVic’s annual free, week-long event aimed at amplifying the work groups, units and organizations are doing to create a more diverse, inclusive and equitable campus and community throughout the year—both on- and off-campus. Fine Arts is once again organizing a number of events as part of this week of significant interactions.

Each day of the week represents a different call to action: Monday asks us to listen, Tuesday to reflect, Wednesday to dialogue, Thursday to engage, and Friday to take action. There will be many opportunities to reflect on what we can do as individuals and as part of a team to improve the sense of inclusion and belonging in our greater community. We’re all encouraged to take part throughout the week by visiting an events, attending a workshop or seminar, or engaging with the curated list of things to read, watch and do. 

Here’s a quick roundup of what Fine Arts has coming up:

KILLJOYS art exhibition: Mon-Fri, Nov 14-18, Audain Gallery, Visual Arts Building

Explore how art can use various mediums to confront forms of systemic violence and oppression in this annual exhibition by Visual Arts students, staff and faculty.

Walk with Me: 10 & 11:30am Mon-Tues Nov 14-15, SUB Pujol Room

Join Fine Arts Indigenous Resurgence Coordinator Karla Point, Theatre PhD alum & sessional Will Weigler plus Lydia Toorenburgh (Anthropology) for this one-hour, in-person experiential and creatively rewarding activity designed to deepen Settler Canadians’ felt-understanding of the lived experiences of Indigenous peoples.

Karla Point

Arts for Action: 12:30-1:30pm Tues, Nov 15, Visual Arts Room A111

Poets will be performing up to three poems while collaborating with visual arts students to live capture the themes and experiences during the performances. With poetry ranging from free-verse and Haiku to rhymed poetry, the themes will  address different topics of anti-racism, equity, diversity, inclusion and/or sexualized violence prevention. 

Featuring poets & Writing alumni Yvonne Blomer and Arleen Paré, plus Alexa Taylor-McCallum, ALHS and Visual Arts students Tori Jones and Satya Underhill.

Amplifying Voices: 12:30pm Tues, Nov 15, Phillip T. Young Recital Hall, MacLaurin B-wing

The first of two School of Music events being presented, Amplifying Voices sees UVic’s Music Student Association present a lecture-recital featuring underrepresented identities in music. Student performers and composers will present and discuss works that highlight marginalized voices, bringing awareness to EDI-related challenges that musicians and musical institutions are facing.

Equal Measure: 8pm Tues, Nov 15, Phillip T. Young Recital Hall

That same evening sees the recital Equal Measure featuring pianist Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa (BMus ’93) and violinst Sarah Westwick performing a concert of works for violin and piano by historical and contemporary women composers including lsabella Leonarda, Amanda Maier, Florence Price, Elizabeth Raum, and Jessie Montgomery. A short post-concert Q&A and reception will follow. This concert is made possible in part by funding from the University of Victoria Alumni Association.

Rachel Iwaasa (photo:SD Holman)

“It’s Just Black Hair” 12:45-1:45pm Thurs, Nov 17, McIntyre Studio, Phoenix Building • Register here

Join Fine Arts playwright-in-residence Thembelihle Moyo for this artist talk, which will feature a Q&A plus premiere excerpts of her new play, It’s Just Black Hair. She’ll be joined on-stage by Theatre professors Sasha Kovacs & Yasmine Kandil.

Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Moyo’s previous plays include Colour Blue, Let it Out, Who Said I Don’t Want to Dance and I Want To Fly. “Black hair is more than just strands that unite in kinky solidarity, demanding to be seen and heard,” says Moyo. 

Thembelihle Moyo

Spring Awakening: Nov 10-26, Bishop Theatre, Phoenix Building (Tickets $18-$33)

While not directly associated with this overall event, the themes behind the mainstage Phoenix production Spring Awakening definitely match the goals of 5 Days of Action. As high-school teenagers in an 1890s provincial German town struggle to reconcile their budding sexual feelings, the moral code of their society leads them to tragedy. An electrifying fusion of morality, sexuality and rock music, Spring Awakening forever changed the definition of what a Broadway musical could be when it debuted in 2006, breaking boundaries by exploring the journey from adolescence to adulthood with poignancy and passion. 

A coding career composed of science and sound

When Calgary-based Logan Wood was looking for a leading post-secondary music and computer science degree program, he quickly realized that there was only real choice for him. “In comparing programs across the country, UVic stood out for me,” he says.

Despite landing squarely in the pandemic years, Wood managed to not only excel academically and creatively in his Bachelor of Science, but also complete four software-development co-op terms with a pair of tech start-ups in his hometown. His interest in music production and recording have already seen him release a mixtape album and three charting EPs—including his latest, 2022’s Pardon My Name—all of which helped him land a full-time position fresh out of classes. (Check out his work @LoganWoodMusic on Instagram, TikTok & Twitter.)

Music made the hiring difference

Now a corporate systems developer with the Calgary branch of energy company PETRONAS Global, Wood feels it was his unique combination of skills and experiences that helped him secure his new position. “I definitely got it because of my co-op experience . . . but my music background certainly helped my application,” he says. “Employers are looking for interesting, well-rounded people—not just a straight-A student whose life is all about grades—so my recording successes showed that I wasn’t one-dimensional.”

While he’s currently leaning into the computer science side of his new degree, Wood clearly isn’t giving up on his hard-earned recording skills. “Coming into the program, I knew I wanted to release music but didn’t really have a plan,” he admits. Thanks to the School of Music’s fully equipped Creative Research Technology (or CReaTe) Lab, Wood was able to learn everything he needed to record, mix and master his tracks, including producing, engineering, plug-in development and all the required hardware. “It was definitely a catalyst in bringing my music to life.”

Recording & networking

One unintentional COVID highlight was the opportunity to work with local label Cordova Bay Records on a unique recording project. “We were able to produce some ambient music for them to consider, which was really great.” (Hear Wood’s “Cloudwalker” track on the UVic Library’s “Library Lullaby” Soundcloud playlist.) “Not only did we get some professional feedback on our tracks, but it opened a window into the world of record labels and gave most of us our first experience doing ambient music, which is more of a low-fi/study-beat. My personal work is more either old-school jazz boom-bap hip hop or trappy upbeat anthem-y party vibes.”

Other degree highlights include courses in music technology and music production, and serving as communications director for the Computer Music Course Union. “I’m really happy with what the CMCU grew into—not only did we increase student involvement but the academic funding we received let us invest close to $10,000 in recording equipment, instruments, microphones and software back into the studio,” Wood says. “Looking back, those were the standouts: fun projects, great experiences, good friends.”

The experience he needed

Ultimately, Wood says he wouldn’t hesitate in recommending the program to future students. “If you’re passionate about computer science and you want to learn about music—or vice-versa—this is the program for you,” he says. “This is where you get the experience and the opportunity to network and build relationships with your peers and professors and the industry: I really don’t think there’s a better program in Canada.”

All photos by Emily Erickson-Flegg

New book by Alexis Luko heralds the spooky season

Dr Alexis Luko (photo: Tori Jones)

On a stormy Halloween weekend back in 2019. School of Music director Alexis Luko hosted an international symposium titled “The Gothic, the Abject and the Supernatural: Two Hundred Years of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein”. Fast forward to Halloween 2022 and that conference has now evolved into the new essay collection she has co-edited, Monstrosity, Identity and Music: Mediating Uncanny Creatures from Frankenstein to Videogames (Bloomsbury).

Created together with her original conference co-organizer, co-editor and colleague from Carleton University, Dr. James Wright, Monstrosity, Identity and Music explores notions of monstrosity through different media — including comic books, film, music, videogames, art and theatre — and through different academic fields ranging from film, literary and gender studies to psychoanalysis, identity politics and even videogame analysis.

“We’ve stitched together several disparate discourses across different disciplines — just as Dr. Frankenstein assembled disparate body parts — to present a multi-faceted image of Shelley’s monster and his impact,” Luko explains, pointing to such varied examples as Marvel’s Frankenstein comics and Afro-Futurism to Maestro Fresh Wes’s “Let Your Backbone Slide” and the first cinematic adaptation of Frankenstein in 1910. “Taken together — and animated — these parts give us a powerful illustration of the undying importance of Shelley’s monster and monstrously human vision.”

But the book also looks more generally at monstrosity in music, film, and videogames — including chapters about queer counter-discourses, a re-evaluation of the white women in Jordan Peele’s Get Out, 12-tone compositions in monster movie soundtracks, the representation of Indigeneity in film and the role of female monsters in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt videogame. 

Click here to listen to Alexis Luko’s October 22 interview on this topic on CBC Radio’s North By Northwest (jump to the 11:30 mark, interview runs to 23:10).

It all goes back to her parents

A musicologist with an international reputation in film music (as well as renaissance music), Luko says she has always been drawn to scary things.

“When I was 7, my Dad gave me my own beautiful volume of Grimm’s Fairy Tales which I used to read quietly to myself before going to bed — often focused on the scariest ones, and then would spend most of the night hiding under my covers in a state of fright,” she says.

Add in family viewing nights featuring the likes of The Twilight Zone, Alien, The Fly (both versions), Invasion of the Body Snatchers — as well as more accepted cinematic classics like Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal, Akira Kurasawa’s Rashomon, David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia and Roland Joffé’s The Mission — and it’s easy to see how a combined passion for film and music developed.

“I built up my love for film, art and music because I was lucky enough to have parents who constantly challenged me to open my eyes and ears — even if it meant getting a bit scared at times,” she says.

The sound of terror

When asked for her expert option on the scariest movie soundtracks, Luko singles out the sounds of psychological horror films like Midsommar, Get Out, Rosemary’s Baby and The Shining as prime examples where atmosphere is built through both music and effects like screams and voice. “Often the viewers’ or protagonists’ fears are exploited through sound itself,” she explains. “It’s sound that helps to amplify the imagination, often lurking offscreen. Sound is the filmmaker’s most powerful tool for horror, because it’s all about asking the audience to scare themselves.”

Despite living in an era when CGI and special effects tend to dominate screens both big and small, Luko feels the worst scares are the ones we create for ourselves—something Frankenstein originator Mary Shelley well knew on that  original dark and stormy night on Lake Geneva in 1816.

“There’s nothing scarier than what’s already in your own mind,” she says. “It’s important to remember that Shelley’s original monster didn’t look anything like the cliché of the shambling green grotesque that we so often see: he was much less obviously threatening and much more human—well-spoken, well-read, thoughtful and empathetic. It’s the people he meets, and their reactions to him, it’s our society that ultimately drives him to become truly monstrous.”

Two Music concerts highlight the spooky season

The School of Music is also presenting two timely concerts: “Sorcery, Witchcraft & Fantasy” on October 27 at the Phillip T Young Recital Hall and “Nosferatu Live” on October 30 at Cinecenta.

Organized by professor Merrie Klazek, “Sorcery, Witchcraft & Fantasy” offers an interdisciplinary evening of music, theatre and poetry celebrating the history, reality and misconceptions of witchcraft. Music selections include brass quintet renditions of seasonal favourites like March to the ScaffoldMacbeth, and Nordic Tales, plus readings from the likes of Macbeth and the upcoming Phoenix Theatre production of Vinegar Tom, a contemporary political allegory set during the 17th century witch hunts. We’ll also hear poems by the late witch and celebrated UVic Writing department founder Robin Skelton, as well as a performance of the contemporary “Wiccan Goddess Chant” — a timely occasion to ring in the season of spirits.

Click here to listen to Merrie Klazek’s October 26 interview about this concert on CBC Radio’s On The Island. 

Then Music professor Bruce Vogt will offer a live improvised score to a new print of the silent horror classic Nosferatu at UVic’s Cinecenta movie theatre, as well as Buster Keaton’s 1921 short The Haunted House.

Fine Arts well-represented at 2022 GVRA Awards

For over 50 years, Fine Arts has been an incubator for young artists, technicians, arts administrators, volunteers and audience members. And while our alumni and faculty members continue to make a vital impact on Victoria’s arts community, it’s also important to recognize the ongoing contributions made by our students.

With that in mind, Fine Arts is more than pleased to present the annual Faculty of Fine Arts Student Community Impact Award as part of the annual Greater Victoria Regional Arts Awards, presented on September 29 at a public downtown event at Club KWENCH.

Created in 2021 by the Dean’s External Advisory Committee, the $1,000 Student Community Impact Award recognizes individual achievements or outstanding efforts made by one or more full-time undergraduate students for a local arts organization. And thanks to Fine Arts donors—especially the Saanich Peninsula chapter of the Canadian Federation of University Women, who donated an additional $1,000 to this award in memory of one of their members, local artist Margaret Little—we were able to present awards to two students this year.

Our first award went to Visual Arts student Tori Jones for her work organizing (Un)Expected, an undergraduate exhibit held at Sidney’s ArtSea Community Arts Council Gallery in May 2022. With less than two-month’s notice, Tori was able to coordinate 13 Visual Arts students to curate, hang and run what was, for most of them, their first off-campus exhibit; this not only offered these students an opportunity to connect with the community at large, but also provided invaluable “real world” experience in working with a community art gallery.

Our second award went to School of Music voice student Isolde Roberts-Welby for her continued work with the Victoria Children’s Choir. Isolde began singing with the VCC when she was just 10 years old; now, a decade later, she continues to perform with them and has also taken on leadership roles by conducting, teaching and leading sectional rehearsals. Indeed, her work with the Victoria Children’s Choir has directly led to her current position as a choral scholar at Christ Church Cathedral and a soloist with the likes of CappriCCio Ensemble, Victoria Philharmonic Choir and the international Pacific Baroque Festival.

 

Dean Allana Lindgren with Tori Jones (left) & Isolde Roberts-Welby

Alumni recipients

In addition to these awards, three Fine Arts alumni received recognition at the GVRAAs as well: a great reminder about the role Fine Arts continues to play in Victoria’s creative community. Congratulations go out to:

  • Andrew Barrett (Impulse Theatre) on winning the $3,000 City of Victoria Creative Builder Award
  • Mercedes Bátiz-Benét (Puente Theatre) on winning the $2,000 PARC Retirement Living Mid-Career Artist Award
  • Chelsea Kutyn (School of Music, not present) on winning the $2,000 John Mears Achievement in Music Award
  • Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre—represented by Rebekah Johnson (Theatre) & Department of Theatre professor Brian Richmond—on winning the $15,000 JAYMAC Outstanding Production Award for their production of Betrayal by Harold Pinter.
Read more about our 2021 winners: Kyla Fradette (Music), Alison Roberts (Theatre) and Dani Neira (AHVS).