Wednesday 14 January 2015

SMAC fest 2015 preview + artist profiles part one: Christopher Shoust/Angelline Castilloux

Inside a repurposed warehouse near the corner of Gore street and Wellington,
strange things are transpiring.
Behind a black curtained-off window,
various images are being projected onto a nude statue.
Michael Burtch, creator of this component of the installation,
mans the projector with a good-natured grin.
Unidentified seeds, perhaps from an elm tree,
gather and disappear in small piles in another corner of the gallery space.
 Miranda Bouchard, Curator of the SMAC fest filmscreening
and of the SHIFTERS exhibition,
watches over the various goings-on with a calm, patient gaze.
Andrea Pinheiro; Director/owner of 180 projects,
knocks holes in walls, orders vast amounts of popcorn, 
and prepares for this weekend's upcoming exhibition/film screening.

 Why Media Arts? Because like any other field,
be it education, business, or entertainment.
those working in the arts must maintain awareness and familiarity 
with the technologies available to them.
Because the roles of filmmaker and music producer have
been wrenched from the hands of elitist corporate studios
and are now within reach of anyone with access to a laptop and a

The Filmmakers:


Born in the Sault in 1982, an artist and writer from an early age,
Shoust pursued both these practices throughout his youth.
While attending journalism school in Windsor, he started to get serious about painting,
and worked in radio for a couple years.
He began writing his first novel, THE BEGGAR
(published by Black Rose Writing), upon returning to the Sault for a newspaper job.
Shoust moved to Victoria to escape the recession and pursue his work in the arts
There he began his career as an artist and continued to write seriously.
                              18 months later he moved to Saskatchewan to write for two local papers.
There, he continued painting and soon graduated with a BFA back in the Soo.
 His writing ranges from fiction to non fiction, from new journalism to dream journaling.
Victoria to Vancouver is a super 8 film, and winner of the Rising Star award at the 2013
Canadian International Independant Film Festival in Vancouver.

‘Victoria to Vancouver’ was shot over three days in the summer of 2004.
I tried to compact the three days into three minutes of film,
(using) the super 8 camera more as a still camera than for motion picture.
I made single shots to try to represent memory,
when a person reflects on a voyage and all the images of those
events flutter back to them.
This film was produced in 2007 as a silent film, but took on a new identity
in 2012 with the help of Stephen Lang

 What role does film play in your work? What does the medium offer you that your other pursuits cannot?

It fills the holes between painting and music. It's that simple.

And how did this collaboration with Stephen Lang come about?

For this film it was like Steve knew what the perfect music would be in my mind. 
It really helps to fuse the video with the audio like you are daydreaming.

Sounds like a very organic process. Have you two worked together before?

This was our first project. He later edited America dreamt for me.

What changes did this piece undergo in between being who in 2004 and its 2013 award-winning screening?

Not much. I had a musician that did a lot of talking from Victoria but did nothing. It wasn't until I gave the only two reels shot to Steve that things started to happen.

Shoust has produced four works as filmmaker:
Victoria to Vancouver (2012)
Skate Renegade (2013)
Vortex (2013)
America Dreamt (2014)


A fine arts student at Algoma U,
Castilloux’ SMAC Fest offering focuses on one of the
Residential Schools that existed in her hometown of Chapeleau.


  My work is a short video focusing on a Residential School which was in operation from 1907-1921 just across the river from where I grew up, in Chapleau Ontario.  More than 20 children died there and no one knows where their graves are, as the site was abandoned in 1921 after a new school was built a few km away. The school was called the Chapleau Indian Boarding School.

What motivated you to make this particular film?

Well, I'm a student at Algoma U, which is the former Shingwauk Residential school.  While learning about Shingwauk and looking at the archives I decided to search for information about the Chapleau school.  I had always known about the school located just outside of town, but I didn't realize there had been in fact, two.  I decided to focus on the first school built because there didn't seem to be much information known about it and the students who attended.

Is film a new medium for you? 

Yes, film is a new media for me.  The video was originally filmed as a supplement to a class assignment. My film was an accompaniment to a blog I have detailing my research and discoveries about the school. The entire project was done for a class in which we looked at how archives and art were connected. 

How did you end up studying fine arts at Algoma?

I ended up at Algoma U by chance; I had always wanted to study Fine Arts but there were no places to do that where I lived.  I finally had the opportunity when I moved to SSM.
 detail from installation by Michael Burtch

Indeed, the stated goal of the 360 Collective to empower, educate, and equip new media artists
With the means to conceive realise, and show their work seems to be gaining steam.
This festival is not only a place for Northern Ontario artists to showcase their work;
it is a motivation for artists who may not identify as filmmakers,
or even have a clear understanding of what it means to be a media artist.

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