The More Things Change... Reflections on 40 years of the Centre for Art Tapes

21 May – 11 July, 2021

Veronica Simmonds reviewing footage from CFAT's archives. Image courtesy of CFAT.

“To celebrate the Centre for Art Tapes’ (CFAT) 40th Anniversary, five artists were invited to dig through the CFAT archives and react to what they found. Since 1979, the Centre for Art Tapes has been supporting artists working with media technologies by providing subsidized public access to professional equipment, facilities, technical expertise, educational resources, mentorship, and other forms of professional and creative support. Housed at the Dalhousie University Archives, CFAT’s collection holds past works by media artists who have worked at the Centre, printed matter from events, and organizational documentation.

“To mark this milestone the CFAT Programming Committee invited some of Canada’s most exciting media artists to come and sort through our secrets. Each visiting artist was assigned a decade: Life of a Craphead, an artist duo made up of Jon McCurley and Amy Lam, were given the 80s, Raven Davis the 90s, Divya Mehra the early 2000s and Veronica Simmonds the 2010s. With the exception of Veronica Simmonds, all of the artists were coming into the Centre without ever having worked with CFAT.  The artists were encouraged to look critically at our history with fresh eyes and make observations about our history without the baggage of personal experience.

“For two-week residencies, the artists watched, read, and consulted with local artists to get a picture of their decade. Through this process the artists discovered stories not only from CFAT’s history, but also Halifax’s. They considered who was in the archives, whose stories history highlighted and whose were left behind, and how some things never change. With four very different approaches, the artists have spent the past year turning their observations into newly commissioned works to be shown for the very first time in this exhibition.” - Tori Fleming, Executive Director