Welcome to VIVO’s Crista Dahl Media Library & Archive

The Crista Dahl Media Library & Archive (CDMLA) at VIVO Media Arts Centre is situated on the stolen Unceded Coast Salish Territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. It houses a significant repository of videotapes by artists and independent producers. Spanning 60 years of production, its 8000 media works reflect the complexity of video art history.

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A screening featuring a selection of video art and documentation footage from Video Out’s distribution archive. Created by producers Nitanis Desjarlais (Cree/Metis,Tsimshian/Gitxsan), Sarah Shamash, and Annie Fraziér Henry (Blackfoot/Sioux/French),  and Monitor North (Thunder Bay), these works showcase the power of youth voices and their leadership against ongoing colonialism across time and space. Drawing together messages from Elders to youth as well as the voices of Idle No More in the 2010s and Native Youth Movement in the late 1990s/early 2000s, Messages Across Time asks viewers to consider and witness the legacy of these moments today.
Curated by Syr Reifstek
Also by Syr Reifstek: 
Presence – A Research Guide to Indigenous Materials at the CDMLA, a finding aid highlighting videos, ephemera, publications  and other records created by, with, or about Indigenous peoples within the archive.


49 Years of Satellite Video Exchange Society Programs 
The Satellite Video Exchange Society – operating as Video Inn, Video In, Video In Studios, and VIVO Media Arts Centre – has produced public programming since 1973. Some of these events have been documented. So has, much rarely and more informally, the internal workings of the collective and organization, and its cultural workers.  For the past year, we’ve been digitizing our documentation collection including videos, audio, photographs, and documents. A portion is now available online or by request. 
This Project has been made possible in part by the Documentary Heritage Communities Program offered by Library and Archives Canada / Ce projet a été rendu possible en partie grâce au Programme pour les collectivités du patrimoine documentaire offert par Bibliothèque et Archives Canada.
The images, such as they are, do have an effect on us
By Hazel Meyer & Cait McKinney
In the 1980s, many feminists opposed to porn drew on the language of gender violence to make their case, arguing that all sexually explicit images of women were harmful. Working against this position and the creep of censorship into smaller moving image formats in the province, queer and feminist artists defended sexual expression and created alternative visual languages for sex. Each side organized conferences and screenings, wrote position papers, protested, and kept making their work through it all.  Playing with questions of polarization and memory, the artists created two dossiers: one represents the working files of an anti-porn feminist; the other of an artist/organizer involved in anti-censorship work. Some of the records are real, others are imagined based on scraps, remnants, and gossip.
Playing with questions of polarization and memory, the artists created two dossiers: one represents the working files of a feminist opposed to explicit sexual imagery; the other of an artist/organizer involved in anti-censorship work. Some of the records are real, others they imagined based on scraps, remnants, and gossip.
A video still as an image of a black and white paste-up publication to an image of a 1984 image of a tan Macintosh Computer with a pixellated script of the word "hello" on the screen. The page includes captions.
A/Mending the Little Books of Margaret DraguOngoing
Dragu Videos include Captions and Audio Description
This Sticky Impulse revisits and reimagines Margaret Dragu’s publishing project Little Books (1987-2011) aka Same Day Edit Press. These “create-in-one-day” paste-ups of “poetry, manifestos, stand-up monologues, short stories, and rants” capture the slippery struggles of Margaret as artist, wage labourer, mother and activist. Dragu, in collaboration with Access Artist, Cheryl Green, continues her investigation into the potentiality of publishing in three new videos that amend and expand on original content from her Little Books. Includes a conversatin between Jacob Wren and Margaret on writing and performance. (transcript available).
From the Paul Wong Archive
Art, Culture & Politics Through the Portable Video Lens (1973-1993)
This exhibit features the early video experiments by Vancouver media artist, Paul Wong – as creator, videographer, director, and collaborator – with the first portable video technology that emerged in the 1960s (1/2″ open reel) and the much smaller and lighter formats of the 1980-90s (Video 8/Hi-8 cassette). Wong captures the cultural and artistic trends of this place: early works of now well-recognized artists and the influence of American and international artists and practices. Included are rare recordings commissioned by Helen Goodwin for The Performance Warehouse. His personal, previously unreleased recordings feature environmental protests and insightful and intimate portraits of family, revealing iterative themes and strategies evident in Wong’s practice today as he continues to embrace portability and stealth through the extraordinary capabilities of smartphone technology.



Celebration ’90
Gay Games III & Cultural Festival
Online at Digital Museum Canada
Celebration ’90 chronicles the fascinating eight-year journey taken by a small group of Vancouver amateur athletes which led to the first Gay Games to be hosted outside the United States. The exhibit is centered around s video documentation and interviews with staff, volunteers, and athletes, shot by Fast Forward Productions  founded by Vancouver producer and lesbian activist,Mary Anne McEwen).

Women & West Coast Labour 
80 years of action for equity in domestic & workplace labour by women in B.C.
This exhibit features media and publications from the Sara Diamond and Women In Focus fonds.
Part 1: Chambermaids to Whistlepunks
Part 2: Working Women In Focus

ACA Logo Square
Archive/Counter Archive
Gendered Violence: Responses & Remediations
VIVO is an institutional partner with York University’s SSHRC project Archive/Counter Archive. Our case study starts this April. Researchers include Gabriela Aceves-Sepulveda, Amber Berson, Zoe Druick, Susan Lord, & Cait McKinney. Public programs begin this fall.
Recollective: Vancouver Independent Archives Week
Recollective is a joint initiative of 221AArtspeakgrunt galleryRungh MagazineThe Morris and Helen Belkin Art GalleryVIVO Media Arts CentreWestern Front, and Allison Collins, Curator.
VIVO projects Pisces Midheaven: The Lenore Herb Cassette Collection and Trans Archival Futures with Chase Joynt & Chris E.Vargas.




Every Queer Thing
A Subject Guide to Archival Materials of Queer Identity or Experience.
A searchable online finding aid for LGBTQ2S+ media, publications, and Special Collections at the CDMLA.
What Remains: Meg Torwl
The most recent iteration of the Sticky Impulse,  a series that features our Special Collections. The What Remains exhibit drawn from the Meg Torwl fonds. Video, radio, poetry, drawings, and photographs related to the practice of  queer and disability activist, Meg Torwl, created in British Columbia and New Zealand.
Women, Art & the Periphery
Mujeres, arte y periferia
Documentation of Chilean artists Diamela Eltit, Nellie Richards, and Lotty Rosenfeld In Residence at Women In Focus and Video In, 1987.
Cerizay: they dared_En Greve
En Grève! 1970s French Activisms at the CDMLA
1970s French militant video & related CDMLA resources. A supplemental exhibit and guide to videos presented as part of  En grève: 1970s French Labour Activism on Screen, a project of Unit Pitt and VIVO.


Open by appointment only. Occupancy limits apply.
Please forward appointment requests to library@vivomediaarts.com.
We are also happy to assist with remote research.