CDMLA Events


In-person and online public programming featuring originating from the Crista Dahl Media Library and Archive. Includes ongoing online exhibits and past events.


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.

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.

A New Way of Walking

A/Mending the Little Books of Margaret Dragu

Little Book videos include captions and audio description
A Conversation about Writing & Performance with transcript
 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. A recorded conversation between Margaret and Jacob Wren reflects on writing and performance.  This exhibit was created as part of the Sticky Impulse Series  and launched November 30, 2021.

What Remains: Meg Torwl

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. Originally part of the  Sticky Impulse Series.

Recollective: Vancouver Independent Archive Week

A series of free public events that highlight artist-run centre archives, artists working with archives, and the intersections between contemporary art practices and social movements in Vancouver.


VIVO Projects:
Trans Archival Futures
Pisces MidHeaven


In Visible Colours Remediated 2022

VIVO, Archive/Counter Archive, and the Vulnerable Media Lab (Queen’s University)

September 23 & 24, 2022

Documentation coming soon.

Originally held in Vancouver from November 15th-19th, 1989, the ground-breaking event, In Visible Colours: An International Women of Colour and Third World Women Film/Video Festival and Symposium was co-founded by Zainub Verjee and Lorraine Chan in partnership with Women in Focus and National Film Board. With over 100 films and videos from 28 countries, In Visible Colours emerged amid socio-political upheaval of the late 1970s and 1980s that foregrounded race and gender and the politics of cultural difference.

Thirty years later, we bring together some of the original participants of IVC, alongside students, researchers, curators and contemporary producers. The event — organized in collaboration with VIVO Media Arts Centre, the Archive/Counter Archive project, and the Vulnerable Media Lab (Queen’s University) — is planned as an inter-generational, multi-sited gathering.

Keynote Speaker: Zainub Verjee.

Participants: Amber Berson, Jade Courchesne, Ann Marie Fleming, Sofia Jamal, Yasmin Jiwani, Karen Knights, Karin Lee, Midi Onodera, Gabriela Aceves Sepúlveda, Viola Thomas, Loretta Todd, Ana Valine.

Screenings: With films and video screened at the original programs. by Ann Marie Fleming, Carol Geddes, Sylvia Hamilton, Mona Hatoum, Midi Onodera, Claire Prieto, Pratibha Parmar, Lotty Rosenfeld.

Messages Across Time

September 15 & 16, 2022
Two screenings 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.

Every Queer Thing Launch

Screening, talk, exhibit
March 11, 2020

The launch of Every Queer Thing: A Guide to Archival Materials on Queer Identity & Experiences, a research project of VIVO’s 2019 Archivist-In-Residence, Sophie Roberge MLIS/MAS. The event included a video screening curated by Roberge, a selection of queer archival materials, and a presentation by Roberge.

Sticky Impulse Archive Night
The Poetical is Political

July 28 – August 11, 2000

Curated by KC Wei (Video Out)

What’s more political than identifying oneself as a poet? To wax language down from utility, to play with words and shift cognition; to rest on sound, form, and rhythm? This month’s Sticky Impulse features a selection of readings, conversations, abstractions, and physical ephemera from the Lenore Herb Archive and other videos from the Crista Dahl Media Library and Archives.

Stan Persky, Metro Media, c.1971.
The Poem Company (Beth Jankola & Cathy Ford excerpt), Video Brain 1974.
Sous La Langue 3rd stanza (Nicolle Brossard/Daphne Marlatt), Fast Forward Prod., 1990.
No Commercial Potential (excerpts), Ernest Gusella, 1978.
Water, Wind, the Record of Rocks, Laurie McDonald, 1979.
Pia Massie Reading at thirstDays no. 3, VIVO Media Arts Centre, 2016.
The Snows, Russell Wallace, 2014.

Publication excerpts:
Pulp vol.1 no. 11, May 1973.
easy come, Earl Courtney, 1973.
Write me an Adventure/I Love You Way, bill bissett, 1983.
The Literary Storefront Newsletter, 1982.
The Last Acts of Saint Fuck You (poster), Bern Porter, 1985.
Collage and Text, Pat Stevens.
Xeroxed Text and Collages, Lenore Herb, c.1983-1985.

Image: Lenore Herb Archive, Practical Knowledge, Summer ’69, published at Intermedia

Media Nights: Queer Arts Festival & VIVO

Return to Sodom North *
Vancouver Queer Video 1993-2000

Streamed July 19, 2020

At Video In and elsewhere in the ‘90s, a new generation of queer artists were expanding the west coast response to ongoing racialized and gendered suppression of queer bodies, expression, and desire. Experimental narrative, appropriation, and remediation marked video storytelling. Characteristics of abbreviation, play, and provocation portent the queer potential of new platforms and emergent counter-publics that would define the new milennium. The sum of this work speaks to the desire for a more equitable future; one executed with rigour, joy, and delicious wickedness.

Boulevard of Broken Sync (Winston Xin, 1996, 3min)
Helpless Maiden Makes an I Statement (Thirza Cuthand, 1999, 6min)
Defiance (Maureen Bradley, 1993, 6:50min)
Surfer Dick (Wayne Yung, 1997, 3:20min)
Unmapping Desire (Sheila James, 1999, 6:42min)
Transmission (Ivan Coyote, 1998, 7min)
Water Into Fire (Zachery Longboy, 1994, 10min)
View (Shani Mootoo, 2000, 6min)
Search Engine (Wayne Yung, 1999, 4min)

*The title of this program refers to R.E.A.L. Women’s attempt to ban the 1990 Gay Games, warning B.C. would become Sodom North. The moniker was quickly appropriated for the queer publication, Sodomite Invasion, and Video In’s screening, Sodom North Bash Back.

VIVO curated two programs for Media Nights. Return to Sodom North drew on video produced between 20 and 30 years ago. The second program, Rupture Probe, was of recent video.

Sticky Impulse Archive Night
Sites & Sensibilities

June 30 – July 14

Two documentaries about Vancouver exhibitions that spoke to video art, site, and duration.

Luminous Sites [1986 60min.]Canadian video installations focusing on social forms of representation curated by Daina Augaitis (Western Front Gallery) and Karen Henry (Video Inn). Artists Tomiyo Sasaki, Barbara Steinman, Paul Wong, Ian Carr-Harris, David Tomas, Cornelia Wyngaarden, Max Dean, Kate Craig, Randy & Berenicci, Vera Frenkel.

FLV: Feature Length Video [1988 60min.]
The first international festival to critically highlight the growing field of independently-produced feature length video, curated by Paul Wong and Karen Knights (Video In). Artists Rien Hagen (Netherlands), Bruce and Norman Yonemoto (US), Marusia Bociurkiw (Canada), Ira Cirka (US), Jonnie Turpie (England), Robert Morin (Quebec), Norman Cohen (Canada), Bill Viola (US).

Online: Sticky Impulse

How to Be a Recluse

May 26 – June 8, 2020

While most of us are staying close to home, VIVO is still digitizing the tape archive. This eclectic selection for this month’s Sticky Impulse are videos that have been made by people who have lived in Vancouver or had a relationship with VIVO at some point. They all dance with ideas around social and cultural isolation and bonding.


How to Be a Recluse (7 easy steps)
Laurel Swenson 1998 4:39
We live in a busy world and isolation seems to be the only way to escape the buzz of lists, inspirational catchphrases and reminders to upgrade now! The peace of ignoring the phone may be bliss, but what about when we get what we ask for and are forgotten altogether? The director mulls over the bittersweet reality of escaping. This is a video about wanting to be alone and being lonely, a meditation on the cult of individuality and independence in our anxious urban world.

Paul Manly 2006 60:00
Sombrio documents the end of a diverse community of surfers and squatters that existed on the southwest coast of Vancouver Island for more than thirty years, the last wild-west pioneer community. It captures some of the residents over a two-year period and reveals their personal stories and convictions as they come to terms with their impending eviction and follows up with them six years after the fact.

My German Boyfriend
Wayne Yung 2004 Duration: 18:29
Country: Germany
A gay Chinese-Canadian encounters ethnic stereotypes as he seeks his ideal boyfriend in Berlin. A comedy about mistaken cultural identities, a diary of immigrant isolation, and a love letter to a boyfriend who might have been.

Sakino Sepulveda, 2010.
How a simple public display of affection between two men on a public street provokes a violent homophobic reaction.

Sticky Impulse Archive Night – Online
Lavender Conception Conspiracy

Curator Emily Guerrero

Tuesday, April 28-May 12, 2020

Lavender Conception Conspiracy takes its name  from a lesbian mothers support group-slash-DIY insemination and pregnancy  skill share from the mid 1980s, during a time that queer parents had little legal protection nor medical support.

Spatially and politically, East Vancouver has been a hot spot of dyke and queer parents since the 1970s.  Drawn to the neighborhood by the abundance of affordable, single family dwellings available in the ‘70s through the ‘90s, working class queer people and single moms carved out their own political and cultural spaces, in ramshackle communes, lefty cafes, and on the playground.

Sticky Impulse Archive Night – Online
Remotely Queer: The Videos of Joe Sarahan

March 31 – April 21, 2020

A Selection of  Joe Sarahan’s videos produced between 1986-1994 in Vancouver.

Rise and Fall of an Empire (1986)
Holy Joe (1987)
An Hour of Peace (1987)
III (1989)
Dave (1991) A co-production with Paul Wong
CURSE of the HOMO (1993)
West Coast Homo Love (1994)

Joe Sarahan is Winnipeg-born, Sur-Del-raised, and a Vancouver-based artist producing video between 1983 and 2002. Sarahan was an integral member of the Satellite Video Exchange Society for over a decade, working at Video Inn and Video In Studios as an arts administrator, curator, technical instructor and graphic designer. His videos have been widely exhibited and collected by the Art Bank of Canada, The National Gallery of Canada, Art Metropole, The Ludwig Museum in Germany, and Canal+ in Paris.



Every Queer Thing: Launch + ExhibitionA Subject Guide to Archival Materials on Queer Identity and Experience

A project of VIVO’s 2019 Archivist-In-Residence Sophie Roberge MAS/MLIS.  Multiple screenings and exhibition of rare materials from the archive.

Censorship, Sexuality & Resilience
7 March 2020 at Griffin Arts Project

Building on the main themes of sexuality, self-organization and activism, Vancouver artist Paul Wong revisited the controversy surrounding his 1984 project tiled “Confused: Sexual Views” which was banned by the Vancouver Art Gallery, and the ensuing legal battles that he fought and lost. Produced just before AIDS had reached epidemic proportions, this piece features twenty-seven individuals as they speak about bisexuality and challenge conventions of behaviour and human relations. Joining the conversation, was Karen Knights, VIVO’s Archive Manager, who looked at the Vancouver arts anti-censorship movement of the 1980’s, and her support of Wong’s work “Confused: Sexual Views”. Co-presented with VIVO Media Arts Centre.

Sticky Impulse Archive Night
Aphemera: Punk AV, Zines + Other Ephemera

February 25, 2020
An evening of archival anarchy. Dive into the deliciously messy personal collection of artist and provocateur Lenore Herb AKA Doreen Gray. Zines, posters, set lists, photos, music, video recordings, and her personal writings on Vancouver punk in the 70s and 80s.

e-phem-er-a (noun)
meaning things that exist or are used or enjoyed for only a short time.

a-phem-er-a (modified noun)
Substitutes the prefix “a” – meaning “not” – for the first “e” in “ephemera”
meaning things originally thought to exist or be used or enjoyed for only a short time until an archive gets hold of them.

Sticky Impulse: In with the Old

January 28, 2020
A selection of video produced between 1988 and 1992 about propaganda and the news media’s reaction to, and complicity in, the rise of a new generation of anti-Queer legislation in England and the US, and the Gulf War. A contemporary epilogue welcomes us to 2020.


News World Order
Deep Dish TV, 1990, 30:00, USA
This episode of The Gulf Crisis TV Project looks at the media’s reaction to, and implication in, the Gulf War, and national media activism opposing the U.S. involvement in the Middle East.

The Gay Agenda
The Report, 1992, 20:00, USA
Produced by the Springs of Life Ministries in California, and distributed by many Christian Right organizations, this is the first of four anti-LGBTQ videos that fueled evangelical homophobia. On the up side, it contains some of the most transgressive Pride parade action making it a must see for those who’ve only experienced 21st century parades.

Neil Bartlett: Pedagogue
Stuart Marshall, 1988, 11:00, England
Performance artist Neil Bartlett plays a school lecturer who betrays his sexual orientation when the videomaker asks him to describe the contents of his briefcase. This video was produced in response to homophobic legislation in Thatcher’s England.


A Message
Clark Nikolai, 2013, 5:55, Canada
Members of royalty inform the citizens of an impending arrival.

Butch & Other Queer Masculinities, Part II
Guest Researcher: Sophie Roberge

November 26, 2019
This edition of Sticky Impulse further explores understandings of queer masculinities—queer masculinities in place and through time; internalized and embodied; rejected and embraced.

Lest I Burn, Shani Mootoo, 1991, 4:00
Mootoo stakes a claim through visual and aural signs surrounding Vancouver’s Commercial Drive neighbourhood … This is Amazon Land.

Not Like That: Diary of a Butch-a-Phobe, Maureen Bradley, 1994, 13:00
Looking at the artist’s internalized fears of appearing butch, this video attempts to overcome this particular type of homophobia that is evident in queer culture.

Butch Tits, Jen Crothers, 2010, 3:00
Butch women discuss the sometimes complicated relationship they have with their breasts.

Boi Oh Boi!, Thirza Cuthand, 2012, 9:00
After a long period in life identifying as a Butch Lesbian, Cuthand considers transitioning to male.

Roberge was Archivist at the Crista Dahl Media Library &  Archives in 2018. This year she is our Archivist-in-Residence. Roberge will be creating a digital guide to the queer materials found in the archives, providing insight into the history of queer art and activism at VIVO.  Every Queer Thing: A Subject Guide to the Queer Materials at the CDMLA will be launched on the archive’s website in late 2019. Roberge is also guest curator of first two iterations of Sticky Impulse.

Sticky Impulse: Archive Night
Butch & Other Queer Masculinities, Part I

Oct 29, 2019
Inaugural event of a new monthly series. This September, artist Joe Sarahan formalized the donation of his archive to the Crista Dahl Media Library & Archive. Sophie Roberge, VIVO’s Archivist-In-Residence, presents Sarahan’s West Coast Homo Love Story (1994),  a 40-minute, semi-narrative journey that flips homo-erotic stereotypes on their head while exploring detachment, silence and loss.

Joe Sarahan is Winnipeg-born, Surrey-raised, and a Vancouver-based artist producing video between 1983 and 1994. Sarahan was a member of the Satellite Video Exchange Society for over a decade, working at Video Inn and Video In Studios as an arts administrator, curator, technical instructor and graphic designer. His video works included “Curse” of the “Homo” (1993), Dave(1991), I I I (1989), Master Plan (1988), Holy Joe (1987), Rise and Fall of An Empire (1986), and 007, Flight Into Danger (1983). His works have been widely exhibited and collected by the Art Bank of Canada, The National Gallery of Canada, Art Metropole, the Ludwig Museum in Germany and Canal+ in Paris.

Trans Archival Futures

June 1, 2019
Vancouver Independent Archives Week: Recollective [2019]
Artists Chase Joynt and Chris E. Vargas presentations of their recent archival and film projects MOTHA: Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art  and  Framing Agnes. Respondent: Cait McKinney


Pisces Midheaven

November 8, 2018
Respondents Elisa Ferrari and Casey Wei talk with the CDMLA’s Karen Knights about the Lenore Herb Archive and their project, Pisces Midheaven.

Elisa Ferrari is an artist and curator, who works with text, image, and sound. To consider acts and implications of retrieval, she produces projects that manifest as installations, sound walks, artist books, and performance; often addressing or incorporating archival fragments. She is part of – – / dashes, a sound performance collaboration with John Brennan.
Casey Wei is an artist, filmmaker, and musician In 2016, she began Agony Klub, a music and printed matter label that releases material under the framework of the “popular esoteric”. In October 2018, she completed a music documentary on the Vancouver music community, art rock? The Popular Esoteric. She plays in the musical projects Kamikaze Nurse and hazy and is the co-founder of Stills: A Moving Image Tract, with Steffanie Ling.


Reenacting Histories: A Talk by Dr. Sara Diamond

October 12, 2018
Dr. Diamond examines docufiction, the work of the Women’s Labour History Project, and her video art works. In the 1980s and 1990s performance, re-enactment, the melange of fiction and documentary, and “bad acting” were tactics used by video artists to unsettle notions of documentary realism, provide alternate readings of histories, elicit or manifest subjective interpretations of events, or provide a feminist sense of time. The work of Sara Diamond and the early work of the Women’s Labour History Project used these tactics, which were drawn from film theory, feminist criticism and documentary practice. Sara Diamond discussed these roots and drew from her works of personal documentary/autobiographical narratives and early docu-fiction.

Sara Diamond was an educator and curator for a decade at VIVO Media Arts Centre before founding the Banff New Media Institute (1995). She is currently President of OCAD University.