Sticky Impulse

What Remains: Meg Torwl


March 30 – April 12, 2021

The Exhibit

This Sticky Impulse gathers a selection of what remains on this unceded territory following Meg’s leaving on June 21, 2013. Meg willed her archive to The Lesbian and Gay Archives of New Zealand (LAGANZ)/Te Pūranga Takatāpui o Aotearoa.  Unfortunately, this threatened to erase the public memory of Meg and her work on this side of the Pacific. Thanks to friends Moira Simpson and Chris McDowell, and her aunt, Catherine Asher,  a local collection – The Megacy – was assembled. It includes digital copies, not-selected objects, and treasured keepsakes- an unofficial remembrance of the cultural and activist practice of Meg Torwl, and in particular, her time in this city known as Vancouver. In keeping with these strategies of reuse and rescue, it also includes links to resources in New Zealand memory institutions.


Visit these five pages for a scan of Meg’s multidisciplinary practice:

Speaking for herself  Biographical material, featuring what may be the last recorded interview with Meg: a candid and personal introduction to the artist.

Identity Quotients Calculator includes an explanation of Meg’s IQC research and Standard Deviation theory, and documentation of her multidisciplinary spoken word performance,”That’s So Gay!”. Each reflects on the affect of embodied difference for the “multiply marginalized”.

Communities features her documentary collaborations with women from across, and intertwined with, the lesbian, queer, refugee, BIPOC, feminist, and disabled communities she worked with, and often, within.

Left Behind explores themes of inequity, loss, creativity, and personal intersections. It features a video assemblage from her unfinished project – 9 Lives 6 Months – and writings that echo these themes as they relate to her experiences of living with illness and disability.

I think I shall write a book shares a selection of Meg’s writings and video about the natural world and illustrates its lifelong impact on her as a source of creativity, and spiritual and physical renewal during times of transition.

Meg’s sketch of her beloved starfish is scattered throughout – a symbol in this exhibit of those jewel-toned mysteries in shallow, seaside pools from our youth, or, today, those unexpected doodles on dusty, archive folders  –  things that compel us to explore further. They will open the “Other materials” – Meg’s writings, videos, and photos on page themes.


Transcripts of audio-visual material are included where available. We will be actively working to make Meg’s works more accessible over this next year.

Sticky Impulse Archive Nights

A quarterly series featuring works from the Crista Dahl Media Library & Archive. Its title references the materiality of video – from the originating electrical impulses that transfer content to magnetic tape, to a videotape’s inevitable demise from deterioration of its core elements – and evokes the problematic,things difficult to navigate or to let go of, creative spontaneity, compulsion, euphoric abandon, or the urge to act. Expect video (often), but also textual records, audio, photographs, legacy technology, and ephemera from our collection.

About Special Collections at the Crista Dahl Media Library & Archive

Since 2013, the CDMLA has accepted artists’ personal archives. We steward the archives of Sara Diamond, Margaret Dragu, Lenore Herb, Mary Anne McEwen, and Joe Sarahan. While the artist/activist must have worked in media, most of these archives include a wide range of non-audiovisual materials.

If you are a artist/activist with a signficant connection to the west coast, and wish to discuss your archive with us, contact