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Videofag turns two

The gallery and performance space celebrates with an exciting new season

Michael Dudeck's The Messiah Complex 5.0 is a highlight of Videofag's 2014/15 season. Credit: Michael Dudeck

Has Videofag really been around nearly two years? Founded with not much beyond a few cans of paint and a prayer, the former Kensington Market barbershop turned gallery is going stronger than ever. We caught up with Jordan Tannahill (who co-helms the space with William Ellis) to talk about the just-announced 2014/15 season and how long they expect to keep the whole thing afloat.

What’s the process like for programming the space?

We want to remain as approachable as possible. If you have an idea, we want to hear it. We love inviting artists over for coffee or dinner to chat about their ideas. About half the projects we curate are from artists we approach, and the other half are artists approaching us. The process hasn’t really changed from when we first started. We’re still able to make time to speak with everyone who makes contact with us, which is important. We never want to grow too big for our britches. 

Tell me a bit about what you have coming up for your 2014/15 season.

We’re really excited to be presenting Bruised Spirits of Southern Ontario, by Caroline Azar and Opera Arcana (Oct 31–Nov 1), a Goth rock-opera band featuring Minus Smile, of Kids on TV, and GB Jones, Azar’s Fifth Column bandmate. We’ve been hugely inspired by the queer trailblazing of Fifth Column and Kids on TV, and this project feels like an exciting continuation of this intergenerational dialogue. On the other end of the spectrum, we’re really excited to be supporting the work of a number of emerging artists, like Eshan Rafi, Joele Walinga and Laura McCoy.

We’re also pleased to announce we’ll be showing a performance by Michael Dudeck, an artist from Winnipeg whose work explores queer spirituality, ritual and ancestry. Michael reached out to us a couple months ago and we invited him for a creation residency in December 2014. When another Michael approached us (Michael Rubenfeld, the artistic director of the SummerWorks Festival) about being a curatorial partner for the newly announced Progress Festival, we knew we wanted to present Dudeck’s project as our contribution. That piece will be The Messiah Complex 5.0, a durational lecture performance exploring religious concepts of origin from a queer/feminist perspective.

There were rumours floating around that Videofag might be closing up shop. Any idea how long the project will last or what its future might be?

That’s a question Will and I ask ourselves every day. It’s a lot of work, and sometimes we want to throw in the towel. But there’s always so much inspiring work to keep us going. I think there’s something about the precariousness of the whole thing, that it could go under at any moment, that lends a certain excitement and urgency. We know we’re in it at least until February. Beyond that is anyone’s guess.