Film production students demand action against structural racism in Concordia’s Film department

Faculty commits to changes incited by Film Production Students for Inclusivity and Action organization

In fall 2020, the Film Production Students for Inclusivity and Action (FPSIA) drafted a letter of demands, clearly outlining their recommendations to address structural racism within Concordia University’s Film department. After collecting over 100 student and alumni signatures, their initial demands were met and accomplishments outlined in a recent Instagram post.

FPSIA demands

  1. Transparency and accountability in the department’s recognition of the demands and concerns raised in the letter.
  2. Transparent hiring process for new faculty members from diverse backgrounds.
  3. Increased BIPOC perspectives and subjects within the department’s curriculum.
  4. Increased responsibility for teaching assistants within the department.
  5. Clarity in the admissions process and that the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema work together in collaboration with students towards inclusivity in the film industry.
  6. A redefined jury system for Filmmaking II & III (FMPR 332 & 432), with a redistribution of roles and resources, in favour of “real world experience.”
  7. Refreshed training for faculty, staff and students regarding the Code of Rights and Responsibilities, and that the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema makes a commitment to handling complaints filed underneath the Code.
  8. Future equipment purchases be made with accessible, affordable options, and that money acquired through donations can be distributed as grants or bursaries to students who need it most.

Faculty commitments made thus far 

  1. The Film Department has formed an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committee to address the FPSIA’s demands listed in the letter. The committee holds seven seats, with two reserved for students. Two seats are currently occupied, one by the co-chair of the department, along with Assistant Professor in Cinema, Marianna Milhorat. Three committee seats are also reserved for a full-time, part-time and technical staff member.
  2. The faculty, who has previously committed to annual artist-in-residence positions, is reserving this position for a person who self-identifies as BIPOC or who is otherwise deserving through rich community engagement experience.
  3. Workshops, training programs, and funding opportunities have been implemented.

In a conversation with Flora Nwakobi, member of Film Production Students for Inclusivity and Action (FPSIA), Video Editor at The Concordian and Film Production student Adam Mbowe framed the need for diversity and inclusion at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. Watch the interview below.

The FPSIA will be hosting a discussion on the topics of Film, Gender, and Education with Dr. Tracy Ying Zhang, Alexia Roc, and Whitney Norceide on Feb. 24 at 7:30 p.m. For more information or to attend the event, visit their Facebook page.


Feature graphic courtesy of Flora Nwakobi.


Happening in and around the white cube this week…

Three years ago the white cube began as a list of art happenings in and around Montreal. Last year, the column took a turn into my own art thoughts and experiences. When the pandemic hit, and Lorenza Mezzapelle took over as arts editor, the column ceased. But now that exhibitions are back, so is the white cube. Here’s to hoping they don’t shut down these cultural institutions any time soon *wine glass emoji*.

Happening in and around the white cube this week… 


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Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery: Concordia LB Building – Bishop Street entrance.
Edith Brunette and François Lemieux, Going to, Making Do, Passing Just the Same. Until March 27.

Galerie Nicolas Robert: 10 King St.
Carl Trahan, La nuit est aussi un soleil and Ghazaleh Avarzamani Particular Good Game for Self Punishment. Until March 13.

McClure Gallery: 350 Victoria Ave.
Marie-Eve Martel (Concordia Alumni), Hétérotrophies. Until Feb. 27

OBORO: 4001 Berri St., #301
Christof Migone, Press Record. Until March 20.

Art Mûr: 5826 St. Hubert St.
Group exhibition for Art Mûr’s 25th anniversary, Terra Nova | Looking at the present and the future. Until April 24.

Bradley Ertaskiran: 3550 Saint-Antoine W.

Marie-Michelle Deschamps, Oasis, and Celia Perrin Sidarous, Flotsam. Until March 13.

Blouin Division: 2020 William St.
Group Exhibition, Quarante. Until Feb. 27

ELLEPHANT: 1201 Saint-Dominique
Group exhibition, Floating Paper. Until April 3.

VOX: 2 Sainte-Catherine E, #401
Sky Hopinka, Dislocation Blues. Until May 29.


New galleries

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Somewhere GalleryVisits by appointment. 6830 Ave. du Parc #358. Alternative gallery space set up in an office building, owned and curated by recent Concordia Fine Arts graduate, Katherine Parthimos.

  • Digital Daydream, Feb. 20-27. Featuring five emerging artists and recent Concordia graduates.
  • Upcoming VAV Gallery collaboration, yet to be announced, date set for March 17-24.

Gallery Jano Lapin: 3819 Wellington St. Exhibition space and artist studios for rent.

  • Ribboned Rainbow until March 12. Celebrated creativity during the pandemic, curated by gallery owner, Anne Janody and visual artist/recent Concordia Fine Arts graduate, Jose Garcia.
  • Upcoming: My Magic Reality. From March 28, featuring over twenty local artists. Curated by Marilyne Bissonnette


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Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA):  By reservation only.

    • Manuel Mathieu, Survivance. Until March 28.
    • Yehouda Chaki, Mi Makir. À la recherche des disparus. Until March 14.
    • Group exhibition, GRAFIK! Until July 3. 
    • Riopelle : à la rencontre des territoires nordiques et des cultures autochtones. Until Sept. 12.

Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC): By reservation only.

  • John Akomfrah, Vertigo Sea. Until April 4.
  • Recent acquisitions, Des horizons d’attente. Until Sept. 19.
  • Group exhibition, La machine qui enseignait des airs aux oiseaux. Until April 25.

Canadian Centre for Architecture: By reservation only. 

  • Main galleries: The Things Around Us: 51N4E and Rural Urban Framework. Until Sept. 19.
  • Octagonal gallery: Eye Camera Window: Takashi Homma on Le Corbusier. Until Aug.15.

McCord Museum: Reservation recommended.

  • Christian Dior. Until May 2.
  • Robert Walker, Griffintown – Evolving Montreal. Walking exhibition. Until March 7.


Warehouse studio hubs and artist-run-centres

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Fonderie Darling: 745 Ottawa St.

Belgo: 372 Ste. Catherine W

*More but potentially out of date information about the many individual galleries within the Belgo building available here. I guess you’ll just have to go and see for yourself! 

5445 & 5455  de Gaspé Ave:

Never Apart: 7049 St-Urbain








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Place Publique, Fonderie Darling: 745 Ottawa St. Until April 11.  Everything Merges, Emerges, then Fades Again: Selected works from artists-in-residence at the Fonderie Darling over the course of the pandemic to date.

Cinematheque québécoise: 355 De Maisonneuve E.
Jamais seul. Until April 4. Free entry to view video installation by Stéphane and Philémon Crête.
Catherine Ocelot, une année à la Cinémathèque. Until April 11. Culminating work from Ocelot’s artist residency.
Exhibition: Excursion dans les collections : l’image à la maison. Until May 23.


Vitrine exhibitions

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La Centrale galerie Powerhouse: 4296 St-Laurent Blvd.
B.G- Osborne, A Thousand Cuts. Until March 21.

Pierre-François Ouellette: 963 Rachel E.
Ed Pien, Somnambulists and Luc Courchesne,  Anamorphosis. Until March 13.

Articule: 262 Fairmount W.
tīná gúyáńí (Deer Road), k’ō-dī īyínáts’īdìsh (new agency). Closed Feb. 21. Upcoming programming available here.


Upcoming Exhibitions and Festivals

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Fondation PHI pour l’art contemporain: 451 & 465 Saint-Jean
Lee Bae, UNION. From Feb. 24 until June 20. By reservation only.

Centre Phi: 315 Saint-Paul W.
Multiple exhibitions and virtual experiences. Reopening in-person on Feb. 24. 

Projet Pangée: 1305 Pine Ave. W
Group exhibition, The ideal place is an open field. Feb. 25 until April 3.

Art Souterrain:
The 13th edition of the festival will feature the work of over 30 artists and performers, both online and in-person, from Feb. 20 to April 30. More information here.

Art Matters: More information and updates to come here



Let us use reusable coffee cups again

Single-use containers are wasteful and don’t actually protect you from COVID-19

Let’s set the scene: it’s a warm, rainy autumn afternoon, and I am running errands —  looking for linen pillowcases in the Plateau, to be exact. I found them; gorgeous, bright yellow ones. I had to look for them because I had ordered some online and they were “returned to sender.” Long story short, I asked for a reimbursement but still ended up paying for shipping, so I decided to continue my search in real life and support a local business. So, I get the yellow ones to brighten up my life, I stop to pick up some groceries (frozen tortellini), and impulsively walk into a new coffee shop on Mont-Royal Avenue.

My sisters and I had stumbled upon it a few weeks ago, when we could still sit in a café, only to find out they weren’t actually open to the public yet (their door was literally wide open at the time). So the shop is that brand new, to me anyway. We were intrigued because the new shop is called Columbus Café, and why is anything called “Columbus” anymore? It’s 2020. F*ck Columbus. I thought we were all on the same page.

Back to this warm, rainy day. I follow my query and order an elaborate coffee —  the only reasoning I can come up with to justify paying for coffee when I have a perfectly good espresso machine at my apartment. The “Café Latte de l’Ours” is Columbus Café’s signature drink, with crushed speculoos (a type of cookie) and honey. I order it with oat milk and whipped cream.

The entire time I drink it, I’m honestly hating myself, thinking: “Why did I just do that? Why did I buy a cup of coffee just to see… see what? I’m only adding to the waste cycle —  no matter what this cup says, it can’t be recycled or composted in Montreal.” I finish my cup and ceremoniously throw it in a garbage bin at a nearby park. Was it worth it?

I’m a big fan of treating yourself to a fancy coffee every once in a while —  with a reusable cup. I miss my reusable cup, something that has stayed deep in my kitchen drawer over the course of the pandemic, safe for a few camping trips. I’m so angry, fueled by an article I read about how the recycling industry is a lie, another that reveals the truth behind “biodegradable” labels, and a third that announces Tim Horton’s “miraculous” new reusable takeaway container program.

Why can’t they just let us use what we already have?

Not that I would ever go to Tim Horton’s anyway —  I’m of the opinion that the Canadian company’s splendour took a major downfall when Burger King bought them in 2014. But waste production levels have surged over the past six months, and it’s time we bring the reusable coffee cup back into the picture. Providing plastic take-away containers for a small fee, made from recycled plastic or not, is only creating more waste in the long run.

So, as it turns out, Columbus Café was the very first coffee shop chain to be established in France, first opening in 1994. The chain has about 200 shops in a number of countries and also specialises in muffins. In sum, while the name might be questionable, Columbus is definitely better than Starbucks or Tim Hortons. The company is committed to serving fairtrade and eco-certified coffee, “using only eggs from alternative farms to cages, by 2020 at the latest” (whatever that means) and free-range poultry.

Their website also outlines their source of paper packaging and compostable straws, as well as identifying an interest in opting for wooden cutlery. While their transparent cups (cold beverages only) are made of PLA, a fully “biodegradable” polymer, they say nothing of their hot-beverage cups, and under the current circumstances, we can assume reusable cups are out of the question.

Pretty please, let us use reusable coffee cups again. I am begging you. 

Even science “supports the end to the reusable coffee cup ban,” according to this article by Jodi Helmer for FoodPrint. “Banning reusables failed to account for possible contamination of single-use plastic cups … latest research shows that the virus lives longer on plastics than other surfaces, increasing the risk from single-use plastics.” Even though potentially contaminated single-use cups will be immediately disposed of after their use, it doesn’t stop opportunities for cross-contamination, even before the coffee is served by a barista and their (hopefully) disinfected —or better yet, gloved — hands.

Furthermore, what’s the difference between the virus staying on single-use coffee cups and say, something like door handles or public benches? Long story short, using reusable cups is no safer than single-use cups.

If this is the case then why are we still stuck on banning reusables?

I really just want to have fancy coffees from coffee shops and walk around with them. In my own mug. I need a reason to leave my apartment, especially now that our lockdown has been extended once again. I also really want to support local businesses. Sure I can buy coffee grounds from them to bring back home, but it’s just not the same.

I would also love to know the story behind Columbus Café’s name and bear logo, because right now, that’s oh so very *French* of them. And by *French* I mean nationalist, bourgeois and colonial AF.


Feature graphic by @the.beta.lab

Student Life

The Woodnote: finishing touches

 Zoom-fatigue, red-zone isolation, and finishing touches at the Woodnote.

Our mailboxes were installed! Life at the Woodnote is starting to really take shape now, I never realised just how much having a mailbox made me feel like a real person.

Since I last wrote, most of the balconies have also been installed, the silver diamond-shaped siding has been finished, and the construction workers have started adding plants everywhere. It looks great!

Despite the exterior of the building really starting to come together, I still think the interior hallways need some work. I can’t help but wonder if the concrete floor will remain as is, and if they will add some kind of trim where the wall and floor meets. Right now, in the first floor hallway, there is about an inch gap where unfinished drywall should meet the floor.

Tenants received emails from the co-op board encouraging us to join committees. According to a document outlining membership involvement opportunities, several committees are being developed and will be proposed at the Woodnote’s annual general meeting on Oct. 18. These committees include Anti-Oppression, Safer Spaces, Member relations, Outreach, Labour, Arts and specific projects, and much more. Although nothing has come of it yet, I hope that I might be able to have a say in jazzing up the hallways a little bit as a part of the Arts and specific projects committee. I don’t mind the white walls, but some fun, artistic touches and murals couldn’t hurt (think, the murals in the staircase leading up to the greenhouse in the Hall building.)

It would be difficult to coordinate such a project now, under the current red-zone restrictions. Tenants have been asked to limit their interactions with others, in addition to using hand sanitizer at the entrance and wearing masks in the hallways.

All I can say is I’m glad I’m not living alone in this studio apartment. I know others that are, and it must be so challenging to keep from feeling totally isolated. Although online events have a great way of suggesting this aura of togetherness, the Zoom-fatigue is real and even as an introvert, I miss working around other people in the VA building’s studios. I wish there was a way for us Fine Arts students to work in the common room, socially distanced, with masks on. But sadly I don’t think that is a possibility in the slightest. The common room is still bare, safe for construction scraps, garbage and recycling. I wonder if it will be developed at all this year, and where the garbage and recycling bins will be kept once the common room is ready.

Documenting this move has definitely been an interesting exercise in self-reflection for me, giving me the opportunity to think back on the weeks prior, really notice all of the subtle changes and truly appreciate this space that I have come to love. I hope that this small series will inform and inspire future Woodnote tenants. This is an exciting place to be, and I’m glad I get to be a part of it.

Missed the last articles about The Woodnote? Read more here.





Photo by Chloë Lalonde, and video by Adam Mbowe.

Student Life

The Woodnote: Peeking behind curtains

I just yelled “hey, on a des cours en ligne, enlève la music ou baise la volume” out of my window hoping the construction workers blasting the radio outside would hear me. They didn’t. At least I have wifi now.

When Videotron finally came to install the wifi, I had to move around all my furniture because apparently there is a specific cable wire that the router needs to be plugged into and my wonderful credenza was in the way. Now it’s three inches off the wall, because the cable is that rigid. My partner and I are considering making a hole in the back of the unit, feeding the wire through and back out underneath. We’ll see if that actually happens.

The past two weeks have been a jumble of spending too much time outside with inappropriate clothing for the recent chilly weather, worrying about having COVID, not having COVID, seeing friends I haven’t seen in months, attending lots of art shows, shopping for prints to decorate our bare walls and plants to decorate our windowsill. Oh, and I can’t forget the ridiculously long fire alarm test last week that burst my eardrums.

As the construction worker’s French radio starts to grow on me, my concerns for my HelloFresh meal kit delivery grows. Recently, packages have been going missing at The Woodnote. Tenants think people from the street are walking in and stealing them or that they are straight up not being delivered. The building’s postal code was updated in early September, but it has not yet been recognized by Canada Post, nor have mail boxes been installed; so the situation is super precarious right now. Yesterday, according to The Woodnote’s Facebook group chat, a homeless man was spotted vaping in the mezzanine.

The temptation to create one of those “things in my Montreal studio apartment that just make sense” TikToks is enticing. Directly in front of one of our kitchen cupboards is a hanging light. Why is it there? It’s impossible to open the cupboard without hitting the light. Can I ask for it to be removed? And to whoever’s job it is to fix these kinds of things, while you’re at it, this piece of green tape on my window marking a chip in the plastic also needed to be fixed before I moved in. Also, my dad thinks my fridge doors should be reversed. But I’m too stressed to ask because we made too many holes in the walls and I don’t want to get in trouble. Yes, we’ll patch them, and yes, I’m overexaggerating.

At first, the Facebook chat was super chaotic and awful. But as the weeks go by, I’m glad it exists. Tenants are sharing printers, moving each others’ packages to safety, giving tips and tricks on how to stop your smoke detector from going off when you’re cooking, and how, or what, to bring to the property manager’s attention. I’m grateful for such a community that’s there when I need them, but also a mute button away when I just don’t want to hear about it.

The building’s laundry machine system is kind of a scam, mirrors have fallen off walls, dents have been made, and strange ladies (potentially reporters) wait outside to ask tenants about the new cool co-op building. It’s not all bad though, I really love my little apartment and concrete view. It keeps me focused on school and work instead of distracted by the blue skies. I actually feel productive! I’m not kidding!

All in all, I think the building has good bones, but there is still so much work to be done.


Photos by Christine Beaudoin

Student Life

The Woodnote: Moving in, no wifi and starting university online

As I write this, it is T-3 days until my wifi is supposed to be installed. Hopefully by the time you read this, it will be. This week has been a rollercoaster. On Friday, Sept. 4, my parents and I picked up the big pieces of furniture from my partner’s place. My dad bought a new Jeep truck in quarantine, so we were ready to use it, to say the least. My partner was in an online class at the time so we packed without him and returned to my house, where we proceeded to pack all my stuff, bundling the truck in blue tarps in case it rained. Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m. was our move-in slot. And thus began the parking problems. My boyfriend and I were fortunate enough to have a lot of help from both our families, but unfortunately this meant parking was an issue, and one overwhelming parking dispute and an apologetic email later, we were moved in — well, our stuff was anyway.

258 square feet of boxes, a bed, a desk, a nine-drawer mid-century credenza (our dresser), carpet and bamboo table with a ridiculously heavy glass top… and we left to have lunch at my partner’s grandparents’ back in Laval. We set up the basics that night, but left the next day again to cat sit and attend my cousin’s socially-distant birthday brunch, also in Laval.

Suddenly, it was Tuesday and E-school was starting, without wifi. My boyfriend and I spent the whole week running from cafe to cafe, before I eventually caved and joined The Woodnote’s Facebook group, asking if anyone was willing to lend me their wifi.

Going from pandemic isolation in the suburbs (or weekend camping trips and drives to Gaspé) to sudden immersion in a world that seemed opposite to what we lived the last six months was a shock to the system. Sure, tidbits still resonate, masks in the unfinished hallways, stairwells and in the stores— but I have not been this out and about since March and I am exhausted.

Back to the building: I had passed by its exterior over the summer, so I knew what it looked like, with red brick and unfinished diamond-shaped grey siding unfinished balconies with wood barriers blocking the doors, and a common room filled with recycling bins. Both staircases in the building look like emergency staircases, not warm, welcoming, main staircases like I suppose one would typically encounter. It is industrial to say the least, and I was, and still am surprised that it isn’t any nicer. It is more industrial than the emergency staircases in the Hall Building, but without the greenhouse murals.

My apartment on the other hand, is great, pretty much exactly what I expected: a five-foot fridge and lots of cabinet storage, one big closet with sliding doors, and a really nice bathroom. We look out onto the cement wall of the building next to us. No windows looking out at us, so that means curtains are the last thing on my to-do list. We bought some hanging plants that thrive on neglect and indirect sun, and mounted our not-so-small tv on the wall above my partner’s desktop computer. It’s pretty decked out— imagine Wade’s set up from Kim Possible, then tone it down a bit. It’s really coming together. Now we just need stuff to put on our bare walls, wifi, and to figure out how to do our laundry.


Photo by Christine Beaudoin

Student Life

Co-op living: What is The Woodnote?

The Woodnote is a long time coming. First proposed to the CSU Council in September 2014, the housing co-op would be the first of its kind in Montreal, and six years later, the building has finally come to fruition.

According to the CSU’s website, they have always been an advocate for student housing rights by way of HOJO (the Off-Campus Housing and Job Resource Centre). So when UTILE, a non-profit organization dedicated to developing and studying student housing co-op initiatives within Quebec, proposed their student housing co-op feasibility report, it was added as a referendum question in the upcoming by-election, and the rest was history. In the next couple of weeks, I will be chronicling my experiences with the initiative.

Finding affordable, off-campus housing in Montreal, let alone any major city, is challenging, if not impossible. Growing up in the suburbs adjacent to Montreal, living outside the city was fine for me. My one hour transit to and from school everyday allowed me to lose myself in podcasts while taking a break from the constant stream of social media and emails. But getting home after late nights was an expensive taxi ride, so I didn’t do it often, and missed out on a lot because of it.

I heard about The Woodnote in ads around Concordia over the past year or so. I was aware it was a thing that was happening, but I never thought it would be something that I would be involved with. But when my artist residency was cancelled this spring and all the money I had saved for it was sitting in my bank account, I decided it was time to move. I began looking for apartments for rent under $850. After several unsuccessful searches, I got an email from The Woodnote reminding students to apply. Shortly afterwards, my application was accepted.

My original plan was to sneak in my boyfriend of almost seven years, who isn’t a Concordia student. Yes, it’s been awhile, and yes, it was time we moved out. However, I was happy to know that housing rules only required one Concordia student per household, so we were in the clear. I later learned that priority was given to Concordia students, given the project was funded by the CSU, but students from other universities were encouraged to apply afterwards.

I applied for a studio apartment (which averaged under 250 square feet) and was assigned a unit on the third floor facing the interior courtyard. I switched about three times before I was satisfied. Now, I still haven’t seen the apartment, but I know this one is over 250 square feet (which is why I swapped) and located on the side of the building, facing a cement wall. The thought of facing a cement wall is nicer to me than what would otherwise feel like a panopticon.

I moved in on Sept. 5. I’ll let you know if all my quarantine interior design planning for a space I’ve never visited works in my favour, or if it’s a complete mess. I can already tell you that I won’t have wifi set up until Sept. 14, so that will be a fun start to a new online semester.


Photo Courtesy of the Woodnote Cooperative


Concordia Film Festival: Online

The Concordia Film Festival (CFF) is returning online this weekend for its 47th edition. Run by Concordia students across the university, this year’s festival was organized by film animation student, Mélissa Rousseau, and film production student, Juan Opsina.

Still from The Mother’s Land, directed by Kevin Rahardjo from Indonesia.

With respect to social distancing, the planning for the festival occurred entirely online. The process, while smooth, was not hiccup free.

“We’ve lost a lot of our talks and workshops,” said Rousseau, “but fortunately this allowed us to accept all submissions from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema and create three mixed screenings dedicated to Concordia students.”

While the festival doesn’t present themed selections, the CFF is proud to feature diverse voices and experiences.

“Almost half of our Spotlight screenings are BIPOC student films,” explained Rousseau.

Still from Tender Hearts, film directed by Lauren Jevnikar from the United States.

After the opening speech at 1:30 p.m. on June 20, Rousseau and Opsina will jump straight into their only panel, Women In Film Education (W.I.F.E), an event discussing female representation in film production. Rousseau is particularly looking forward to the international student Spotlight interviews, conducted by the Head Spotlight Programmers. There are four Spotlight categories: Lights Out (genre films), Visions (underrepresented voices), Insight (documentaries), and Kaleidoscope (experimental), each containing several films from students around the world.

The entire festival will be held on Twitch for free, accessible, and high quality viewing around the world.




Rousseau’s suggested BIPOC watch list:

From Concordia:

Guardian (Misha Bellerive, Concordia film animation student)

Mitochondrial (Dir. Laura Kamugisha, Concordia film production student)

Hyphen (Dir. Laura Kamugisha, Concordia film production student)


From elsewhere:

The Lost Village (Dir. Kaelo Iyizoba, Nigeria)

Psychosis (Paolo Cesti, USA)

Greenwood (Dir. Benjamin McGregor, Canada)

Midden (Dir. Adriana Gramly, USA)

Women of Steel (Dir. Miriam Muhiie, Egypt)

Don’t Shoot the Messenger (Dir. Bianca Malcom, USA)

Pass (Dir. Elika Abdollahi, Iran)

Gay As in Happy: A Queer Tragedy (Dir. Jordana Valerie Allen-Shim, Canada)

The Mother’s Land (Dir. Kevin Rahardjo, Indonesia)

Sleepwalker (Dir. Andrea Yu-Chieh Chung, USA)

Fun to Cook (Dir. Dongjun Kim, USA)


For more information visit: 

And to be a part of the audience, watch Concordia Film Festival’s live stream through Twitch on June 20 and 21 here:

Photos courtesy of the Concordia Film Festival (CFF).


Annual graduate student exhibition Ignition moves online

What can we learn from the first wave of virtual exhibitions?

With online exhibitions and art events on the rise, a new standard for criticism is sure to follow. Simple photo galleries aren’t cutting it: viewers want more engagement, something new and cutting edge that really takes advantage of the internet’s wide range of artistic possibilities. Tim Schneider, art business Editor at ArtNet, listed four key components to creating effective online viewing rooms in a recent article:

1. Distinguishing the viewing room from regular online shops by including links to artist statements, portfolios and more

2. thinking outside of the white cube and allowing for a rotation of artworks that would create new dialogues and opportunities for solo shows

3. controlling the accessibility of the viewing room by offering options to sign up for newsletters, donate money, or purchase an artwork

4. promoting the viewing room on other online platforms, allowing  opportunities for public engagement ex-situ, and opening the floor for conversation on video chattings apps

Concordia’s Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, located in the LB building, has recently made the switch to online programming for their final exhibition of the year, Ignition 16. Ignition is an annual exhibition featuring the work of graduating masters students from Concordia’s Faculty of Fine Arts.

The gallery has opted for a weekly turnover, featuring select artworks from the exhibition in line with a specific theme. The week of April 13 focused on the idea of feedback, spotlighting three of the featured artists. Their programming asks viewers, “what experiences and responses arise when feedback falls silent, tightens its constraint, or contradicts the output we’re accustomed to?”

During the exhibition, members of the virtual public were invited to watch Ahreum Lee’s Memory Palace, an autobiographical account of the intersections between politics, technology, the immigrant experience and  family, to consider society’s control of bodies through Diyar Mayil’s sculptural series (dis)bodied, and to view documentation of Janice Ka-Wa Cheung’s YOU ≠ I, an interactive installation exploring digital narcissism and the uncanny within the everyday.

The gallery’s website isn’t very obvious to navigate, and it takes some sporadic clicking around before you can make it off the homepage. Once you find your way to the programming, you are met with three columns of bold text, and it is within the middle of one of these columns that you will finally reach the online exhibition. In and of itself, the online exhibition doesn’t seem any different from the gallery’s usual webpages for in-person exhibitions.

The feature image on the Ignition 16   page has no context either, although I presume it features the artist’s works—but whose, exactly? The page is divided into two wide columns, one containing a breakdown of the week’s themes (upon my visit on April 17, only the description for the week of April 13 was available), and the other containing the curatorial statement and a list of the artists.

It is only in this second column that the works are accessible to viewers. Each artist section contains a description of their practice, a statement for the selected work, questions to spark further exploration, and links to further information (usually the artist’s own website).

While some of the ideas brought up under the “explore” subheading are quite relevant in this time of social and physical distancing, unless you are going to write about the works or plan to ponder the gallery’s questions in the intellectual corner of your home with a lovely beverage, these questions do not really promote active engagement.  I am left wanting more, wanting full screen viewing, not a window with 15 tabs open for me to click through and eventually get overwhelmed and bored by. These artists had their graduating exhibition cancelled, so they deserve full screen gallery representation.

Among the nine artists, the best received works were the video pieces, hyperlinked on the Gallery’s webpage via Vimeo. It’s evident why that is: audio-visual work thrives online. It’s incredibly accessible, and anyone can view it in it’s intended quality when following the right link. Interactive pieces shared through documentation are a close second, especially when viewers are granted insider access to the artist’s process. Although I’m sure the work could have been designed in another way, with the specific purpose to be interacted with online and under the current circumstances, it’s understandable why it isn’t.

These are trying times we’re living through, and we are all learning as we go and doing the best with what we’ve got. This experience has left me wondering what we can learn from the first wave of virtual exhibitions. How can we better them for future renditions? How can we include this kind of digitally-accessible content in everyday museum and gallery programming as the pandemic blows over?

Share your thoughts with us @TheConcordian on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

PS, we are hiring for the 2020-2021 academic year! For more information visit

Feature image courtesy of the Leonard and Bina Art Gallery. Gif includes the works of Ahreum Lee, Memory Palace, 2019-2020, Christopher Johnstone, Five Acres, 2020, Diyar Mayil, Leaky Pants, 2018 and Janice Ka-Wa Cheung, YOU ≠ I, 2019.


Social isolation participation masterlist

Here’s a list of things worth checking out this April


RAW is looking for 250 fashion designers to create masks to help support hospitals around the world.


Visit Skawennati’s AbTeC Island in Second Life by following the instructions at this link. Free to participate with the Second Life software.


Skin Tone: how will we hold onto each other live-streamed performance at the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery (part of In the No Longer Not Yet) Watch here on April 1, at 5:30 p.m. Free to participate.


Living with Ataxia , virtual exhibition from April 4 to 10 at GHAM & DAFE Gallery’s online platform available here. Read more about the exhibition on Facebook. Free to participate.


Parallel Lines, virtual artist residency at Centre Phi, applications upon until April 1 at midnight. Free to participate, and 10 lucky artists will receive $2000 for their work!


Balcony sing-a-long, courtesy of POP Montreal and URSA , with local bands, every tuesday until April 28. Free to participate.


The Good Drama, a virtual intergenerational activity, held in collaboration between the Office of Community Engagement at Concordia University, the Sustainability Action Fund and Bâtiment, will be facilitated by Drama Therapy Masters student, Sandy El-Bitar via Zoom. These sessions will take place Tuesdays at 5 p.m. until April 14. Zoom ID posted in the event’s discussion page on Facebook. Free to participate.


Art Hive Live, on Facebook, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 4 to 5 p.m. until April 15. Free to participate.


Online salsa classes with the San Tropes Dance School every Wednesday from 7 to 8 p.m. until April 15, for as low at $10.


The Social Distancing Festival, international celebration of visual art, dance, music, comedy and theatre (even operas!) Events running until the end of May are free, though there is an opportunity for donation.


Visit Place Less, an online exhibition space designed by Concordia student, Colin Courtney. Currently only viewable through Instagram (@place.less), Place Less’ first, form-free exhibition features eight local artists working in both digital and material practices.


A collection of free and paid videos (ranging documentary films to experimental productions and animations) is available on Vithèque, with special programs, May We Live in Peace, screening free until April 13, and Funny Women (no end date as of yet.) You must create a free account in order to view. Stay tuned for the release of dv_vd : Rachel Maclean on April 23.


Don’t forget about the National Film Board of Canada’s online database, now also offering educational programming for children and teenagers, as well as online “campus” resources for teachers.


ArtJam vol. 36 will be available via Facebook and Youtube Live on April 3 for their first-ever virtual edition.


Google Arts & Culture is encouraging users to “Recreate art at home” through their “Pose of the day” feature. Among Google Arts & Culture’s plethora of collections and activities are lab experiments, virtual travelling, and, naturally, Harry Potter: A History of Magic, a special from the British Museum.


Visit La Cenne’s current exhibition, Lentement le temps, a collaboration between visual artist and illustrator, Charlotte Gosselin (@charlotteecharlotte) and Camille Lescarbeau (@camillelescarbeau), via the space-rental tour on La Cenne’s website.


Artnet also put together this list of “11 Things Not to Miss in the Virtual Art World This Week.”


The Dark Poutine podcast community is putting together a digital cookbook! Instructions about how to participate are available here.


Grimes released the greenscreen footage for “You’ll miss me when I’m not around,” which she invites fans to download and edit via We-Transfer link found in the video’s descriptions. The artist also included a lsit of free/cheap software to use to do so. Upload to Youtube and tag your videos with #grimesartkit to share!


Blink-182 is also seeking contributions to their music video for “Happy Days” to combat social distancing blues. Videos must be filmed on mobile devices vertically and can be submitted here. Read more about the initative here.



Not on the list? Know of anything more? Send an email to and I’ll be happy to add your event!


Happening in and around the white cube this week…

Changing the way we interact with each other, technology, and the way we make art

Hello, and welcome to the white cube, online version. Should this be a podcast? Maybe.

Over time, I’ve gone through waves of whether or not I wanted the white cube to be capitalised and this is it, finally: no caps. It will just be in italics, that way you know I am referring to this column and not to an actual white cube. Moving on.

I have spent more time than ever on my computer this week. It’s truly astonishing. I’ve used it for everything. Working, writing, countless emails, bingeing Tiger King, and of course, becoming a ~digital artist~. So, I’ve taught myself how to make gifs using powerpoint and a screen recording Chrome add-on and, since I don’t have photoshop, I’ve been playing around with more Chrome add-ons, like Sumo Paint. My style is painterly, naive and wobbly—oh, how I have grown to love this word over the past two weeks.

I feel wobbly. Picture a jelly bean on its back, rocking back and forth. It can only stay still on its side. It’s unstable, and that’s how I feel. I don’t feel sad or angry, nor do I feel worried or anxious. I know this current situation is out of my control, and I’m riding the waves. I’ve lost my footing and I’m finding it again. I don’t want to talk about the c-word anymore.

Instead, let’s talk about this Instagram account, belonging to Max Siedentopf, a German multidisciplinary visual artist and now apparently, my wobbly dream-come-true.

Look, I had no idea who this guy was when I stumbled upon the account (between falling asleep during Baumgartner Restorations’ Youtube videos,) but I was immediately enthralled by his Home Alone project. As I’m writing this, Siedentopf’s account is home to 50 ways to occupy yourself while you are home during this global crisis, or more nicely put, Global Crisis of Being Stuck at Home: a survival guide. Check it out. You are very welcome.

Siedentopf posts the next day’s challenges on his Instagram story, inviting followers to choose and photograph themselves doing them, for him to share in galleries on his feed the following day.

Home Alone Day 9  (March 27)

  1. Place your bed vertically
  2. Find a way to communicate with aliens
  3. Build your own indoor mountain
  4. Use your mouth to become a human fountain
  5. Sleep in your bathtub for variation
  6. Wear all your jewelry at the same time to stand out

This bit of participatory/interactive performance art almost feels like a meme. Though Siedentopf is initiating the performances, he isn’t actually doing them. His prompts are simple, yet incredibly bizarre, resulting in the uplifting content we didn’t know we needed. Siedentopf’s creative endeavour stands out against the waves of posts tagged with “isolation art club” and “quarantine art club.” There is a surreal pressure on creativity right now. With all this time we have, we’re forced to face a burst of inspiration or stagnancy, telling ourselves we have no excuse to not exercise our artistic practices and creative hobbies.

I can’t help but wonder what the world will be like post-c-word. The way we interact with each other, technology, and the way we make art is changing more and more everyday.

On Animal Crossing, some artists are even throwing together virtual exhibitions. Most recently was Brighton-based artist, Stephanie Unger, who hosted an ultra-creative exhibition on the game, inviting players from around the world to visit.

Can you taste the future isolation-flavoured art world?


Who was Mileva Marić?

Marić at the Lake casts a shadow on Einstein

Did you know that “Einstein” or “ein stein” means “one stone” in german? “Ein” is “one,” and “stein” is “stone.” Mileva Marić (say, Mil-ehva Marrritch), is a slavic name, with a less obvious meaning. Some search results show that “Mileva” means “favourite,” others show that “mileva,” or “милева” is bulgarian for “mile,” and “Marić” can be broken down into many things. “Mari,” in french, refers to “husband,” but in romanian, “mari” means “big.” “Marić” could also just so happen to be a common name in Serbia, like “Smith” or “Boucher,” which allude to the profession of the family’s ancestors. One particularly interesting website (, states, rather negatively, that “Maric” is the name of an ambitious, work-oriented, introverted person who is logical, motivated, aggressive and uncompromising.

Mileva Marić (1875-1948), Albert Einstein’s first wife, seems to embody all of the above, or at least, the way Concordia’s theatre department portrayed her did. With the spotlight shining ever so brightly on the physicist who defined the theory of relativity, one of two pillars of modern-day physics, Marić fell in his rather large shadow. But, as they say, behind every man is a great woman一only popular culture can’t seem to define how great a woman Marić was.

There have been continuous, inconclusive debates about her potential contributions to Einstein’s work, which serves as the foundation for Marić at the Lake. The play, a collaboration across programmes in the department of theatre, is a reaction to the 1976 opera, Einstein on the Beach. Composed by Philip Glass and directed by Robert Wilson, this five-hour opera was epic and magical, though it focused entirely on Einstein’s genius. Concordia’s rendition to this painstakingly long number was equally brilliant, speculative, much more inclusive, and only 75 minutes long.

In director Cathia Pagotto’s notes, she writes, “despite Marić’s hardships, we choose to believe she may have observed the patterns in her life with poetic objectivity, that she would have seen the absurdity, tragedy, and poignancy of her surroundings, and embraced the beauty of a life that appeared to have fallen on the wrong side of relativity.” Pagotto, the cast, production and design team, did just that.

With a cast playing rotating roles, everyone got a chance to portray Einstein and Marić in their own way. The devised play was created through collaboration, improvisation and trial and error. Marić at the Lake brought together design, acting and performance creation students from across the department of theatre.

Design and performance creation come together in the fall for a six-credit class where they began to workshop ideas for a show that will take place in March or April. Once the script and storyboard are lined up, actors apply for a three-credit course that will select them for one performance or another. What made Marić at the Lake a particularly unique experience was the visual script. Ideas had to be represented in movement according to the actors’ own strengths, talents and abilities.

The actors, part of the theatre departments Acting for the Theatre and Performance Creation programmes, had the rare opportunity to perform non-verbal roles. Their storyline was carried instead through movement, similar to a dance or silent film. Some students in the Design for the Theatre program came together in a performance creation class to layout the visuals for the play, ensuring every element was striking enough to speak for itself.

Þórhildur Sunna Jóhannsdóttir designed the play’s many costumes, ranging from traditional Serbian-inspired garb, suits, dresses and giant bubbles. Not only did they situate the time and mood of the piece, but they added just an extra bit of humour, speaking volumes to a clouded story.

Jóhannsdóttir’s Marić claims the stage as her own, diminishing Einstein. This is Marić’s story.

The set design, by Anna Toneguzzi, was kept rather simple, with a slavic-inspired rug, symbolic of Marić’s ties to her family and culture, and clouds up in the sky, for Einstein’s air of importance.

Einstein and Marić work together, and at opposite ends of the room, furiously scribbling away. The two physicists met at a university in Zurich, and took to each other immediately. During school holidays they would exchange letters, some of which are the only proof of Marić’s role in Einstein’s discoveries.

From Scientific American magazine,

In August 1899, Albert wrote to Mileva: “When I read Helmholtz for the first time, it seemed so odd that you were not at my side and today, this is not getting better. I find the work we do together very good, healing and also easier.” Then on 2 October 1899, he wrote from Milan: “… the climate here does not suit me at all, and while I miss work, I find myself filled with dark thoughts – in other words, I miss having you nearby to kindly keep me in check and prevent me from meandering”. 

Whether the piles of books on Marić’s head were proof of her own commitment to mathematics or just a burden she was carrying remains unclear. Considering these debates, Pagotto gave justice to Marić’s story, telling it beautifully. 



Photos courtesy of Antoine Saito.

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