Arts Arts and Culture Culture

“Cartoon Acid”: Between obsolescence and progress 

Visual artist Connor Gottfried pays tribute to the technology of his childhood.

Jan. 1 is often synonymous with renewal and new beginnings. In 2024, the first of the year also happened to fall on a Monday, making this staple date even more symbolic – a new week, new month and new year all at once. As this new chapter begins, Canadian visual artist Connor Gottfried is right on theme with his first-ever exhibition, “Cartoon Acid,” which explores obsolescence and rebirth. 

Gottfried’s artwork was showcased at Montreal’s S16 Gallery from Dec. 14 to Jan. 7. It consisted of colourful, punk technological pieces made with aluminum and acrylic, all featuring some sort of game system from many decades ago, such as an old Nintendo screen or the original Pacman video game. Two Care Bears plushies were sat in the middle of the room wearing what resembled a VR headset with a front screen playing the original Care Bear comics in  loop. 

Gottfried is an artist, a musician, and a “technologist” per his own words, based in Calgary, Alberta. He is the CEO of a company which develops e-learning softwares called Leara eLearning and has produced 25 music albums over the last thirty years as well. “I really like to explore the intersection of art and technology,” he said, “I was exposed to technology from a young age.  I’ve always been fascinated by screens and interactions.” Gottfried started integrating screens and video games into his artwork a few years ago, which led to the creation of more psychedelic pieces such as seen in “Cartoon Acid.”

The exhibition was inspired not only by the artist’s childhood but also by the rapid pace at which technology has evolved since he was a kid. “My works are about the technology of my childhood, but also about technology’s childhood. There was a time where technology was more innocent, still developing, where we played together with technology. Now, it is evolving  into artificial intelligence: it has started growing into its own adulthood and maturity,” Gottfried said. His artwork is an homage to those candid moments of joy he has shared during his childhood with what is now obsolete technology.

Arts Arts and Culture

Caitlin Dix captures tender moments in their monumental paintings

Recently shown in Concordia’s VAV Gallery’s temporary exhibition Cycles of Existence, Dix shared their process and inspiration.

From Oct. 23 to Nov. 2, the Cycles of Existence exhibition at the VAV Gallery featured a number of Concordia’s Fine Arts students who explore the mysterious cycles and patterns of history in their work. 

“Growth, the seasons, emotions, our bodies, strife in the world, breathing, everything we know seems to exist in a cycle,” stated the VAV Gallery on their Instagram. “Cycles of Existence explores exactly this—the cyclical nature of life, either in the subconscious, the physical, or the abstract.”

Caitlin Dix currently studies at the undergraduate level of the Concordia visual arts program. The Concordian spoke with the artist at the VAV’s opening reception for Cycles of Existence about their own installation, Tender Gardens.

Dix described their work as the display of archived family moments that captures their deep connection with nature through gardening, food preparation and sharing food with their family. Dix’s artistic practice encapsulates their childhood nostalgia, family heritage and generational practices. The ritualistic relationship that food has to family and nature emerges as a central theme in Tender Gardens

In this exhibition, they represent the women of their family, particularly their grandmother and mother, as modern-day gatherers—the active sustainers of the community and their family. Dix said that appreciating and caring for nature is inseparable from their family’s traditions. 

The installation involved three larger-than-life unstretched canvases, suspended from the ceiling. Broad strokes of bright colors—greens, blues and purples with the occasional orange or red detail—draw the viewer into a scene of Dix’s family members in a garden. The inviting work is meant to be fully immersive, where the viewer becomes a part of the scene in front of them—Dix’s grandmother smiles at them. 

Caitlin Dix, detail of Tender Gardens, VAV Gallery. Photo by Shaghayegh Naderolasli.

An interesting experience awaits viewers as they navigate through the installation. When standing in front of the pieces, viewers encounter a clear image of the scene and are invited to imagine themselves standing in the garden before them. The use of fiber materials to create textural illusions is incorporated into all three paintings, offering a multi-sensorial experience with objects, nature, and figures. 

Moving around to the reverse side of the canvas, the image becomes murky—a ghostly impression of the paint seeping through the canvas. This blurry version of the scene appears almost like a memory, creating a temporal distance between the viewer and the subject of the painting. The relationship between the two sides of the installation speaks to the passage of time; the time between witnessing a moment and seeking to remember it months or perhaps years later.

Caitlin Dix, detail of the reverse side of Tender Gardens, VAV Gallery. Photo by Shaghayegh Naderolasli.

See more of Caitlin Dix’s work on their Instagram account: @caitlin_dix_art.


Cinematic nostalgia: Immersing ourselves in yesterday’s embrace

Modern media is focusing its resources on historical fiction and rebooting old franchises, which raises a question about society’s current state. 

It seems like everything is either a period piece or a remake nowadays, doesn’t it? With the constant development of biopics such as Oppenheimer, Air, or the soon-to-be-released Napoleon, and works of historical fiction such as Bridgerton, Stranger Things, and Peaky Blinders, rare are the projects that highlight the joys and quirks of our current era. 

I recently watched A Haunting in Venice with my parents, the new Hercule Poirot murder mystery flick. I thoroughly enjoyed the picture’s intrigue and was left satisfied yet hungry for more. 

However, a question rests in the back of my mind: why is yet another movie set in the past? The Hercule Poirot series has always revolved around the 1940s, so I was not surprised to see the film set in 1947 Venice. Still, it made me reflect on the content I consume and why it’s set in my grandparent’s epoch.

Our modern lives aren’t interesting: that’s the answer I’ve come up with. Why are cell phones rarely referenced or brought up in films set in the present? Why don’t today’s romantic comedies hold a candle to those of the past? Why has our infatuation with the ‘80s spread to music and fashion? 

As technology develops, we are growing less social, less creative, and less in touch with reality. Fewer kids are out playing street hockey, malls and movie theaters are not the beacons of youthful discovery like they used to be, and parents are scrolling mindlessly on Facebook for hours on end. It is apparent that people are not living life to the fullest. 

We hear it all the time: “I was born in the wrong generation.” The phrase has become a joke at this point, but everyone seems to feel a particular affection for an era they never lived in yet experienced vicariously through a movie or television show. 

History is fascinating, as it defines our present as much as it does our past, yet it feels as though the more society develops technologically, the more we yearn for the simplicity of old times. It’s always easier to bask in old memories rather than create new ones. The core of the issue here is escapism. 

We spend so much of our modern lives avoiding any inklings of boredom and loneliness through social media, podcasts, and any other medium that will allow us to escape reality, that we fill every second of our free time with as much technological stimuli as possible. We yearn for the past because the past seems simple. Boring at times, but simple and purposeful, so of course we watch old movies and shows because they feel important. 

This is not to say that watching an old movie is a sign of emotional distress or an identity crisis. The past is comforting, but when it is weaponized as a countermeasure to the pressures of the present, introspection is needed. 

Perhaps we should address the issues of now instead of immersing ourselves in yesterday’s embrace by recognizing simplicity. Going for a walk without the phone, living an eventful moment without recording, speaking to a stranger, going to a restaurant by yourself, journaling about the little things—these all tie the soul to the present moment.

The little moments are what define us, and if they’re not nurtured and preserved, the same past that we so desperately cling to for comfort will engulf us all as our future passes us by. 


Spotlight on Tyra Maria Trono

Tyra Maria Trono, 3rd year Photography

Tyra Maria Trono is a filipina artist based in Montreal. Her work deals with personal themes such as individual identity and her direct social communities. It’s connected in a system of meaning that deals with the idea of the revival of childhood and the continual discovery of personal identity which encompasses the notion of her culture heritage. Themes of nostalgia, autobiography, and identity are often explored in her photography.

Tyra Maria Trono is currently a third-year photography student at Concordia University. She has previously exhibited work at several galleries around Montreal, most notably Le Livart (3980 St Denis) in 2018. She has also co-curated the first edition of Festival du Nouveau Cinema: Spotlight on Concordia University Fine Arts.

In 2017, she founded a photo collective called “For the Sake of Analog” alongside Edson Niebla Rogil and John Mendoza. Their mandate is to exhibit the richness and diversity represented by emerging POC artists through the medium of analog photography. Last year, the collective was part of the programming for the Mural Festival. Currently, they are working on their first photo book coming out in April 2020.


Outside her artistic practice, Trono has photographed for projects and events for Boiler Room, Moonshine, Lez Spread The Word, Éklectik Média, The Woman Power and Never Was Your Average.

Trono is also involved with the Filipino Organization of Concordia Students. After a hiatus of over 10 years, the club returned in 2019. The club’s mandate is to connect students, celebrate Filipino identity, and challenge issues that touch Filipino youth. Currently, she is working on a variety show and art exhibition, titled Show Pao, which will feature local Filipino artists.

Trono will also be facilitating an exhibition for the 20th anniversary of Art Matters. The exhibition, As to be Told investigates the ways in which stories can be articulated through artworks and how we translate personal or collective notions through narrative forms.

As to be Told will be open at Galerie Luz (372 Ste. Catherine St. W, suite 41) from March 17 to 21, with a vernissage on March 18, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

For more information visit .


Note from a Trusty Gryffindor’s Shelf

When I was a kid, my mom and I took turns reading bedtime stories together. Most have burned themselves into my memory: Max and Ruby: Bunny Cakes, Robert Munsch’s Purple, Green and Yellow, Ghost and Pete… The list goes on.

I still dream of the pink, sparkly cake Ruby made in the book; I think of Purple, Green and Yellow every time I use markers of those colours, and find Ghost and Pete’s rhymes stuck in my head obnoxiously often for someone who hasn’t read the book in more than a decade and a half. How many toes does a skeleton have? Ten! Sing it again!

But one book stands out among the rest. One shapes the person I am today, impacts where I choose to travel to, and found me repeatedly jabbing a needle dipped in ink into my left ankle two weekends ago––a line inside of a circle inside of a triangle.

(soft whimsical music playing)

Harry Potter. If you know me, you absolutely knew that was coming. Read on or don’t, I don’t care.

Unfortunately, I often seem to find myself surrounded by people who either are indifferent towards or actively hate Harry Potter. Please hold while I call their mothers to ask if they dropped them on their heads as infants. What kid doesn’t dream of an alternate universe in which the fantastic creatures of our imaginations actually… exist? Also, I don’t think I’ve ever actively hated anything as strongly as these people seem to hate Harry Potter, except maybe beets. What’s up with all the rage, muggles?

I don’t know about you, but I spent most of my childhood playing in an imaginary land my cousins and I created out of thin air. Don’t call a psychologist just yet, pals, because I had a pet dragon and you didn’t. No, I couldn’t see it. But to me, that didn’t mean it wasn’t there (shoutout to Albus Dumbledore). Sydney Buckbeak Bashyball the Third was very much alive to me––he was red, had yellow spikes down his spine, and could spit fire.

I distinctly remember spending hours reading the Harry Potter books from cover to cover as they were released. I went to the events Indigo would host on release dates, during which they kept the stores open until midnight. These books and films shaped my childhood, and, much like “Friends” and “Gilmore Girls,” they feel like home. Heck, I have a Marauder’s Map on my living room wall. Oh, and a poorly-drawn Deathly Hallows symbol on my ankle for the rest of my life.

So, be indifferent towards Harry Potter, if you will, but to actively hate it seems a little unnecessary, and it feels like dismissing magic as a whole. I can’t wrap my head around why anyone would want to do that.

And if you’re one of those people who has never read the books, meaning you’re basing your opinion entirely on the movies––do yourself a favour and read them. I am not ashamed to say that I have yet to find any book as enthralling as this series.

Mischief managed.


Photo by Matthew Coyte.


An Introduction to 90s R&B

The rhythm and blues records that bring nostalgia to our eardrums

R&B, the acronym for rhythm and blues, is a genre that sometimes gets lost in the shadows of hip-hop nowadays. In the 90s, just like hip-hop, R&B prospered, changed and grew. The move into experimental R&B set the scene for talented contemporary artists. In case you aren’t familiar with the smooth, cool, funky sound of 90s R&B, here are some picks for best artists and albums of the era.

Aaliyah – One in a Million (Blackground Records & Atlantic Records, 1996)

Aaliyah Dana Haughton was “more than a woman,” and she remains an R&B legend to this day. Her debut album, Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number, was released in 1994 when she was only 15 years old. The album sold three million copies in the U.S according to Billboard Magazine. Two years later, she worked alongside producers Timbaland and Missy Elliott to release an essential album of the 90s, One in a Million. It sold another three million copies in the U.S and over eight million worldwide according to Billboard Magazine. Aaliyah was known for her smooth seductive voice. You can hear the maturity in her vocals and lyrics—she inspired class, professionalism and dedication. The song, “One in a Million,” is one of Aaliyah’s classic hits, it is a romantic tune that will definitely make you fall in love with her. “If Your Girl Only Knew,” “4 Page Letter,” and “Hot Like Fire” were her top hits from that album. She had the voice of an angel and was taken from us much too soon at the age of 22 years old. A week after her death, her self-titled album, Aaliyah was released. She truly was “one in a million,” and her musical influence lives on and on and on.

Trial Track: “One in a Million”

Mary J. Blige – What’s the 411? (Uptown/MCA Records, 1992)

If you’re searching for some “Real Love,” Mary J. Blige gave it to you on her debut album, What’s the 411?, back in 1992. The album was produced by Sean “Puffy” Combs (now known as P. Diddy). It peaked at number six on the Billboard 200 and sold 3.4 million copies in the U.S according to Billboard Magazine. She is known for her soulful voice. Mary J. Blige was praised for mixing her powerful vocals with hip-hop—she was one of the first R&B artists to do so. This blend of genres can be found in “You Remind Me,” featuring Greg Nice, which peaked at number one on the R&B singles chart in the summer of 1992. Critics view her album, What’s the 411?, as one of the most important records of the 90s. Her second album, My Life, spoke about her dealing with an abusive relationship, drugs, alcohol and depression. She expressed feelings that every woman has felt at one time: “How can I love somebody else/If I can’t love myself enough to know when it’s time to let go?” are the lyrics from her top hit, “Be Happy.” She expressed how happy she truly wanted to be, yet she admitted “I don’t know why, but every day I wanna cry.” Her strong voice, along with her powerful emotional messages, touched fans across the globe.

Trial Track: “Real Love”

D’Angelo- Voodoo (Virgin Records, 2000)

Few artists do R&B with as much soul and funk as D’Angelo. Fusing jazz, soul and R&B, D’Angelo is one of the most important figures in the neo-soul movement that emerged in the 90s.  The artist’s second album, released in 2000, captures D’Angelo’s emphasis on complex musicality with original use of instrumentation and rhythm.  The artist’s first album, Brown Sugar, released in 1995, abided more to the traditional R&B and hip-hop conventions of the time. Voodoo was, in a sense, revolutionary to 90s R&B.  It reflected the jams and flows of the artist’s music collective, Soulquarians. The sound of D’Angelo’s second album moved in a more contemporary direction—a direction in which the artist continued and strove for in his latest album, the 2014 jazzy neo-soul masterpiece, Black Messiah. The sexual, sensual and personal album was part of an important shift in R&B. D’Angelo and Voodoo’s influence are still tangible in today’s R&B, in artists like Solange Knowles and Frank Ocean.

Trial track: “Untitled (How Does it Feel)”

Erykah Badu- Mama’s Gun (Motown/Universal Records, 2000)

Another prominent figure in the neo-soul movement, Erykah Badu was part of the Soulquarians music collective alongside D’Angelo.  Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, the drummer for The Roots, produced Badu’s second studio album, Mama’s Gun, which was released in 2000.  The album beautifully showcases Badu’s unique, identifiable voice and experimental R&B sounds.  She conveys raw, powerful emotion so naturally through her lyrics and vocals. The album is vulnerable—a painful but beautiful heartbreak album. What is particularly interesting about Mama’s Gun is how vulnerable the confident, sassy Badu lets herself be, in a musical genre that doesn’t necessarily encourage heartbreak or vulnerability in the same way pop and folk do. “I can’t imagine why I feel so weak, say, say/That’s when he took my heart in his hands, and kissed it gently,” she sings in “In Love With You.”

Trial Track: “Didn’t Cha Know”

Anthony Hamilton- XTC (MCA Records, 1996)

Hamilton’s debut album, XTC, released in 1996, is so pleasingly 90s. The sound is less experimental than Badu’s and D’Angelo’s, and has more of a classic, early 90s R&B vibe. Hamilton’s voice was made for R&B—both smooth and nasally, his vocals match his jazzy guitar and bluesy, slow drumline. Next time you’re chilling with friends or hosting a dinner party, switch this gem on for a groovy soundtrack. “And she said ‘baby baby, I know it might sound crazy, but I just want to spend some time to relax your mind/Spend some time with you is what I really wanna do,’” he sings in his smooth, sax-backed ballad, “Spend Some Time.”  The lyrics and music are simple, but that is part of what makes the album work. In R&B, simplicity often translates to smoothness.

Trial Track: “Fallin”


Most exciting Stinger moments of 2011-12

During the course of a long year, teams go through many ups and downs.

And seeing as no one wants to relive the low points because they’re depressing, let’s use this school year’s final edition of The Concordian to take a trip down memory lane and remember the best games from this season.

Men’s basketball

RSEQ semifinals — Feb. 29

Concordia 66 vs. Laval 65

This was by far the most exciting game of the school year. Playing in front of a packed and rowdy gym at home, Concordia was a heavy favourite against the Rouge et Or. Only Laval didn’t seem to care. Despite going 5-11 in the regular season (nine fewer wins than Concordia), Laval was up six points with just over two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and seemed poised to pull off the upset of the year. Then the Stingers turned it on. Concordia forced four turnovers in the final two minutes, electrifying the small gym which was about as loud as a 20,000-seat arena that night. All-star guard Kyle Desmarais scored five points in the final 30 seconds to advance Concordia to the RSEQ finals where they would defeat UQAM and move to nationals.

Men’s hockey came up short of the playoffs but did manage to upset rival McGill twice in the regular season. Photo by Navneet Pall


Women’s basketball

RSEQ semifinals — Feb. 28

Concordia 65 vs. Bishop’s 53

Concordia struggled down the stretch in the regular season and played a horrendous first quarter against Bishop’s. Down 24-7 after the game’s opening 10 minutes, it looked as though the season was going to come to an abrupt and disappointing end. Things began to turn around in the second quarter though. Conference MVP Kaylah Barrett scored 10 points in the quarter and helped bring the Stingers within four points of the Gaiters. After a halftime pep talk from coach Keith Pruden, the Stingers came out going for the jugular. Sharpshooting and tough defensive play gave the Stingers an eight-point lead into the fourth and the team never looked back. It was the team’s biggest comeback of the season.


Men’s hockey

Regular season — Feb. 3

Concordia 4 vs. McGill 2

Battling for their playoff lives, the Stingers were in tough on the road in McGill’s McConnell Arena playing the future national champs. Not to be intimidated by the circumstances though, Concordia defeated its archrival for the second time in the season—two of McGill’s only six losses came against the Stingers this year. Tied at one in the third period, Michael Blundon and George Lovatsis scored power-play goals within 32 seconds of each other to give Concordia a 3-1 lead that they would not relinquish. The win put Concordia in the driver’s seat in the OUA east playoff race. However, the Stingers came up short of the post-season.


Women’s rugby

RSEQ semifinals — Oct. 21

Concordia 18 vs. McGill 8

After a successful regular season, Concordia faced its rival in the semis and, for the second time of the year, defeated McGill. The game was very close, but the Stingers were able to dig deep and advance to the RSEQ finals for the second year in a row. Unfortunately, Laval put up a roadblock again, denying Concordia a trip to nationals.

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