Film is the art form of our times. It has formed the background of our lives, informed visual arts practices, and formed our culture’s stories, its memory.
Moments of Perception is a landmark book. The first history of twentieth and early-twenty-first-century Canadian experimental filmmaking, it maps avant-garde films from the 1950s to the present day, including their contradictions and complexities.
Experimental film is political in its very existence, critical of the status quo by definition. In Canada, some of the country’s best-known artists took up the moving image as a form of artistic expression, allowing them to explore explicitly political themes. Mike Hoolboom’s exposure of the horror of AIDS, Josephine Massarella’s concern for the environment, and Joyce Wieland’s satiric look at US patriotism are just a few examples of work that contributed to social movements and provided a means to explore issues of race and gender and LGBTQ2S+ and Indigenous identities.
Featuring a major essay on the history of the movement by film scholar Michael Zryd and profiles of key filmmakers by film historian Stephen Broomer and editors Jim Shedden and Barbara Sternberg, Moments of Perception offers a fresh perspective on the ever-evolving history of Canada’s experimental film and moving-image media arts.
Jim Shedden has directed documentaries and edited books on experimental filmmakers.
Barbara Sternberg has been making films since the mid 1970s. Her films have been screened around the world and her work is in the collection of the AGO and the NGC. Both Sternberg and Shedden have been involved in the artist-run experimental film scene in Toronto since the mid 1980s, programming and coordinating screenings, festivals, and congresses; curating exhibitions; and writing on film.
Michael Zryd is Associate Professor of Cinema & Media Arts at York University. He has published widely on experimental film, including articles on Hollis Frampton, Joyce Wieland, and Canadian film studies.
Stephen Broomer has made over forty films, in addition to publishing on, curating, and preserving Canadian experimental film