28 Apr


On April 28, Daniel Dugas and I each gave  a talk at the Galerie Sans Nom during the Frye Festival.


pdf Text(e) Image Beat talks given through the Galerie Sans Nom and the Frye Festival, (pdf 2mb)

23 Mar

Transcript of Valerie LeBlanc’s talk given during the AnthropoScene, a semester-long exploration of this new era sponsored by the Leonard and Jayne Abess Center for Ecosystem Science & Policy and the College of Arts and Sciences of the University of Miami with participation by Artists in Residence in the Everglades.

Thank you all for coming here today. Special Thanks to the organizers and hosts of the AnthropoScene Conference and Exhibition: The Artists in Residence in Everglades (AIRIE), Executive Director, Deborah Mitchell, The University of Miami, Ecosystem Science and Policy, Director Gina Maranto

Image 2: Anthropocene summary

Artist activities
For years I lived on the cutting edge of the Anthropocene: cleaning printing screens with Tolulene; working with paints on my hands and under my fingernails; cutting and building with MDF (medium density fibreboard); mixing glass from scratch and breathing it all in. Then I moved into neat electronic studios that evolved into digital environments. Little did I realize that my art process was still implicated in ‘the mess’. And there is where we ALL find ourselves today.

Trying to keep up
Around 2000 when digital media became more consumer accessible, the speed of life ratcheted up a notch. The ways of carrying out all duties became more electronic and Internet based. The need to keep up began to affect everyone from homemakers to children, from educators and administrators to mechanics and everyone-in-between. And as we all worked toward the goal of staying on the edge of digital knowledge, of competing, we lost track of the level of manufactured goods falling by the wayside and into landfills. As our ‘stuff’ became obsolete and we reached for the new standards, the baseline of consumption bulged.

I looked through various geological time scales and found that the area I needed to see – the past 1,000 years was too compacted. What I am getting at is that I need to see the quantity of waste materials created and dumped into pristine environments. And perhaps even more importantly, the charts highlighting waste buried where it can seep into underground streams.

Image 3: the Minotaur by Watts

Who are WE
As I began to concentrate my thoughts on the criteria for recognizing a new and accelerated geological time period, I got a mental image of George Frederic Watt’s 1885 Minotaur: the beast that destroys everything gentle that he encounters. A pitiful monster, his face hangs in loathing for the act he has just committed, the killing of a small bird.

Image 4: Minotaur – Joe Webb (Gif images)

Then I found the more recent remix of the Minotaur Selfie by collage artist Joe Webb. He has captioned the work: “The Minotaur attempts to take the perfect ‘Selfie’ only to be frustrated by red eye on each shot.”

Little does he know that a sparrow is perched on his back. Or, in another reading, is he trying to find the source of that pesky itch on his back and all he can see is red? If Watts posited the Minotaur as the manifestation of Victorian evil, the ruination of innocents, whom can we now pose in the persona of this mythical figure? Are we all reflecting out of that technological mirror? Can we help ourselves stop wanting more, or leave less mess while acquiring it?

Image 5: Mars One

Colonizing Mars with sustainable environments – first batch of colonists booked to head out in 2024
On the Mars One reality show site, the image of the colonization modules is captioned: The Next Giant leap for Mankind. And I have to ask myself, “What’s wrong with HERE, with this Paradise? If you believe some of the oral history that came to be written down in ancient times, it appears that we already accepted the lease on this Garden when we tasted that snaky apple of life on Earth.” If I pause on the homepage image longer, I have to ask why those great little modules could not be made available for temporary or for permanent habitation in my neighborhood, in the trailer park on the outskirts of town, in the tent cities set up to temporarily house refugees displaced by weather conditions, or the bellicosity of groups carving out bigger backyards. The idea of a one-way mission to Mars is like leaving the Garden for a second time. It seems that persons applying for the mission are looking for a transformative experience, a religious experience; and televised, sponsored validation for living and achieving. Apparently, it is an experience that they are not able to find on earth. And maybe we should worry about what will happen to these individuals if reality shifts and the show is cancelled.

At some point in the 20th century, with the advance of photography, moving picture technology, sound recording, and other innovations, concepts of art needed overhauling. It is now accepted that artworks are reproduced and distributed widely on the planet, and that the spectator possesses the power to complete the work through experiencing it in whatever location it is encountered. In its distribution and function, film is an art form that epitomizes the dilemma: Is art imitating life or is life imitating art?

Image 6: Entertainment: The Top Predator

I believe that this conference presents the ideal context to raise concerns about casual explosions of atomic or nuclear bombs in dramatic films. I use the word casual when referring to films where life goes back to normal, or is even better after a ‘staged’ blast.

On the Internet, the List of documentary and dramatic films about nuclear issues is big. You can even find listings for the Best and Worst of all nuclear blasts. Although James Cameron’s 1994 fictional drama True Lies is not found under those classifications, the film stands out in notoriety. Set in Miami and the Florida Keys, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis, the story twists its way through contrived scenarios to arrive at destroying a section of the Seven Mile Bridge and exploding a nuclear blast just off the coast of the Keys. In the end, the superior intelligence and righteousness of the hero is showcased as he succeeds in diverting the location of the explosion away from a major population center (Miami), he saves the girl (his wife – Jamie Curtis), outruns the bomb and makes it back to the mainland amid cheering. The sky is still blue and all is apparently well as there is no hint of any negative environmental impact on the Keys or in the surrounding underwater habitat. We are also left with the impression that there is no psychological damage brought about through the idea of setting off a nuclear blast, that life goes on, with business as usual and takeout pizza for dinner. Reaching beyond suspension of disbelief, True Lies missed the marks on both life imitating art and art imitating life. BUT, with a budget of over $100 million, it is said to have had commercial and critical success.

Image 7: Terminology

Since the explosion of the first atomic bomb in mid 20th century, we have faced the assured threat of mutual annihilation. We rightfully become nervous each time another country steps up to the plate to flaunt membership through nuclear testing. That terminology has always bothered me. When speaking of nuclear bombs, use of the word test seems to imply that this controlled practice is less serious than other bomb blasts. Rightfully, each new threat of capability is addressed, but it is upsetting to think that the fallout after a test blast is not front-page news. In the future, I would like to see all blasts called what they are: BAD!

Image 8: Questions facing artists in discussions of the Anthropocene

There are a few capitol sins that we are warned against.
Avoid being didactic.
Try not to be too political – yet, do not self negate.
Don’t be too angry, you will be in danger of becoming a social pariah and you won’t reach anyone.
On the flip side, the biggest flaw of any artist is to be too irresponsible, to not care enough.

Image 9: The Transformative Effect of the Everglades

So where can we get a break from all of this?
When we allow ourselves to slip into the natural world.
The Everglades is one of those overwhelmingly lush retreats.
If we think about the anthropocene state of the earth as something out of control, we are all lost. If we can think of it as something we can work with, we might be able to go ahead.
Time in the Everglades can have a slowing effect.
Maybe that is what is referred to as the transformative effect.
It is definitely a calming effect.
If you set yourself down there, all of that nature rises up around you.
You are suddenly in ‘their world’ and time seems to stand still.

Artists work against being under-exposed, or of not being seen at all, of being invisible. It is ironic that an invisible path is something that each of us could aspire toward when thinking about natural environments and ecosystems. Aside from dangers presented by major developments, how can we, as individuals, get out to enjoy the nature around us while minimizing the traces we leave behind? It is at the very least, something that we should be thinking about.

Image 10: Florida Clouds

On a trip out with Everglades National Park Hydrologist Steven McQuaid Tennis, he shared his synopsis of a lifetime of weather observations made during his trips out for establishing measurements. On the return passage across Florida Bay, I jotted down less scientific notes that grew into a 3-part reflection on Florida clouds.
(Poem read: Cumulative)

Image 11: Hope, painted in 1886.

To close, I would like to show you another painting of George Frederic Watts: Hope – The figure is blindfolded and apparently sitting on top of our world clinging to a wooden lyre with only one string left.

We have come a long way since it was painted and the sky is still blue and sometimes very bright.

Thank You!


Valerie LeBlanc, Wednesday, March 4, 2015, Leonard and Jayne Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy, University of Miami, FL

Link to Daniel Dugas’ talk

18 Mar

Le vernissage de Text(e) Image Beat aura lieu le 20 mars 2015 à la Galerie Sans Nom!
The opening of Text(e) Image Beat will be held on March 20 at the Galerie Sans Nom!

With: Heid E. Erdrich, Hannah Black, Matt Mullins, Martha Cooley, John D. Scott, Tom Konyves, Swoon (AKA Marc Neys), Michel Félix Lemieux, Kevin Barrington, Maryse Arseneault, Fernando Lazzari and Matthew Hayes.


website: Text(e) Image Beat 


La version française sera bientôt disponible

Curators’ Commentary
Valerie LeBlanc and Daniel H. Dugas

Video poetry is a genre that is increasingly drawing the attention of both audiences and creators. We have come a long way since moving pictures with sound required a vast and expensive array of infrastructure and personnel. We are also in a time when the visual vocabulary and knowledge of signifiers is more familiar to wider audiences. This should not come as too great a surprise when we think that what is considered to be the first documented photograph was made close to 200 years ago[1] and that moving picture techniques pioneered in the early 20th century resulted in the first feature film with sound,The Jazz Singer in1927. While photography, moving pictures, and recorded sound / music were first thought to hold value for documentary applications only, the use of these tools are constantly transforming our concepts of art. Through time-based media, ideas move into the thought process; visceral effects are imprinted.

Creators are now presenting their texts visually and / or performing their poems. Many have realized that messages can be effectively conveyed using the multimodal character of video poetry. Similarly to advertisements created for marketing campaigns, these works are characteristically short, less than 5 minutes in duration. Some festivals are asking for works as short as one minute, the duration of some TV ads. The videos in this program have been chosen for their content as well as for the techniques that each creator uses to portray the meaning and aesthetic sense of the content.

The call for Text(e) / Image / Beat did not specify particular themes. Through the necessity of paring down the choices and assembling a flow of works that complemented and gave space to each other, we became aware of recurrent elements. In spite of the fact that the videos originate from many distinct locations, ideas of awaiting / finding miracles and mysteries of living, are frequent. Each work exhibits innovation and imagination, calling upon a wide range of skills to layer meaning. Slam poetry, rants, softly spoken words, hand written notes, and remixes are all used to articulate.

In Pre-Occupied, texts over images; multi-layering stereotypical references from popular culture and memes relating to current and past events carry Heid E. Erdrich’s words like a fast moving river. References to the first American Thanksgiving, Alcatraz, Wounded Knee, Indigenous activists; key words and statements are thrown; fonts are visually woven with voice intonation to deliver meaning. The video opens with an excerpt from Langston Hughes’ The Negro Speaks of Rivers: ‘I’ve known rivers: Ancient, dusky rivers. My soul has grown deep like the rivers.’ Erdrich states the title: Pre-Occupied and then begins her powerful litany, ‘River, River, River, I Never, Never, Never etched your spiral icon in limestone …’. Hughes words continue under Erdrich’s. The dynamics of the lead-in continue through to the end. Closing credits are accompanied with an Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe) translation of John Lennon’s ImaginePre-Occupied hits chords of dreams for political and social equality: held, dashed, revisited and restated.

A series of spirals are drawn over the neck in the opening scenes of Hannah Black’s video of the same name. Through calling attention to the limitations of her childhood drawings, Black brings a discussion of identity. With her own body as the starting point, she steers her words toward ‘… an improbable form of mediation between a self and its constituent parts: family, body, race, gender, …’ Essentially, her video addresses the whole world and its concerns as she draws the personal into the political arena.

In Our Bodies, Matt Mullins remixes a sermon by televangelist Oral Roberts, cutting away excess material, repeating words and phrases, using split screens, and setting inserts to emphasize specific gestures. Mullins closes the videopoem with an excerpt from a sinners’ prayer, ‘… I am ready to perform a miracle in your life … expect delivery.’ As Oral Roberts interprets the Bible, Matt Mullins, in turn interprets Oral Roberts.[2]

Martha Cooley’s Dog Sitting in Eastern Passage uses a combination of devices. While handwritten pages from a notebook bring her thoughts to life, the pages are set within sequences of photos to create movement. Thrown by a heartbroken author, a dog fetches sticks along the Atlantic coastline. Through the work we are reminded of that basic miracle of video and film media, the persistence of vision that brings us the illusion of movement.

John D. Scott breathes life into Elizabeth Bishop’s 1965 poem Sandpiper. He interprets that Bishop anthropomorphizes into the bird. While sandpipers are known to flit persistently on beaches, her life as a revered writer of short stories and poetry was also one of searches, observations, of taking many directions. A haunting whistle, a rattle and clicks of the typewriter open the video and continue to underline the spoken word. Scott’s collaboration includes rotoscoped bird images by Anna Bron and Andrew Whyte, stills and slow moving images of water and beach. Particular passages are emphasized and punctuated through movement and voice.

Having coined ‘videopoetry’ in 1978, Tom Konyves is recognized as one of the pioneers of the genre. In his video ow (n) ed, politically charged meanings are layered and set into a crypted triptych that he describes as a postmodern vision of human slavery. Punctuated by jazz notes, Konyves has positioned quotes from American Slavery As It Is: Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses[3] on the left. In the center, a tower of humans is constructed and collapses.[4] Consumer commentaries play on the right. As the video progresses, messages on the left spill over, slipping to the right. Through erasure (dropping regions of the text and remixing), Konyves is implying new meanings.

Well known for remix, collaborations and atmospheric compositions, Marc Neys (aka SWOON) has supplied the concept, editing, and music in the creation of Five Miles (Simple Brushstrokes on a Naked Canvas). Howie Good has contributed the poemExcerpts from the 1944 American Military documentary Target for Today, speak about possible bombing but no bodies are seen. Throughout the video an ominous voice repeats ‘five miles.’ Instead of increasing or decreasing the distance to the target, we are forced to hover in abstraction. A slow moving, amorphous bubble suddenly appears. As it floats over green grass the text ‘because a feeling has no form’ is spelled out. In the bellicose tone set by the video, this colorful bubble carries a menacing hint of possible outcomes.

Michel Félix Lemieux’s Brûle le bois vert takes us on a train ride at night. A moving spotlight illuminates the view through a square window. Lemieux describes this work as a poetic and confused reflection on exodus. While we are almost deprived of images in the video, the text is loaded with saturated colors. The words contaminate what we are seeing. In a poem that offers glimpses of mental and emotional moods over any coherent flow of thought, an awareness of solitude pervades.

Kevin Barrington’s I Love the Internet is a skillful fast rant by this Dublin based copywriter and blogger. A collaborative project with Irish animation artist and illustrator Bruce Ryder, the poem advances through use of psychedelic colors and a text matte over quick moving images. The video derives from Barrington’s multi-media e-book of the same name. Barrington states, ‘The impulse was to repel a rising wave of establishment antipathy to social media expression that took hold early in 2013 and threatened to silence satire and online political heckling.’

In constructing Retenir son souffle, Maryse Arsenault used French and English to deliver her texts; a speaking and singing voice; images and sound shot in her own environment; and found footage of a weather phenomenon. The voice, which we understand as Maryse, asks for help. It is the voice that we sometimes need to hear when we are hoping for a miracle. The video ends with sounds of whistling and a bell like that of a life buoy. A small bird goes out and returns 3 times; the repetition works like an incantation in the closing of this lullaby.

Montserrat follows Retenir son souffle in the program. These two very different videopoems explore threads of holding up the world through dark times. To relate an excerpt of Jorge Luis Borges’ Amanecer (Break of Day), Fernando Lazzari uses ‘font as character’. Borges’ poem speaks of a world held together by the imagination of those who inhabit the night, until the day returns and others awake to define its shape with their presence. At times, images move rapidly; sometimes they hover to become imprinted as font generation builds monuments to the words.

Slam Poet Sasha Patterson performs her poem Tonight is for the Trees; cinematography and editing is by Matthew Hayes, with music by Lee Rosevere. Patterson walks out of the darkness along a tree-lined road. At first lit by only a flashlight, she is suddenly in full light and continues to address her audience as she walks toward the camera. The effect is simple and effective. Tonight is for the Trees brings reminders of Christopher Dewdney’s August as both poems celebrate summer and life in southern Ontario.[5] Each passage of Dewdney’s list: nature’s creatures and the beauty of geological formations begins with ‘because’.  Patterson repeats ‘ tonight is for …’ before each new item in her long list of dedications. Links between the two works are not literal but meet in sentiment, intention and appreciation for life, nature and the human presence in it all. Patterson’s fresh and confident voice epitomizes hope.

While Pre-Occupied dropped us into the middle of all things worldly and imagined, Tonight is for the Trees brings closing notes to Image / Text(e) / Beat. In the long history of the known and unknown, the visible and the invisible, the spoken and the unspoken, video poetry sets the prompts, the magic of visions hinted by the words, images and sounds. Rhythm set by videopoetry widens the chances of getting messages out. We hope that a tradition of video poetry will come to be established in Moncton. With the number of poets per capita, it seems to be a viable, and maybe inevitable prospect.

[1] The First Photograph, Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin:http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/exhibitions/permanent/firstphotograph/

Nicéphore Niépce, Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicéphore_Niépce

[2] To appreciate the effectiveness of Mullins’ remix, check out The Hand of God, from Oral Roberts Crusade, St. Petersburg, FL (1964) on You Tube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGi_vRS9zH8

[3] Theodore Dwight Weld, 1803-1895, ‘American Slavery As It Is: Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses’: http://docsouth.unc.edu/neh/weld/summary.html

[4] In 2010, castells of Catalonia were declared by UNESCO to be amongst the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity: http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/index.php?lg=en&pg=00011&RL=00364

[5] Christopher Dewdney, August, Poetry In Motion (1982), YouTube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CN3AaYp_kyY

26 Feb

Acadie Nouvelle
25 février 2015


22 Feb


Exhibition March 4 – 24
CAS Gallery. 1210 Stanford Drive. Coral Gables, FL

Panel Discussion March 4 9am-12pm
Ungar Building 230 C/D. 1365 Memorial Drive

Lunch/Gallery Tour March 4 12:30-1:30 pm
CAS Gallery. 1210 Stanford Drive. Coral Gables, FL

Workshops March 4 2-5 pm
CAS Gallery. 1210 Stanford Drive. Coral Gables, FL

Opening Reception March 4 5:30-7:30 pm
CAS Gallery. 1210 Stanford Drive. Coral Gables, FL


with artists
Daniel Dugas
Felice Grodin
Valerie LeBlanc
Lucinda Linderman
Deborah Mitchell
Skip Snow
Keith Waddington

8:30 am – 9:00 am Registration/Coffee Service
9:00 am – 9:15 am Welcome and plan for day: Gina Maranto and Keith Waddington
9:15-9:45 am Opening remarks: Skip Snow
9:45-10:00 Keith Waddington
10:00-10:30 Valerie LeBlanc and Daniel Dugas
10:30-10:45 Skip Snow
10:45-11:00 Break
11:00-11:30 Deborah Mitchell
11:30-12:00 Discussion with all artists moderated by Felice Grodin and Lucinda Linderman

with artists
Daniel Dugas
Felice Grodin
Valerie LeBlanc
Lucinda Linderman
Susan Silas
Skip Snow
Keith Waddington

12:30 pm – 1:30 pm Buffet Lunch and Tour
(Tour at 1 p.m.)
2:00 pm – 5:00 pm Concurrent workshop sessions
5:30 pm – 7:30 pm Opening reception: anthropoScene exhibition

anthropoScene is a semester-long exploration of this new era sponsored by the Leonard and Jayne Abess Center for Ecosystem Science & Policy and the College of Arts and Sciences of the University of Miami with participation by Artists in Residence in the Everglades.




About Valerie LeBlanc

Originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia, pluri-­disciplinary artist and writer Valerie LeBlanc has worked in Canada, the United States, Europe, and Australia. Her creations travel between poetry, performance, visual and written theory. Valerie LeBlanc has been creating video poetry since the mid 1980’s, and is the creator of the MediaPackBoard (MPB), portable screening / performance device.

L’artiste pluridisciplinaire Valerie LeBlanc est vidéaste, poète, performeuse et essayiste. Son travail oscille entre le remarquable et le quotidien. Elle a exposé ses œuvres en Europe, en Australie et au Brésil. Elle crée des vidéopoèmes depuis le milieu des années 1980 et a inventé le MediaPackBoard (MPB), un appareil de projection mobile pour la performance.

À partir de leur exploration du parc national des Everglades, Daniel H. Dugas et Valerie LeBlanc cartographient dans cet essai poétique les effets de la présence humaine sur le milieu naturel, les traces qu’elle y dépose. Everglades est une ode à la beauté, à la fragilité et à la résilience d’une nature aux prises avec une espèce envahissante, la nôtre.

Through their exploration of the Everglades National Park, Daniel H. Dugas and Valerie LeBlanc document, in this poetic collection, the effects of human presence in the natural world and the traces left behind. Everglades is an ode to the beauty, the fragility and the resilience of nature faced with the invasiveness of a particular species, ours.

Date : Mars 2018
Genre : Poésie
Collection : Poésie
ISBN : 9782897441029

Prise de parole