Theme: Living Labs
Venues: The Waldorf Hotel, Centre for Digital Media, and New Brighton Park.
2012 marks the twelfth year of New Forms Festival. From Sept 13-16, NFF12 will be taking over the Masters of Digital Media building at the Centre for Digital Media campus on 577 Great Northern Way, as well as the Waldorf Hotel and New Brighton Special at New Brighton Park. This year, as part of the International Cities of Advanced Sound (ICAS) initiative, exhibition artists will address the theme of ‘Living Labs’.
Theme: Public domain
Line-Up: Deadbeat, Danuel Tate & Tyger Dhula, Evy Jane, Filip Gorecki, Jamie McCue, Josh Stevenson, Lief Hall, Mageticring, Marcellus Pittman, Mike Slott, Nautiluss, No Gold, Ookpikk, Scant Intone, SeekersInternational, Shlohmo, Specter, Strangeloop, Sun Araw Band, Superisk, Take, Teen Daze, A Tribe Called Red, V.Vecker Ensemble, Vincent Parker.
Venue: The Waldorf Hotel
For the second straight year, performances and installations were held in the same space, this time at the trendy, tiki themed Waldorf Hotel. There were installations in the hotel rooms, electronic music artists in the 3 performance spaces, and projections and video mapping on the facade of the building. Mark Hosler of Negativland provided an installation at the hotel, as well as hosting an ARO panel. A recording booth was set up in the lobby and traveled throughout the festival to capture perspectives on the identity of Vancouver and how it has shaped its residents, the results of which became a time capsule for the next 125 years of Vancouver.
Major music happenings include a set by A Tribe Called Red, before they were nominated for the Polaris Music Prize, and one of the first appearances of Sweatson Klank after changing his name from Take.
Theme: Traversing Electronic Narratives
Line-Up: Babe Rainbow, Basketball, Blue Daisy, Calamalka, Illum Sphere, Jason Lev, Junior Boys, Konrad Black, Love Dancing, Michael Red, Nasty Nasty, No Gold, Omar S, Resorts, Scott W, Slugabed.
Venue: W2 Storyeum
In collaboration with CBC Radio 3, New Forms curated a showcase at the MUTEK festival in Montreal. The June performance featured sounds by Michael Red, Monolithium, Babe Rainbow, Calamalka, Max Ulis, Daega Sound System and visuals by Peter Hagge.
With the Cultural Olympiad behind him, Malcolm Levy returned full-time to NFF in 2010. As of early summer, nothing for the festival had been done. There was no theme, no bookings, no funding from Canada Council for the Arts, nothing. Within a month, it all came together like it was meant to be. Michael Red and Chris Wang stepped up as music curators, Cedric Meister and Josh Bartholemew curated a Body event, and Levy took care of exhibition artists.
Thanks to the event being held in the W2 Storyeum, NFF10 was the first year that the music performances and installations were both conducted in the same space, so festival patrons could enjoy all the festival had to offer without the burden of travel.
The Vancouver Design Nerds and eatART turned heads with the Gramorail, a kinetic sculpture that was, in effect, a locomotive made from scrap and powered by the pedaling of its four passengers. There was also a Beat Nation performance night showcasing Native hip hop artists working in traditional and new media environments, that featured Sista Hailstorm, The Starmakerz (Manik1derful and Magic Touch), Skeena, Reece, Ostwelve, and Christie Charles. Headlining “The Opposite of Fear” on September 11th, Slugabed appeared before he sign to Ninja Tune.
Theme: More Enlightenment
Line-Up: 2562, Andabeat, Appleblim, Brady Marks, Calamalka, Daega Sound, Dandy Jack, Deepchild, DJG, Dubgnostic, Eskmo, Glitchy & Scratchy, Jay Tripwire as 8 Channels, Krista Lomax, Kush Arora, Kyle Hall, The Librarian, Lowfish, Neighbor, N-Type, Sase One, Shamik, Taal Mala, Vasho Pekar.
Venues: VIVO, Great Northern Way
At only two days long, NFF09 would be the smallest festival since its beginning. Yet, the Midforms spin-off festival in March expanded to three complete days of music and events, with appearances by Akufen, Nickodemus, Myagi, and Deepchild at Mosaic Sounds, Techforms, and Breaksform showcases. 2009 would also see the culmination of the Dubforms series, with 2562 at DF12 and the likes of Appleblim and Longwalkshortdock closing DF13.
NFF09 featured a partnership with the newly opened W2 Community Media Arts Centre. New Forms Media Society board director Robert Willis assumed the role of festival director. As a curator, Michael Red insightfully brought in Eskmo before the producer signed to Ninja Tune, on an evening that also included mash-up visuals from local motion graphics designer Krista Lomax.
Line-Up: Aidan, Anasia, Automatic Message, Bombaman, Brady Marks & Souns, The Bug with Warrior Queen, Calamalka, Chefal, Colby Sparks, Dabbler, Daega Sound, Deciduous, DJ Abel & the Phonograff, DJ Cure, Dr. Spiny, Electrabelle, Fond of Tigers, Headhunter (Addison Groove), HxdB, Julie Gendron, Kilowatts, Kinotropy, Liminal Spaces, Lomax, Longwalkshortdock (w/ Rim Visuals), Maga Bo, Mark Yuen, Martyn, Michael Red (with Jornick), Pole, Prince Sho, Secret Mommy Quintet, Segue, Self Evident, Sirbassa, Termite, Tusk, Vancity Dubplate Session
Venues: Open Studios, ECIAD IDS, VIVO
Lee Ritian, Claudio River-Seguel, Kika Thorne, and Kate Hennessy/Richard Wilson curated events at VIVO throughout September, within the theme of “Mosaics” as a cross-disciplinary mixture of art forms, cultures, politics, and the dissemination of information.
In partnership with the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad, New Forms started a spin-off festival called Midforms which was held in early
March of 2008, and again in March 2009. MFF08 absorbed Dubforms7 (noted for a performance by Martyn and Vancity Dubplate Session) and featured a Techforms showcase the following night, with sets by Tomas Jirku, Hrdvsion, and Stephen Beaupré. Dubforms10 would be a featured showcase at NFF08.
NFF08 music highlights included Mosaic Soundz, an event that brought together Maga Bo, BPM, and the Beats Without Borders Crew to infuse global cultural styles (Bhangra, belly dancing, Balkan) into dance floor friendly forms. There was also a rare performance by the short-lived Secret Mommy Quintet that, along with Juno-winning instrumental jazz band Fond of Tigers, took their previously released albums, digitally rearranged them into new works, and relearned how to play them.
Line-Up: Benga, Chefal, Claudia Minerva, Daega Sound, Deville, DJ Collage, DZ, Echo Pilot, Eightprime, Filastine, Frivolous, Hatcha, Jacob Cino, Jim Carrico, JPLS (Jeremy Jacobs), Julie Gendron, Kode9, Liminal Spaces, Loefah, Lomax, Mat the Alien, Michael Red, Mike Shannon, Phowa, Prince Sho, Swytch, Taal Mala & Max Ulis, Termite, Tusk, Youngsta.
Venues: VIVO, Western Front, ScotiaBank Dance Centre, ECIAD IDS, Open Studios, Cathedral Park Square
NFF07 was a year of major internal transition. Most notably, Malcolm Levy was asked to curate CODE: Live as part of the Cultural Olympiad
for 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. Due to a possible conflict of interest, Levy had to step down from NFF.
The board took over active directorship of the festival, and Michael Red stepped up role as curator. Several new partners were added this year: Alliance Francaise, The Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, WAG Design and Earthman Media, and Industry Images. Also partnered with OFMAS (Open Forum Media Arts Society) for 2007, and the NFF office moved from Open Studios to Video-In.
Along side Lighta! Sound, New Forms also started hosting a series called Dubforms in late 2006. Focussed on evolutions in dub, bass and space music, there were five different events held throughout 2007, featuring such headliners as Kode9, Benga, and Hatcha. Showcasing the likes of Youngsta and Filastine, Dubforms4 was programed as part of the official NFF07 schedule.
Ujino Muneteru kicked off NFF07 at the Western Front with The Rotators, an improvised performance with blenders, hair dryers, electric drills, bicycle parts, turntables, and vinyl records. NFF and A440Hz teamed up for ElectroMagnetic Explorations –which featured the music of Vincent Parker, Rupinder Sidhu, the Square Root of Evil, and others– and a series of visual art installations.
Line-Up: Ben Donoghue, Calamalka, Circlesquare, Daega Sound, Deadbeat, Douglas Benford, Flat Grey, Hrdvsion, Humdinger, Jacob Cino, Jan Jelinek, Julie Gendron, Kuma, Kytami, Max Ulis, Mitchell Akiyama, The Mole, Phil Western, Taal Mala, Thomas Jirku, Tusk, The Wax Museum.
Venues: Open Studios, Video In Studios, Great Northern Way
Leading up to NFF06, New Forms participated in presentations at the Sarai Media Centre in New Delhi, the Next Wave Festival in Melbourne, Australia, VIDFEST in Vancouver, and the Shambhala Music Festival in Salmo, B.C.
They also partnered with Habitat the New Media Lab at Canadian Film Centre for Non-verbal Narrations, a film series shown along side NFF06 displaying a one-hour series of works from across the country. The success of this program spawned a film night at NFF07. Filmmakers included Brigitta Boedenauer, Sachiko Hayashi, Cecile Babiole, Rae Staseson, Stephanie Loveless, Modulate Collective, Arlene Ducao, and Abel Konya.
Curated by Dinka Pignon, the exhibition Materia Media took place at Video In during the entirety of the festival, and saw installation works by Lynne Sanderson, Veronika Bökelmann, Isabelle Jenniches, Mark Cypher, Pierre-Andre Sonolet, Victoria Scott, Derk Wolmuth, Jennifer Willet / Shawn Bailey, Sloodanka Stupar, and Richard Wright.
Kate Armstrong curated a special conference event at the Great Northern Way campus called ArtCamp, in which all attendees were required to give a demo, a session, or otherwise contribute in some way to support the event. This project would appear again at NFF07 and NFF08.
Four nights of music at Open Studios saw headlining performances from Deadbeat, Jan Jelinek, Phil Western, and The Mole.
Line-Up Features: Danuel Tate and Tyger Dhula, Deadbeat, Jirku / Judge, Junior Boys, Konrad Black, Modern Deep Left Quartet, The Mole, Monolake, Noah Pred, Tanya Tagaq (with Souns and Noah Susswein), Woodhands
Venues: Museum of Anthropology at UBC, Open Studios, Scotiabank Dance Centre, Video In Studios, Video Monster, Western Front
Under the guiding hand of curators Dinka Pignon and Daina Warren, NFF05 joined forces with the Museum of Anthropology at UBC, which hosted an exhibit called Ritual Ecology from September 16-October 16. Among the happenings there, Tanya Tagaq Gillis brought her contemporary take on Inuit throat singing, backed by Michael Red as SOUNS. Keynote speakers included Emily Carr professor Carol Gigliotti, technological innovator David Vogt, and Steven Loft, Mohawk of the Six Nations and director of the Urban Shaman Gallery.
Coiner of the term “plunderphonics” in reference to music constructed entirely from existing recordings, a style inspired by the cut-up technique William S. Burroughs used in his writing, John Oswald’s presence was deeply felt this year. Oswald presented Robot Piano Performances with Bodhi Project (Taal Mala) at Western Front, which were explorations of “rascaliklepitoire” (a suggestive anagram of “classical repertoire”) in which scores of classical music were altered for performance renditions. Oswald also talked at the Ecology of Intellectual Property: Rights, Piracy, Public and Authorship panel.
Curated by Anje Weitzel and Mirjam Wenzel, Focus on Berlin was part of a Club Transmediale screening program for club transmediale.04.
Important musical happenings included early appearances by Modern Deep Left Quartet, a month before their debut EP dropped and five years before their first album, and Junior Boys. Ableton Live developer Monolake (Robert Henke) appeared as a performer, as the host of a workshop dealing with the live performance of electronic music, and in a panel discussing “The Ecological Framework of Sounds, Sight and Movement.” Toronto’s Noah Pred premiered Ecocosm, a set of deep dance floor grooves constructed entirely of field recordings from British Columbia’s coastal wilderness, complete with modular visuals by Sijay James.
Line-Up: Anomloulous, Bruno Pronsato, Calamalka, Christine Paton, Danuel Tate & Tyger Dhula, Disturbances, Girl Talk, Gold Chains and Sue Cie, Hawah, Kit Clayton, Little Woo, Mathew Jonson, Phon.o, Secret Mommy, Souns, Tusk, Woodhands.
Venues: Open Studios, Vancouver Art Gallery (90 presenters, more than 100 artists), Electra Building Gallery (beneath BC Hydro), Firehall Arts Centre, Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre, Western Front, Surrey Art Gallery, Video-In Studios (VIVO)
The flourishing number of committee and board members, support staff, and volunteers (almost 150) for NFF04 revealed its growth. Aleksandra Dulic, Kenneth Newby, James K-M, and more joined NomIg, Camille Baker, and Malcolm Levy as curators. The festival gained international recognition, which would lead to its joining International Cities of Advanced Sound (ICAS) network and increasing collaboration with Mutek.
NFF04 was the first of many consecutive years of partnership with VIVO (whose curators were Julie Gendron and Dinka Pignon). Through Canada Council for the Arts, NFF has had an ongoing partnership with the artist run center (sharing gear, etc). Malcolm Levy would eventually take a position on their board of directors.
NFF04 featured keynote addresses from Ranjit Makkuni, Michael Punt, and Machiko Kusahara, and panel discussions on Indian sacred art, invisible technologies, and a Traditional First Nations Healers network session. There were also half a dozen workshops, almost thirty papers presented, sixty installations exploring net art, video painting, and First Nations video art, and an early live appearance by Girl Talk.
Line-Up: Andrew Duke, Granny’Ark, Jesse Fisk, Jimmy Edgar/Morris Nightingale, Konrad Black, Loscil, Mathew Jonson, Quadra, Thomas Jirku
Venues: Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre, Open Studios, Scotiabank Dance Centre
In early 2003, Malcolm Levy was invited to the international media art festival Transmediale. There, he got to see the reality of what NFF was trying to create playing out, with club nights, exhibitions, and conferences all happening cohesively. With this experience, Levy felt the solidification of NFF’s vision.
NFF03 expanded the scope of its interdisciplinary mode, unifying its conference, cinema, dance, and installation aspects. Camille Baker stepped up her role as the curatorial and conference director, co-curating the festival’s performance art. Baker helped coordinate dozens of video and installation artists, including internationally renowned artist David Rokeby and robotic installation artist Reva Stone, as well as 18 conference presentations and panels. NomIg curated and performed at a new cinema event, bringing audio-visual pioneer Jean Piché out from Montreal for the occasion.
NFF03 marked the first event ever to happen at Open Forum Media Arts Society (now Open Studios). As soon as the lease was taken over, set-up began for a late night music performance the next day. Notable appearances include Mathew Jonson, before he co-founded the iconic Wagon Repair label, and Jimmy Edgar, before he signed to Warp Records.
NFF03 saw the festival expand wildly beyond its means, but in doing so learned a great deal about the operational responsibility required to execute a large-scale festival. Canada Council for the Arts took notice of the festival this year. By next year, NFF received annual funding.
Line-Up: Beans, Ben Nevile, DJ Lace (a.k.a Fred Pradel), DJ Spooky, Jazz for Robots, Kit Clayton, Kinski, Masia One, Mitchell Akiyama (Raster-Noton, Sub Rosa), NomIg, Sweatshop Union
Venues: Sonar, Video In Studios (VIVO), Grandview Auditorium, Robson Square, St Andrew Wesley United Church
In 2002, the festival began receiving funds from government organizations, and partnered with artist run centers like Video-In (now VIVO Media Arts Centre) and Grunt Gallery. Founder of the influential Ninja Tune label and half of famed electronic act Coldcut, Matt Black recorded a video introduction for the festival.
Thursday, August 1st at the nightclub Sonar would be indicative of where the festival ended up going in the years that followed. That day featured the festival’s first conference portion, which took the form of a panel discussion called State of the Art with Terry O’Brien (SOCAN), artists DJ Spooky, Lace (a.k.a Fred Pradel), NomIg, and more. After that, the “scratch video” showcase started off with a live-streamed set from Phase4 and Twine, and progressed to a collaboration between Spooky and NomIg and a late night set from Lace.
Patrons of NFF02 enjoyed the first media art installations. Kenneth Newby, Aleksandra Dulic, Adrian Jones, and Camille Baker all presented video installations utilizing the Cycling ’74 program Max to incorporate a level of interactivity with the audience. Programmer for Cycling ’74, Joshua Kit Clayton also performed at the festival’s Glitch and Granular showcase with video artist Sue Costabile.
Theme: New Forms
Line-Up: Approx. 50 local artists
Venues: SOMA (a coffee shop), Monsoon (a bistro), Video In Studios (now VIVO Media Arts Centre), LUGS, The Whip (restaurant), Naked, Sugar Refinery, The Alibi Room (restaurant)
In 1999, Vancouver artists and industry professionals Malcolm Levy and Jarrett Martineau, former classmates who previously hosted events in Montreal, took up shop in an office in the Old Dominion building on Hastings Street. Along with Rachel Flood (who helped out admin), they founded New Forms as an artist-run festival interested in the praxis of contemporary art at the intersection of music, media, technology and performance. Within a few years, Flood moved on to create Sistahood and Martineau went to work for CBC, but Levy and an evolving team of curators and directors carried on the New Forms vision into the new millennium.
2001 was the first year of the actual festival. Having no major sponsorships at this time, NFF01 was a community-based event in multiple venues. Working under the theme of “new forms,” about 50 local artists utilized unusual spaces such as restaurants and coffee shops all along Main Street.