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TechLab Events - Past

Sylvia Grace Borda working in the field, courtesy of the artist  

Talk with exhibiting artist Sylvia Grace Borda

October 10, 2013

Sylvia Grace Borda spoke about the representation of farming in contemporary art. Her talk was preceded by introductory presentations on modern day farming in the Surrey and Fraser Valley growing basin by project partner representatives Ron Tamis (Vice President of the Surrey Urban Farmers Market Association and SPCA Certified Beef | Producer and Independent Surrey farm owner, Rondriso Farms) and Ravi Bathe (President of the BC Young Farmers Association and Poultry, blueberry and raspberry grower, R&R Farms Ltd.).

This event was presented in conjunction with the Figuring Ground: Sylvia Grace Borda and Jeremy Herndl exhibition at the Surrey Art Gallery, and the Sylvia Grace Borda: Aerial Fields exhibition at Surrey Urban Screen.


Kristen Roos performing at Sound Thinking 2012

Sound Thinking 2012: Snap, Crackle, Hum - Electromagneticism, Sound, and Audio Art

October 21, 2012

The symposium included a series of presentations, a performance and an art installation that address the complex relationships between electromagnetism, technology, science, the occult, and nature and culture.

The aesthetics, poetics and history of electromagnetic sound was examined, as well as how electromagnetic technologies are reshaping human subjectivity and the social world.

Presentations included:

  • Keynote address by Douglas Kahn
  • Performance by Kristen Roos
  • Presentations by Carrie Bodle, Alejandra Bronfman, Peter Courtemanche, Gordan Djurdjevic, Jay Bundy Johnson, Elemental Harmonics (Celia King and Joel Snowden)

Sound Thinking 2012 is presented in conjunction with Open Sound 2012: On Air, Underground: Making the Inaudible Audible.

View the Sound Thinking 2012 Brochure


Cao Fei's Apocalypse Tomorrow (screen capture)

Critics Talk with Alice Ming Wai Jim

May 12, 2012

Montreal-based art critic and curator, Alice Ming Wai Jim, discussed the work of Cao Fei in the context of contemporary new media art from China.

Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Cao Fei: Simulus, which included the interactive flash game Apocalypse Tomorrow.

View Alice Ming Wai Jim Essay


Karilynn Ming Ho performing

Sound Thinking 2011: Active Voice: Vocality as Medium, Object and Material 

November 20, 2011

Spoken dialogue, song, and non-verbal sounds have much to tell us about what it means to be human today. Voices are increasingly heard in museums and galleries around the world, but not only are these voices speaking about art, they are central elements within the artworks.

The symposium brought together an eclectic group of sound artists, visual artists, performers, and writers who work across a range of methods and a number of practices devoted to the exploration of sound and the visual arts.

Among the presentations were

  • a radio play with talking, insomniac plants by critically acclaimed London-UK-based artist Janice Kerbel
  • Ottawa-based artist Dipna Horra discussing transmigration and vocal art
  • Judy Radul speaking on art, voice and the courtroom in addition to her work with voice more broadly
  • prolific London, UK-based scholar Steven Connor giving the keynote Broken Voices, which addressed noises in the voice – such as whispers, slurps, pops, wheezes – that tend to be overlooked in accounts of the voice as meaning or expression
  • experimental vocal performances premiered by Lief Hall and Karilynn Ming Ho.

Presented in conjunction with Open Sound 2011: Nests Built by Birds.

View Sound Thinking 2011 Brochure


ellen moffat speaking about vBox

Artist's Talk with ellen moffat

June 9, 2011

Part sculpture and part musical instrument, vBox (2008) is an installation that unfolds the music at the heart of speech. ellen moffat is a Saskatoon-based interdisciplinary artist with a committed interest in sound. Her diverse practice includes installation, new media, public art, performance and collaboration.

moffat's vBox was presented as part of Open Sound 2011: Nest Built by Birds, an exhibition of sound art presented at intervals throughout the year.


Installation view of the exhibition There/Here - photograph by Scott Massey

Artist's Talk with Germaine Koh + Gordon Hicks

March 3, 2011

Exhibiting artist Germaine Koh provided an illustrated discussion about the exhibition There/Here and her collaboration with Gordon Hicks.

Based in Vancouver, Germaine Koh is an internationally active artist recognized for her wide breadth of artistic practice concerned with the significance of everyday actions and familiar objects. Gordon Hicks joined the conversation from Toronto via webcam.


Jennifer Schine discusses soundwalks

Sound Thinking 2010  Listen Again: The Changing World of Everyday Sound, Audio, and Noise & The Future of Sound Studies

November 21, 2010

Everyday sounds—the ones that we often take for granted—have dramatically influenced art and music of the last century.

At the beginning of the 21st century, artists who work with sound are rethinking the role and use of everyday sounds (both ‘natural’ and ‘synthetic’) in the creation of their art.

Performances and presentations included

  • Vancouver-based experimental musician Andy Dixon’s presentation of a new composition derived from the sounds of Metro Vancouver shopping malls
  • the Portland-based filmmaker and sound archivist Hisham Mayet exposed obscure and thrilling sounds from his travels through Africa and Asia
  • Montreal-based writer and scholar Jonathan Sterne, author of The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction (2003) and MP3: The Meaning of a Format (2012),  presented on new theories of sound
  • recent recipient of the R. Murray Schafer Soundscape Award, Jennifer Schine discussed new approaches to soundwalks, audio heritage and the legacy of the World Soundscape Project.
  • Montreal-based musician Tim Hecker and Saskatoon-based interdisciplinary artist Ellen Moffat discussed their respective critically-acclaimed approaches to sound.

Sound Thinking 2010 was presented in conjunction with Open Sound 2010:

View Sound Thinking 2010 Brochure


Ian Johnston in conversation with visitor

Artist's Talk with Ian Johnston

April 17, 2010

Questioning the nature of refuse, the scope of global consumption, and the limits of ceramic art, Johnston's artwork probes humanity's complex relationship to the objects of modern convenience and the environment at large.

Johnston discussed the history of his artistic practice over the last two decades, including the 3 artworks on exhibit and other pieces that comprise his larger body of work, Refuse Culture: Archaeology of Consumption. The artist was available to meet the public in the exhibition hall directly after the talk.


Ruth Scheuing at the computized Jacquard loom

Artist's Talk with Ruth Scheuing

February 13, 2010

What is the relationship between the textile arts and digital technology? Artist, Ruth Scheuing—whose residency and exhibition project Silkroads was held at the Surrey Art Gallery—explored this question through her own work at an illustrated Artist's Talk.

Scheuing's previous and current work involves the use of ancient textile patterns, newly created patterns assisted with the help of GPS (Global Positioning System) technology, and weaving on both manual and computerized looms.

In her talk, Scheuing discussed how she has transformed the TechLab space into a combination of shop window, contemporary gallery display, artist's studio and factory floor, the myths and metaphors of the historic trade route across Asia known as the Silk Road, and her use of one of only six computerized Jacquard looms.

View Ruth Scheuing: Silkroads Pamphlet


Surrey Urban Screen ribbon cutting

Surrey Urban Screen Opening Party

February 11, 2010 
Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre

Surrey Urban Screen presented Glocal, a digital artwork that reconfigured the exterior architecture of the then newly completed Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre into a generative façade. Glocal drew from a database of over 50,000 images contributed by people from all over the world.

Surrey Urban Screen is an outdoor projection venue, hosting outreach exhibition programs of the Surrey Art Gallery. Exhibitions appear 30 minutes after sunset, and conclude at midnight.

Surrey Urban Screen and Glocal, this venue's premiere exhibition, were made possible as a partnership between the Surrey Art Gallery and the City of Surrey's Public Art Program. Both are funded by the City of Surrey, CODE (Cultural Olympiad Digital Edition) of the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad, and the BC Arts Council Unique Opportunities Program. The Surrey Art Gallery gratefully acknowledges funding support for Glocal from Heritage Canada, Arts Partners in Creative Development, and the Canada Council for the Arts.


e-mixer participants

e-mixer '09 

November 19, 2009

Celebrating digital media, art and artists in Metro Vancouver, e-mixer was a party and networking event with presentations by sound artists and emerging digital media artists.

Acoustic Illusions was an evening of sound works performed by Marin Gotfrit, Peter Bowles and Yota Kobayashi (with Mark McGregor) that experimented with sensory illusion of the aural field.

e-mixer is presented in conjunction with Interactive Futures 09: Stereo and Intersections Digital Studios at Emily Carr University of Art + Design (ECUAD).


Detail of a composite image from Heaven's Breath by Chris Welsby, Brady Marks, and Scheherazaad Cooper

Chris Welsby and Brady Marks - Artists' Talk

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The artists discussed the role of collaboration in the production of their artwork Heaven's Breath, and situated it within their respective art practices.


composite of images submitted to Glocal

The Agency of Images

March 14, 2009

A panel discussion on the future of photography. How will photographs, and the way we experience and use them, change in the 21st century?

A series of presentations began with a review of the historic use of photography to record the world around us, and how photographs came to be used by government, business and citizens to communicate ideas.

The panel then addressed how photography today is complicated by new technologies of visualization and distribution along with the implications these changes are having on the future of fine art and visual culture. Panelists considered the Surrey Art Gallery's TechLab project, Glocal, in relation to these wider developments.

See The Agency of Images brochure.


Poster design by Isabelle Swiderski, seven25 design

Sound Thinking 2009: Conversations on Audio Art

February 28, 2009 

A series of presentations on the nature of hearing, making and transmitting sound, by specialists in audio art, science and technology. Included keynote by Heidi Grundmann, and performance by Anna Friz.


Ear pad and headphone

FM Transmitter Workshop

February 21 to 22, 2009

Participants built their own low power FM transmitters to create sound art. The workshop leader was Bobbi Kozinuk.


Poster designed Eric Wyttenback,

Sound Thinking 2008: Conversations on Audio Art

March 1, 2008

The "art of noise" has come a long way from its avant-garde roots in the 20th century. Current sonic art encompasses a wide array of practices, from unaltered field recordings to re-edited pop songs, from installations in art galleries to radio specific broadcasts, and from film soundtracks to live performances.

Curated by sound artist Jean Routhier and curatorial intern Joshua Bandy, the Sound Thinking symposium aimed to develop the existing community of sound-based artists with a day of dialogue.

The symposium offered entertaining and educational exchanges with practicing artists who will share reflections on their different perspectives. Admission to this event was free; donations were gratefully accepted.

View the Sound Thinking: Conversations on Audio Art PDF


e-mixer cocktail party

e-mixer Cocktail Party

November 29, 2007

The TechLab hosted an e-mixer, a networking cocktail party, that also presented selected artworks by alumni and graduate students of digital media programs in Metro Vancouver.

This event was intended to unite the new media and digital arts communities, and attracted over 100 artists, students, faculty and industry professionals. It was hosted in the Studio Theatre, a fabulous black box environment, decorated for the evening, with a sci-fi theme.

View the e-mixer Cocktail Party PDF

Artificial LIfe Roundtable

Artificial Life Roundtable

March 12, 2006

The Surrey Art Gallery presented a roundtable discussion of issues surrounding notions of artificial life. Participants included Jeff Fletcher, systems scientist and biologist; Niranjan Rajah, theorist and Surrey Art Gallery researcher in residence; exhibiting artist Reva Stone; and Margot Butler, artist and cultural theorist.

They engaged in an exploratory conversation about concepts of artificial life as understood in systems science and computer science, perceptions and applications of artificial life in contemporary art, and related philosophical considerations.


REMIX Poster by Lorena Parker

REMIXX talkback

November 19, 2005

An interactive evening of video, DJ mixing, electronic music, VJ/audio-visual performances and hip-hop dance in celebration of youth driven digital culture in Surrey.

The audience watched performances by the artists and were later invited to learn more about the artforms "backstage," including electronic music software, DJing, mixing, digital sampling and looping techniques, video software and techniques, VJing and live audio/visual mixing with DJ Eve, VJ Krunch of Blunt Faktory Visuals and Connie Jakab, founder of Shock Productions dance team.


Electronic Folk Art?! poster

Electronic Folk Art?!

February 6, 2005

Do-it-yourself robotic toys, homebrew videogames, ASCII images, homemade software - could these be a kind of 21st century folk art?

A roundtable of artists and academics who shared their thoughts on whether this practice exists as a distinct area of contemporary art in general and/or within the realm of new media were

  • Diana Burgoyne, PHD student in Interactive Arts, SFU
  • Don Krug, theorist, folk art researcher and curriculum specialist, UBC
  • Leonard Paul, electronic music composer and video game audio instructor
  • Niranjan Rajah, artist, theorist, curator and academic.


Roundtable and networking reception

Reflections on Every Bus Stop in Surrey: Artist’s Roundtable and Networking Reception

October 17, 2004

Alexandre Castonguay began the afternoon with a presentation about the Ottawa-based agency Artengine. Castonguay is the artistic director of this artist-run Internet site for visual and media artists. Sylvia Grace Borda followed with an illustrated lecture that discussed the historical precedents, her process and her postproduction thoughts on this epic project.

Ms. Borda has quickly gained an international profile for her documentary photographs of transportation systems and the architecture of subway stations and airports of cities, including Tokyo, London, and Taipei.

Following the discussions, artists and the public were invited to participate in a networking reception. This was an informal "show and tell" for artists and the public to meet and share their online work and favourite art websites.

Zainub Verjee, Media Arts Programs Officer for the Canada Council for the Arts, then presented information on the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) New Media Initiative, which partners artists with scientists, and also invited questions and discussion from artists and members of the science community interested in this initiative.


Visitor experiencing Andreyev's Greenroom

Julie Andreyev Artist’s Talk: Car/Park

June 12, 2004

Julie Andreyev talked about her new media work which responds to popular entertainment culture, car culture, and the cultures emerging with the use of mobile and interactive technologies.

This Canadian artist’s unusual new media art forms have received rave reviews in Vancouver, Tokyo, Britain and Stockholm. Andreyev combines digital video, mobile technology, the Internet, Max software, sensors, and a range of other tools to create interactive video environments, or modified cars that act as video jockey (VJ) studios and mobile screens.



NET_WORKS: net.artists talking offline 

March 30, 2003

Jim Andrews, Deanne Achong, Randy Adams, Jeremy Turner and Kate Armstrong met for a panel discussion entitled NET_WORKS: net.artists talking offline.

The artists discussed and debated the challenges and opportunities of the networked medium and used examples to show recent developments in this field.