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About

Donna Szoke is a Canadian artist whose practice includes video, animation, media art, installation, drawing, writing and collaboration. Her work has been exhibited in Canada, USA, France, Germany, Turkey, Hungary, Croatia, Cuba and Dubai, UAE. Szoke’s art practice began in Winnipeg, Manitoba designing for Guy Maddin’s early films, creating performance art and conceptually based drawings. After moving to Vancouver her practice shifted to digital video, collaboration, and installation. Her recent work includes interactive animation and printmaking. Her work is informed by critical studies with repeating themes of immanence, embodied perception, and the fluidity of lived experience. She has received numerous awards for her art research from funders including SSHRC, Canada Council for the Arts, BC Arts Council, and Ontario Arts Council. She holds a BA, BFA, Sculpture Diploma, and an Interdisciplinary MFA. She is currently an Associate Professor of Visual Art at Brock University, St. Catharines, ON.

Artists’ Statement

As a contemporary interdisciplinary artist, I use video, animation, writing, installation, collaboration and drawing to investigate immanence, failure, haptic perception and non-visual knowledge in moving images. I’ve been drawn towards animation for its inherent ability to suggest the flight of the imagination, and the rupture between what is ‘actual’ and what can be perceived. My recent research explores site-specific media art in public venues. I create interfaces, artworks and situations in which the public can engage with new media that addresses their physical place in the world. This way of working allows me to connect an art experience to emergent technologies, and our very localized, specific, sensory ways of being in the world. People, technology and the landscape combine in magical surprises.

As an artist it has been vitally important for me to continually shift my practice through mediums, practices, technical challenges and sets of concerns. This has been a welcome instability that has allowed me to continue to innovate through encounters with mediums in which my knowledge and experience is unstable. This approach has shaped my career to date through phases of design for auteur cinema, single channel video poetry, multi-channel video art, installation, new media, and animation. As a result of these intensive explorations and learning experiences my body of work encompasses all these mediums.

The world’s spiritual traditions are in agreement that what we see of the world rests on an unseen, subtle and meaningful order. Besides the invisible as the realm of the mystical, the invisible is also the realm of power in contemporary life. The degree to which one is able to make one’s self and actions invisible is in direct correlation to one’s power. The most important global events are relatively invisible and difficult to capture into images. What is unseen, yet apparent, is often the driving force in my work, and it manifests in different forms, such as missing language in writing, or haptic images (or images that evoke a sense of touch).