Archive for Canadian Events

Want something to turn, but don’t know where to turn?

Don’t know whether to go AC or DC? Want to take the first steps toward steppers?

Take our new Motors workshop, with Bill Gentles, Feb 15th, 7 to 10.

More details of the new workshop series here:

(Photo by Rob Cruickshank, used under Creative Commons license. )

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Do you live in Parkdale? ME TOO! Read this!!

12th Annual Parkdale Film + Video Showcase
June 25-27, 2010

The Parkdale Film + Video Showcase is an annual summer celebration of the artists and audiences who live and work in the eclectic Parkdale neighbourhood. Now in its 12th year, this compact 3-day festival offers film and video screenings at the Revue Cinema (some with live music and other performance elements), outdoor screenings under the stars in Fuller Avenue Parkette, media installations in Gallery 1313, local homes, and storefronts, as well as community workshops and other events.


The Parkdale Beauty Pageant Society seeks new, vintage or under-appreciated short films, videos and media installations made by artists living and/or working in Parkdale for the 12th Annual Parkdale Film + Video Showcase. Artist fees paid, short works preferred.
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Witness; it’s a lovely word.

In her introduction to Seven Days in the Art World, Sarah Thornton reflects  on the transcendental qualities on contemporary art and its potentials as a religious alternative. This really struck a chord with me, and I’m using it to enunciate certain key points in this blog. The high conceptual artist is arguably on “an existential channel through which they bring meaning into their lives (27).”  But any conceptual/pseudo-religious experience is methodical, organized and beyond its pomp and ceremony, we trust it can offer something more.

My post is about a TWO MONTHS after this event, and while I wanted to respond immediately I had to prioritize other deadlines, and this event was still able to resonant. I’m happy now to contextualize Speechcraft with the rest of Carey Young’s exhibit Counter Offer at the Power Plant. The show ends THIS SUNDAY MAY 18TH so you have one more chance to see it.

Speechcraft, by Carey Young, took place at the Power Plant  Sunday March 15 2009. I decided to go bear witness(this is our new word of the day). I was almost not allowed in for being late, not unlike other familiar Sunday rituals of my youth (the Catechism teacher never liked me) and I’m ever grateful that Helena Reckett took pity on me and let me in.

Speechcraft has been performed in several cities in collaboration with an organization called The Toastmasters. The Toastmasters are a bit like a book club for public speaking. Started in the basement of a YMCA in 1924 by Ralph C. Smedley, young men were introduced to some of the protocol behind making toasts, and the organization steadily grew to now be an international institution, with a newsletter, awards and national and international conferences.

The organization opened up membership to women in 1973, forty-nine years after its founding. Carey Young is a member. The event was structured as such. Members of the High Park toastmaster’s club would candidly present ideas around objects that Carey Young provided from her studio. A grammarian was designated to keep track of how many “umms” were uttered and the improper use of “and” and “like” to present ideas. The audience had to clap once when they heard the word of the day. In this case the word of the day was critique.
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Hating men, art and myself all at the same time.

I just finished a bodum full of coffee and a toasted bagel. I’m munching on an apple and I just finished washing dishes.  I’m kind of at this point in my packing where I’m SICK of seeing cardboard and can hardly see my floor to clean it. My new roommate did an awesome job helping me clean and unpack. I didn’t see him until Saturday night and when I tried to help he assured me, “no Laura, none of this mess is your fault….”

So yah, I missed everything on Friday. YYZ’s having a thirtenth party, MOCCA has Contact’s opening (man when did MOCCA change there website? Well about flippin’ time anyway), and come to think of it 401 had lots of openings that day. Plus the odd housewarming I said I would attend, rsvped via facebook. So I feel bad for not doing that. I was asleep by 10:30pm on May 1st. Right now my apt right now looks like a bad James Carl installation, I’m trying to not be grumpy and believe in art right now.

The best art experience I had in the last two weeks was treating my younger brother and his friend John Naro to a FADO performance called Not Waterproof by Julie Andree T. I admit I had never seen her work before that night, and the description sounded pretty straight forward, installation based set design, perhaps theatrical, etc, so I thought it would be pedestrian. Man, did I call THAT one wrong, and am I ever glad I did.

The performance started with the artist talking conversationally to the audience, and had to start the performance having a cigarette. She grabbed it  from the audience, took a drag or two and then taped it to a table, all while casually dropping anecdotes describing her practice. She made reference to previous performances where she urinates on the floor, at which some laughed nervously, and then drank a large glass of wine in one gulp. She then asks for another cigarette, does the same gesture, and swallows another full glass of wine, and I can hear my 18 year old brother muttering “Chug, chug, chug, chug!” After the fourth taped cigarette and before she sits by a stringed instrument, Julie runs to the nearby vase of water and vomits into it silently while the water inside turns a plum red. The tone changes quickly and my brother realizes this isn’t Janeane Garofalo.

another iteration of Not Waterproof performed at the Cardiff Art and Time (CAT) festival

another iteration of Not Waterproof performed at the Cardiff Art and Time (CAT) festival

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I got this song on repeat stuck in my head….


I just posted this to refer back to this post from awhile ago. But it’s going somewhere….

MGMT seems to be the choice music for performance artists and politicians and it’s become kind of my personal soundtrack for the last couple of weeks. Seriously though, look at this:

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Current events

Lately I’ve been playing with some high-intensity LEDs.  Now, you’ll remember that LEDs have some pretty specific requirements. You want to be able to limit the current through the LED, which has a fixed voltage across it. Now normally for small currents, we use a resistor, or a series/parallel array of LEDs and resistors. This online calculator helps you figure it out But with some of these newer parts, it’s not practical.  This LED for instance, has a forward voltage of 2.85 volts, and requires a current of 350mA.  If you wanted to run this off of a 5 volt supply, with a dropping resistor, you would have 5V-2.85V=2.15V across the resistor, so for 350 mA , R=2.15/.350A or 6.14 ohm The power dissipated in the resistor would be the current through the resistor times the voltage across it, or .350A*2.15V=0.75 watts.  Not the greatest idea, particularly if you are running off batteries. Also, it’s hard to get precise values of high-power resistors, and you don’t want to overdrive the LED, since you will shorten its life, and underdriving it wastes the good money that you spent on a super-bright LED.  Fortunately, the manufacturers of these  LEDs also make power supplies which are constant current sources,  designed to output a set current irrespective of the load resistance.   Similar drivers are available to drive long series  strings of LEDs without complicated resistor networks- the voltage is increased by switching circuits to be able to cover the forward voltage requirements of the string, and the current is limited  to the point required for the LEDs. You can make your own current source using an LM317 regulator for only a dollar or two.  Constant current sources are also of great use in battery charging circuits and audio amplifiers.

(Currant image by Vladimer Shioshvili, used under Creative Commons license)

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  • Upcoming Workshops and Events

    • Events on April 24, 2014
      • Motors
        Starts: 7:00 pm
        Ends: April 24, 2014 - 10:00 pm
        Description: Register here:

        In this, the second of two workshops based on different types of motors, we'll work with stepper motors. Steppers are powerful motors that provide precision control over the rotation speed or exact position of the motor shaft; they also require electronic circuits or microcontrollers to operate them. We'll talk about how to choose the right stepper motor for the job. We'll build a control circuit based on a 555 timer and a special power driver, connect our motor and start playing. We'll also discuss how to use the Arduino microcontroller to control speed and direction of DC motors, servomotors and stepper motors and look at some alternative Arduino-compatible motor controller boards.

        This workshop costs more than our regular offerings because we give you some awesome and useful stuff to take home with you. Your registration fee includes the cost of:
        A stepper motor
        A stepper motor driver circuit, breadboard-ready
        Assorted electronic breadboard components

        About the Instructor:
        Bill Gentles has worked for the past 30 years as a Biomedical Engineer. He has a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Toronto. He has recently been shifting careers as he has discovered that what he really wanted to be when he grew up was an artist. He previously presented the motors workshop at Interaccess in 2013.

        Refund and Cancellation Policy:

        Refund requests are granted if received 10 business days or more prior to the workshop date. Exceptions to this policy will be clearly stated.
    • Events on April 30, 2014
      • Open Studio
        Starts: 7:00 pm
        Ends: April 30, 2014 - 10:00 pm
        Location: 9 Ossington Ave, Toronto ON
        Description: Hang out with some like-minded artists, technicians, and nerds. Bring projects and share them, or get help with problems.
    • Events on May 1, 2014
      • Intro to 3D modelling with Rhino
        Starts: 7:00 pm
        Ends: May 1, 2014 - 10:00 pm
        Description: Register here:

        Rhino is the ideal 3D modelling software for artists and designers due to its versatility, low cost, and ability to handle a variety of different types of jobs and export to numerous file formats.

        Like lots of other software, Rhino is adept creating 3D renderings with one of its many powerful rendering plugins available. However, this versatile software is also useful for artists creating files for 3D printing, CNC milling, machining and laser cutting. Rhino has also become increasingly popular among designers for its Grasshopper plugin, a parametric modeller that we'll cover in the next workshop.

        In this workshop we'll learn the basic principles of 3D modelling in general, and the Rhino software in particular, by creating our own model. After that, we'll learn how to use the VRay rendering plugin and create a finished CG image.

        MORE INFO:
        What prior experience do I need?
        None! If you've never done 3D modelling before, that's fine. And if you are familiar with another 3d modelling software like SketchUp, then you'll be ahead of the curve learning Rhino, which interfaces a lot differently. And you will probably really like Rhino.
        Do I get to go home with something cool?
        Yes! You'll have made a well-modelled and well-rendered digital image. Hang it on your fridge!
        What do I need to bring?
        Bring your laptop, and have a trial version of Rhino pre-installed. You can download the trial version here: . Please note that the trial version only allows you to save 25 times before asking you to pony up for the real version, so don't go too crazy before the workshop date. Also... if you're planning on taking next week's workshop on parametric modelling with the Grasshopper plug-in, then be especially stringy with that CTRL-S! If you can't bring a laptop, no worries--just e-mail me beforehand and I'll get you a loaner.
        Is it OK to have a PC or Mac?
        Rhino is native to PCs, so you're all good a PC user. If you're on Mac, you're also in luck... the OSX version of Rhino is still in beta, so it's free, and it won't be much different from the PC version that the instructor will be teaching on. You'll just have to send McNeel your e-mail address to get a download link, and you 'll be part of their "beta testing" team. Woo-hoo! Bad news for Mac users: next week's Grasshopper workshop won't run on Macs, so if you have a choice between Mac and PC, choose PC.

        Mani Mani (B.Arch. S. + MArch.) is a Toronto based interdisciplinary designer. Mani is the founder and the director of Fishtnk Design Factory- a design and manufacturing studio focused on innovative design processes in architecture, furniture and architectural products.
        Mani's work covers a wide range of disciplines from fashion design to urban planning and has consulted international firms and design organizations. Mani has been an active member of Toronto’s design community since 2007 and he has worked and collaborated with a number of influential local architects.
        Mani's latest research is focuses on responsive architecture and physical computation in built environments.
        Mani is currently a sessional lecturer at Ryerson University, Department of Architectural Sciences and in the past he has taught workshops and been an invited critic at University of Toronto, Waterloo University and the polytechnique University of Timisuara.

        Refund and Cancellation Policy:
        Refund requests are granted if received 10 business days or more prior to the workshop date. Exceptions to this policy will be clearly stated.
    • Events on May 7, 2014
      • Open Studio
        Starts: 7:00 pm
        Ends: May 7, 2014 - 10:00 pm
        Location: 9 Ossington Ave, Toronto ON
        Description: Hang out with some like-minded artists, technicians, and nerds. Bring projects and share them, or get help with problems.
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