Back to All Events

The Renegade Library: a mail art project by Lois Klassen

  • VIVO Media Arts Centre 2625 Kaslo Street Vancouver, BC, V5M 1Y8 Canada (map)

@ VIVO Media Arts Centre
2625 Kaslo St. Vancouver BC

Wednesday to Saturday November 16th to 19th, 12pm to 5pm
Artist Talk on Saturday November 19th at 3pm

During the years 1996 to 1998, the Renegade Library developed as both a social practice, and a collection of over 500 artist books. Originating with a mail art call for “collaborative mail art in book form,” this project of Lois Klassen in conjunction with the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba, brought together over 700 artists from some 40 countries. Together, their correspondences produced a delightful collection of zines, assemblings, multiples, add & pass, miniatures, visual poetry, small presses, and much more. Renegade Library is an infectiously inspiring artifact of a 90s mail art and artist book experimentation. Today the Renegade Library occupies 20 boxes, which are individually being acquired by public artist book collections. The Christa Dahl Media Library & Archive has acquired box #3. As the distribution of the boxes continues Renegade Library has taken up residence in collections including Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba (Brandon), Also As Well Too (Winnipeg), Artexte (Montreal), Centro de Desarollo de las Artes Visuales (Havana), Institute of American Indian Arts (Santa Fe), Bautista Kabistan Esquivel Collective (San Salvador), and Emily Carr University Library (Vancouver).

Join us for an exhibition of The Renegade Library in the SiteFactory bus, which will be parked at VIVO Media Arts Centre.

LOIS KLASSEN is a Vancouver-based artist and writer engaged in social practice. Her on-going projects Comforter Art Action and Slofemists (with Lori Weidenhammer) combine collective textile actions with public dialogue about human displacement and feminisms. Her texts have explored the impact of performance art on street audiences, the relevance of art coming out of "nowhere," and declarations of current feminist practices. Her work has been hosted in Fillip Magazine, Santa Fe Art Institute, Banff New Media Institute, Plug In ICA and MAWA in Winnipeg, Public Journal, SOMA Summer in Mexico City, University of Salford (UK), Glenbow Museum, Western Front, Emily Carr University, Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba, Border Crossings, and more. She has worked as an art educator, a research ethics coordinator, and an Occupational Therapist. Her current PhD research (Queen’s University) concerns ethical formations in socially situated research-creation projects. Klassen received a Master of Applied Art in Visual Art from Emily Carr University in 2011.

The Satellite Video Exchange Society (now VIVO, incorporated 1973) was the first video exchange library, and one of the earliest international video centres and Canadian artist-run centres. Its founding mandate was to facilitate international information exchange through a public video library and, by the 1980s, to provide access to video equipment, basic workshops, and publish a magazine, Video Guide, distributed internationally.

VIVO’s mandate is to directly support artists and independent community-based producers to develop, exchange, and disseminate their skills in a supportive environment through accessible services and programs. Their vision is a robust, diverse, and vibrant media arts sector: a catalyst for critical and innovative engagement with the material forms and cultural meanings of media and technology. VIVO’s programs offer a broad range of services and opportunities to artists and the public.

Earlier Event: October 22
Dance Troupe Practice: Between A and B
Later Event: February 3
prOphecy sun: Carrying Others