Reflexive Cinema and Cathode-ray Tube TVs

I have a fascination with cathode-ray tube (CRT) televisions. You know, those big square TVs that were in most households before the 2000s, but were rapidly replaced by their adversary the flat screen television. 

I don’t know exactly why I am so hooked on CRT TVs … maybe it's the nostalgia associated with them, or possibly the cultural and time specific stamp the TVs evoke. I do know for sure that these old televisions evoke imagery of the all American family huddled around the screen awaiting their nightly dose of media messages.


This is a classic trope that has often been explored in a variety of art forms (many of which have inspired me). It’s also a tool I use to incite the viewer to question their relationship to the very artwork they are viewing. In other words, the trendy trope of “reflexive cinema.” The tool allows for me to explore some very interesting questions. What is the viewer’s role in creating the artwork they are witnessing? How can the viewer affect the artwork? And if an artwork is able to, in a way, wake up a viewer from the common passive state of consumption, what is this new proactive viewer capable of?

Almost all of my films from the last six years touch upon these questions, and similarly, almost all of the films contain imagery of CRT TVs. One such film is titled Static, and directly explores the often toxic relationship viewers can have to the media they consume. I wanted to express the painfully numbing capabilities of screens, and the feeling of being trapped in a vicious cycle.

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Static is a film I created in 2014, but I have recently re-developed the work into an installation where the film will be screened on a CRT TV. In the film, we see a mountain of old CRT TVs that have mesmerized the viewer within the movie. In the installation, this mountain will be recreated, further provoking this reflexive nature of the piece. Will you sit and watch the film in its entirety, or will you choose to not be trapped like the viewer within Static, and walk away?

I am constantly attempting to push the limits of what filmmaking can look like, which made the premiere of Static well suited to be shown with Cinevolution Media Arts Society. I also deeply care and advocate for accessibility of art, and am striving for new venues and forms of presentation that allow for everyone to access media art.

Thus my love of Cinevolution. Their mandate includes nurturing “the decentralization of art while forging new connections among artists and academics to the community. [...] We aspire to foster media literacy, cultivate creativity, and stimulate critical discourse and new ideas.” Sounds right up my alley!

I am so proud that Static has been selected for Cinevolution’s Digital Carnival 2019. My work will be seen alongside many other wonderful media artists’ pieces, and will be viewable to the public this weekend as part of the Richmond World Festival.

When: Friday August 30th from 4pm - 10pm and on Saturday August 31st from 11am - 10pm

Where: Richmond Cultural Centre Plaza at 7700 Minoru Gate, Richmond BC.