Jon Davies in Conversation with Lisa Steele and John Greyson

On Wednesday, June 9, 2021
at 4pm EDT on Zoom
Free online event
Registration through Eventbrite

Zoom link

The conversation will be mainly conducted in English
In conjunction with the exhibition at VOX “I Almost Ran Over Liza Minnelli Today”: Colin Campbell and Lisa Steele in L.A., 1976–77 and the launch of the book More Voice-Over: Colin Campbell Writings by Concordia University Press.

Join guest curator Jon Davies for a wide-ranging conversation with two key figures in Canadian video art: artist Lisa Steele, and video/film artist and Campbell collaborator John Greyson.

The discussion will take up questions around video, narrative and performance arising from Campbell and Steele’s time in L.A., where they used voice and gesture to experiment with different forms of performance in a practice Campbell called “internal fiction.” Participants will also discuss the close relationship between video and writing.

The event launches the new book More Voice-Over: Colin Campbell Writings, published by Concordia University Press. Edited and with an introduction by Jon Davies, it gathers for the first time a broad selection of Campbell’s writings for video and beyond, including dozens of scripts as well as articles, lectures, short fiction, and excerpts from his two unpublished novels. In these witty and perceptive texts, Campbell considers sexuality and gender, desire and longing, power, history, artist-run culture, video and its audiences, censorship, AIDS, and more. More Voice-Over illuminates Campbell’s development as a central figure in the history of video art as well as the importance of writing to his work and to video as a medium.


In preparation for the conversation, discover or rediscover these two videos made by Campbell and Steele during their stay in California. Streaming until June 13, 2021.

Lisa Steele, The Ballad of Dan Peoples, 1976, 8 min
Colin Campbell, Hollywood and Vine, 1977, 20 min

Colin Campbell was born in Reston, Manitoba, in 1942 and received his MFA from the Claremont Graduate School in 1969. His works include Sackville, I’m Yours… (1972), The Woman from Malibu (1976), and Bad Girls (1980). He moved to Toronto in 1973 and taught at the Ontario College of Art and the University of Toronto. His videos have been shown at the Bienal de São Paulo (1977), the Venice Biennale (1980), the Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among other venues. Campbell was also a founding director of Vtape and passed away in 2001.

Jon Davies is a Montreal-born curator, writer, and PhD Candidate in Art History at Stanford University. Between 2008–12 his curated retrospective People Like Us: The Gossip of Colin Campbell toured across Canada. In 2011–12, he curated the large-scale exhibition Coming After while working as Assistant Curator at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto. His book Trash: A Queer Film Classic about the Paul Morrissey film was published in 2009. His edited anthology More Voice-Over: Colin Campbell Writings will be published by Concordia University Press in 2021.

John Greyson is a video/film artist and pioneer of the new queer cinema. Since 1984, his many features, shorts and transmedia works have explored such queer activist issues as police violence, prison, AIDS activism, solidarity, homo-nationalism and apartheid (both South African and Israeli). These include International Dawn Chorus Day (2021), Mercurial (2018), Gazonto (2016), Murder in Passing (2013), Fig Trees (2009), Lilies (1996), Zero Patience (1993), The Making of Monsters (1991) and Urinal (1989). He teaches in York University’s Cinema & Media Arts department and is co-editor of Queer Looks: Perspectives on Lesbian & Gay Film & Video.

Lisa Steele was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1947 and immigrated to Canada in 1968; she currently resides in Toronto. Her solo works include Birthday Suit – with scars and defects (1974), A Very Personal Story (1974), and The Gloria Tapes (1980). Since 1983 she has collaborated exclusively and extensively with Kim Tomczak. Her videos have been shown at the Venice Biennale (1980), the Kunsthalle Basel, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Long Beach Museum of Art, among other venues. She is also a founding director of Vtape and Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto.


“I Almost Ran Over Liza Minnelli Today”: Colin Campbell and Lisa Steele in L.A., 1976–77
2021.02.11 - 06.26

In September 1976 video artists Colin Campbell and Lisa Steele packed a Volkswagen station wagon full of equipment and clothes and left Toronto for Southern California…

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