Browsing articles in "art"
Mar 17, 2008

This is art VS This is not art (2008)

8:44 am
The cold is intense.  My walk to the College is like an expedition.  My head is in there, somewhere under the layers.  As I breathe frost is forming on my scarf and face.  I feel the cold creeping into my fingers and back.  It is starting to get in through my boots.  Under my hood, all I hear is the resonating squeak of my footsteps like a walk in Styrofoam moon boots.  It hurts.

The SAIT campus is already bustling with people.  We look like steam engines, puffing white clouds of life that freeze in mid air.  I think it’s minus 40C.
Choo! Choo!

Horror!  I spot a conductor/student walking leisurely.  His steam is thick like molasses.  He isn’t even wearing a tuque.  He has a jacket with a hood but he is not covering his head!  His face is calm.  The man appears to be immune to pain.  I am thinking, he looks like me in July…

As I continue, I think that the man must have lost his power of thought.  Then, it strikes me that I am witnessing a performance, an art performance.  As Laurie Anderson once played violin while her standing with her ice skates frozen into a block of ice, I interpret that this man was doing something amazing.  I just didn’t realize it at the exact moment.

I arrive – I have made it!  I am finally at ACAD.  The warmth of the mall hits me like a wall of bliss.  Others have arrived at the same time; all look stunned by the brutality of the cold.  We move slowly while our clothing regains some sort of flexibility. The mall is filled with the wonderful works of the First Year Studies Exhibition.  Near the elevators, there are a few men kneeling down beside their buckets of cement.  They are busy repairing broken tiles and have set up a barricade with yellow tape.

On my way to the Faculty lounge I notice that the monitor of the Diversity booth, which sits in the middle of the Mall, is sporting a black label stuck in the middle of the screen.  The label has been made with an old label maker and the white letters state: THIS IS NOT ART.  I gaze around the mall before reading the label again.  My first thought is that the label points conceptually to surrealist René Magritte’s painting, The Treachery Of Images*.  This is after all, an Art school, throbbing with ideas.  Satisfied, I continue to the Faculty Lounge.  Then…

I have this weird feeling that maybe the statement on that label was not so layered, not so complex.  Maybe someone, here in the innards of this laboratory, needs to have things labelled according to the TELL ME WHAT IS THIS book.

Time flies.  My Sound I class is finishing the set up for a laptop performance in the arthole.  Things are going well in the placement of two tables, a P.A. system, and with an orderly jungle of cables and adaptors, 8 laptops have been wired up and are ready to go.  Tim from the AV has been helping us.  The idea for our performance is to sample sounds with a microphone and create real time loops with the material.  As there are 8 loops created at any moment it becomes clear that this is as much a sonic experimentation as an exercise in listening.

We have been creating texture and rhythm for 30 minutes now.  Some of the results are curious, some are engaging, and some make for difficult listening.

The group has developed a minimal soundscape, almost inaudible, which makes the ghetto blaster of the café overpowering.  After a while I decide to ask the café staff to lower its music.  The person I ask looks at me without speaking.  Without words, the message to me is of the unhappiness of being forced to listen to sound art.  The unspoken words might be that the sound experiment is cutting into the musical dreamscape.  I thank him for lowering the sound of the ghetto blaster.

On my way back to the laptop area, I realize how bizarre this non-comment is.  I mean this is an Art school.  This is a ‘laboratory environment that is committed to unconstrained inquiry’.  I begin to wonder many students, here at school, boast a dislike for abstract painting over landscape painting, or for curved shapes over square angles, or for lights that are not of the hue prescribed in the TELL ME WHAT IS THIS SO I CAN MAKE SENSE OF IT book.  If there is aesthetic intolerance here, one can only imagine how dangerous it is outside of the lab.

The performance is over.  We have taken all of the equipment down.  On our way back to the fourth floor I notice that the workers who were repairing the broken tiles are gone.  They have left warnings on the barricade.  The warnings state: DO NOT TOUCH.  THIS IS NOT AN ARTWORK.

YIKES!  Is this another Treachery Of Images or is it just the steam from our mouths making it difficult to see?  It is not yet midday and the opportunity to generate dialogue has raised its head three times.

Daniel Dugas

* The Treachery Of Images (La trahison des images 1928-29) is a painting by Belgian Surrealist painter René Magritte, famous for its inscription Ceci n’est pas une pipe.

NB – All of these events took place, not exactly at the times stated here.


Oct 13, 2004

An Artist Statement (2004)

An Artist Statement by Daniel Dugas

from a lecture at the University of Lethbridge – October 2004 / updated in February 2008

So what is it that I do?
What excites me?
What makes me angry?
What makes me tick and go on as an artist?
I am interested in everything but maybe the word everything is too big.
In 1990, I was finishing a residency at the Banff Center and I thought that maybe I could find some work and stay in the area.
I went downtown to a construction site. I made sure that I was wearing my steel-toed boots. I asked to speak with the foreman.
He came walking over, and I remember that he did not look too happy that day,
or maybe he was just a crabby kind of guy.
Anyway he said: “What do you want”?
I answered, “I am looking for work.”
He asked me what I could do, and I said, “Everything”.
He looked at me in Total Disgust and said: “Nobody can do everything, ” and he walked away.
I was left standing in this huge hole of mud, kind of stunned.
Maybe instead of saying ‘everything,’ I could have said ‘many things,’ and I could have added that I like to learn.

The thing is that I am interested in many things.
I am interested in construction,
how things are built,
how people work together to put something up.
I am curious about TAYLORISM: The Principles of Scientific Management.
I am interested in knowing why the foreman looked so angry when he said that nobody does everything.
And, as I don’t know what building they were constructing, I am still curious to know if they put brick or stucco on the façade.
I am also interested in poetry
In the idea of going on a sailboat
In insects – and especially the ants
In patterns on wallpaper In barcodes

In extended memory
In Martha Stewart and bad financial advice
In woodworking and the history of glue
In walking long enough to forget where I am going

In Black Boxes which are really orange
In Time to Live
In Smileys:
Ta Ta For Now
Smile Smile with a large nose
Laughing hard
Ill with the flu

I am interested in Open source codes and distribution
In wikis In people having a chance to write
In blogs
The story of our world
In inventing meanings

I am interested in cryptography
In the Morse code
In algorithms of all sorts
In the frequency of letters in texts
In the absence of the letter E in the novel A Void

I am interested in loops
In dead ends
In spam
In people working madly to distribute that shit
In people working madly to dodge it
In indexes,
And all of the things that are left un-indexed
And all of those that will never make the cut

I am interested in fungus and rot
In weird and beautiful mushrooms that grow in the dark woods

In information explosion
In logic and in Pascal,
who said a long time ago that the heart has its reasons, which reason does not know
In Ludwig Wittgenstein, who said that our difficulty is, that we keep speaking of simple objects,
and are unable to mention a single one

I am interested in questioning the digital divide
In crossing bridges
In finding common grounds
In trying to breathe

I am interested in the black BMW’s
In the shiny Mercedes
In groups like Earth on Empty
Artists in Action

In wealth
In the Theatre of the Oppressed and Augusto Boal
In Saul Alinsky and Community Organizing
In the words of Winston Churchill, who said that
Money is like a sixth sense, essential for the complete use of the five others.

In stock markets
In crashes
In rise of opportunities
In bad luck In the absence of luck
In Boom or bust economies
In Power In mechanisms of exchange

In high tech and in low tech things of all kind

I am interested in parsing text files
In Apple C
Apple X
Apple V

In apples with worms
In the names that are given to computer viruses
Like Clone
War 547
C Magic

Or the names that are given to racehorses
Like Exaggerate This
Or Trick Again
Or Sightseek who won $630.000 so far this year

I am interested in databases In electrical diagrams In the taste of wine In Pong

In ping pong

I am fascinated with weather, hurricanes in particular
I am interested in models of analysis
And in seeing how they can be used in an art context
I am interested in the names that are given to future storms


Those are the Atlantic storm names for 2008

The most intense hurricane to have hit the mainland United States remained unnamed.
It was in 1935 and was a category 5
With a Minimum Pressure of 892 mb

I am concerned about the repercussion of things
What happens when something is done?
What are the consequences of all actions?

I am interested in the politics of everything
The marketing of the politics
The reduction of the marketing
The online editions of the newspapers
The top stories

The breaking news
The exclusive interviews
The talk shows
I am interested in the wit of the guests
The waste of time
The length of life
The shadows of puppets on the walls
Brightly lit by pepper kits
Sold in advance
Sold out to the crowd
I am amazed that Oprah is on the cover of her magazine every month
I read that Oprah is the leading source for information about life and love

I am interested in pocket PCs
In the culture of pick pocket pcs
In the point and click
In the click and disappear
In the cyclical nature of fashion
In Simple Text Messages
In Thoreau talking about the telegraph
In how loud people talk on their cell phones on the buses
On the complexity of the discussions
And how others are trapped inside this dialog
Delicate choices have to be made between broccoli and asparagus
Between Bits & Bites and Vegetable Thins
All during the ride home on the train.

I am puzzled on why there is a 1-800 number on every box and every bag.
I have never bookmarked anything of Kraft, Pepsi or GM on my browser.

I like to look in the dictionaries
And bounce from one word to another
From one image to another

I believe that the world can be explain through anecdotes


Sep 29, 2001

Trunk75 (2001)


The TRUNK 75 was a 2 day festival held in honour of ACAD’s 75th anniversary. On Saturday, September 29 and Sunday, September 30, 2001, ACAD Students, Alumni, Faculty, Staff, and Friends, displayed art works built around the theme of ‘vehicle.’ The idea was to have fun while displaying or creating art. Performances, Honda Housewives Hospitality’, live poetry and Tarot card readings, were all elements in this cross-disciplinary event. While most of the action took place on the upper level of the parkade next to ACAD, the ‘Instant Road Movies’ teams, set up in front of the College. They invited members of the public to the adventure of playing a role in a movie while riding around Calgary.

The Spirit of Drum Corps Alumni Association band kicked off the event. President Dr. Desmond Roquefort delivered the opening address for TRUNK 75 on both days. Masters of Ceremony Don Mabie and Wendy Toogood introduced guests and came up with ingenious methods for awarding prizes to many of the Participants.

TRUNK is an alternative to conventional exhibition spaces. The idea is to go to people instead of waiting for them to knock at the door. It is fueled by a desire to have fun showing art. Each TRUNK exhibition becomes unique by location and through individual Participants expanding on the concept. TRUNK 75 was open to the public from noon until 5 p.m. on both days. The weather was warm, and sunny enough for some Participants to play a bit of frisby.

Trunk 75 was dedicated to the memory of Calgary artist and ACAD Alumnus Michael Zeindler who drowned in a scuba diving accident in the Bow River on August 26.



Jun 1, 1999

UFO (1999)

Jan 13, 1999

Quel est le rôle de l’avant-garde en arts visuels en Acadie? (1999)

Quel est le rôle de l’avant-garde en arts visuels en Acadie?

Lorsqu’on m’a demandé d’écrire sur le rôle de l’avant-garde en Acadie, ma première réaction n’a pas été des plus enthousiastes. Le terme avant-garde est un mot fourre-tout où se retrouve à peu près n’importe quoi. Du salon de coiffure avant-garde à l’avant-garde russe, il y en a pour tous les goûts.

Alors j’ai dû me poser la question de savoir, non pas quel est le rôle de l’avant-garde en Acadie, mais bien si l’avant-garde existait encore et si elle pouvait exister ici. Laissez-moi vous dire ce que j’ai trouvé: “Ils sont le plus souvent pendus, roués de coups, mis aux piloris, ou condamnés à divers supplices.”

C’est ainsi que Voltaire, dans son dictionnaire philosophique, parlait des prophètes. On pourrait en dire presque autant des artistes de l’avant-garde, car les deux font un peu le même métier. Tous les deux sont des tranches-montagnes sans égal.

Ils courent en ligne droite, devancent le Temps, et après avoir gagné quelques mètres d’avance, ils se retournent rapidement et font, à ce Temps inexorable, un pied de nez magistral. Mais voilà, les artistes de l’avant-garde sont le plus souvent ignorés et laissés à eux-mêmes. L’abandon est leur supplice. On a bien dit de Jeff Koon qu’il était the last bit of methane in the intestine of the dead cow of post-modernism [1] , mais en général le désintéressement est presque de rigueur.

L’avant-garde à bout de souffle

Il est impossible de parler de l’avant-garde sans parler du courant dominant – du mainstream – (est-ce à dire que le public est dominé?). Ce courant, qui nous traverse de toutes parts, aime bien l’homogénéité et la rareté d’alternatives. L’avant-garde, elle, se plaît à trouver de nouveaux sentiers, elle explore et quelquefois elle s’égare, et avec elle son public. Elle est souvent difficile à saisir parce qu’elle exige un regard critique. La plupart d’entre nous allons au cinéma ou à la galerie d’art pour nous divertir. L’avant-garde interroge. Pendant que Céline Dion cash in, Yvonne Rainer pose des questions. C’est comme ça…

L’artiste d’avant-garde a été une sorte de prophète des temps modernes. Il fut l’audace même, le précurseur, l’annonciateur qui prépare la venue. Il a souvent été téméraire, arrogant, impertinent, insolent et sans gêne. L’avant-garde a été, au fil de notre siècle, Russe, dada, surréaliste, Léttriste, SI, IMIB, Cobra, Fluxus, néo géo, etc.

Le prophète et l’artiste d’avant-garde, parce qu’il sont en avance sur leur temps, ne peuvent que prétendre jouer le rôle de précurseurs. Ce qu’ils annoncent n’est pas encore là pour leur donner raison. Le Temps est l’outil avec lequel ils fabriquent leur oeuvre et le Temps est devenu un outil de paradoxe. Si le mouvement artistique d’avant-garde s’inscrit dans le XXe siècle, il est au seuil du second millénaire, à bout de souffle et semble manquer de cette pertinence qui fut pendant si longtemps son fer de lance.

Cette perte est attribuable à un fait fondamental : Le Temps s’est dérobé sous ses pieds. L’avant-garde se bute à une élasticité temporelle qui caractérise notre époque. Car comment prédire, comment être le précurseur de n’importe quoi lorsque l’ère dans laquelle nous vivons est un melting pot de toutes les époques?

Dans les revivals des années 50, 60, 70 et bientôt 80, qu’est-ce que le futur sinon des réalités de plus en plus virtuelles, de plus en plus floues et sans attache. La vitesse à laquelle la publicité, par exemple, récupère tout ce qui est nouveau, tout ce qui est audacieux, rend l’audace moins imprudente qu’elle le semblait dans les décennies précédentes.

C’est une époque où les décorateurs de bureaux sont devenus des conservateurs d’art. Avec la chute du mur de Berlin et de l’Union Soviétique, l’avant-garde n’a cessé de glisser sur une peau de banane historique.

Une paralysie de l’audace

Nous vivons maintenant dans une ère où la réussite est tellement importante, ou le besoin d’approbation est tellement fort, qu’il s’est créé une espèce de paralysie de l’audace. Il existe des artistes en début de carrières qui parlent de la peur de commettre des erreurs. C’est aberrant. L’avant-garde est morte il n’existe que de l’art actuel, de l’art d’aujourd’hui.

C’est dans l’art contemporain que les gestes de création extraordinaires existent, ici comme ailleurs, mais comme tout, ils sont de plus en plus guidés par cet esprit d’entreprise, de stratégie et de plan d’affaires. L’art d’avant-garde n’existe plus parce que le Temps est devenu mou et ne peut plus être devancé. Il n’existe que deux choses : l’art contemporain et le folklore. Et ce qui n’est pas actuel est nécessairement nostalgique.

En Acadie les deux coexistent de façon pacifique sans faire de remous, paisiblement. L’un regarde aujourd’hui et l’autre se rappelle d’avoir vu.

L’eau qui stagne est la première à geler

La vraie question donc, est de savoir quel est le rôle de l’art contemporain en Acadie ou si la possibilité de prendre des risques existe encore pour les artistes acadiens. Malgré des limitations évidentes à plusieurs niveaux – le NB et l’I-P-E sont les seules provinces au Canada à ne pas avoir de centre de production vidéo géré par des artistes, quoique la galerie Struts de Sackville vient de créer récemment la structure de leur nouveau Media Centre mais il reste encore beaucoup à faire avant que les artistes puissent y créer – il y a ici des communautés artistiques talentueuses et il existe quelques institutions qui devraient être capables d’infuser aux artistes ce désir de repousser un peu plus loin la frontière du connu et de l’inconnu.

L’art acadien ne fonctionne pas en vase clos, il ne peut que s’insérer dans un discours qui s’articule à l’échelle mondiale. Et pour être effectif, l’art acadien doit défier les conventions, tabasser les traditions et questionner les gestes et les rêves de la société et de l’individu.

[1] Attribué à l’ écrivain et historien d’art d’origine australienne Robert Hughes.



L’auteur est artiste pluridisciplinaire et enseignant à l’Université de Moncton.
Publié: publié dans le Ven’d’est, numéro 82, janvier 1999, pp 29 – 31

Jun 13, 1982

Lorenzo- telex, laser and subterfuge (1982)

1982 Lorenzo- telex, laser and subterfuge, GSN, Moncton and Language Plus, Alma, QC


Daniel H. Dugas

Artiste numérique, poète et musicien, Daniel H. Dugas a participé à des expositions individuelles et de groupe ainsi qu’à plusieurs festivals et événements de poésie en Amérique du Nord, en Europe, au Mexique et en Australie. Son treizième recueil de poésie « émoji, etc. » / « emoji, etc. » vient de paraître aux Éditions Basic Bruegel.

Daniel H. Dugas is a poet, musician, and videographer. He has participated in solo and group exhibitions as well as festivals and literary events in North America, Europe, Mexico, and Australia. His thirteenth book of poetry, 'émoji, etc.' / 'emoji, etc.' has been published by the Éditions Basic Bruegel Editions.

Date : Mars / March 2022
Genre : Poésie / Poetry
Français / English

émoji, etc. / emoji, etc.

Date: Mai / May 2022
Genre: Vidéopoésie/Videopoetry




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