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Dream Time: We All Have Stories curated by Karen AlexanderLament, 2018

Lament (video capture), 2018
Photo: Tal Rosner

Tal Rosner - London, United Kingdom
Christopher Mayo - Toronto, Canada

Lament is a sound and video installation that takes its inspiration from a 1969 poem of the same name by renowned Toronto artist bpNichol. Created collaboratively by video artist Tal Rosner and composer Christopher Mayo, the work is an homage to Nichol that incorporates the techniques of repetition and abstraction which are at the heart of the poet's intent, both in style of writing and in performance.

The installation also acknowledges the work of Nichol's fellow poet d.a. levy to whom the original poem was dedicated. levy was charged with distributing obscenity relating to his poetry in his home city of Cleveland and died from suicide in 1968.  A recording of his reading at The Gate Coffeehouse, Cleveland (1967) can be heard outside the space.

With an integration of music, spoken word, images, animations, and video, Lament highlights the repeated text "you are city hall, my people," and investigates the inherent themes of the poem: civic politics and the responsibility of each citizen for the actions of their government. The project realizes Nichol's original ambition for the work, which was to deliver this poem over the loudspeaker system at Toronto City Hall.

This project was created with the support of the Estate of bpNichol with thanks to the Estates of Viljo Revell, Eric Arthur, and d.a. levy, and the Toronto Public Library. The voices of Abdullah Almualem, John J. Boyle III, Robert Brooks, Scott Curtis, Suzanne DeGaetano, Jan Devereaux, William Easterling, David Hartt, Leslie A. Jones, Ed Kovacic, Kay Laughlin, Robert P. Madison, Steve Minter, Susanna Niermann O'Neil, Mary Rose Oakar, Georgia Pappas, Abdul Qahar, Chris Ronayne, Mary Webb Scibana, Linwood Smith and Paul Volpe are heard courtesy of The Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection at Cleveland State University.

Tal Rosner is a BAFTA-Award-winning video designer and director. His boundary-breaking productions fuse dynamic, multi-layered figurative and abstracted visuals with sound to create a new language of classical/contemporary video installation. Rosner lives and works in London.

Christopher Mayo is a composer of orchestral, chamber, vocal and electronic music. His widely performed work is characterized by its distinctive rhythmic language and its range of diverse, eclectic inspirations. Mayo lives and works in Toronto.

Sound and Video Installation


STYLL We All Have Stories The things they carried Major Institutions Independent Projects Experiential Activations Event Centre

City Hall - Rotunda

100 Queen Street West

Suitable for all ages

This project is indoors.