The Festival: 2012

Visualeyez, Canada’s annual festival of performance art, is returning to Edmonton for its 13th year. From September 10-16, artists from across Canada and beyond will gather to develop and display their work, exploring the curatorial theme of loneliness. Curated by Latitude 53 Executive Director Todd Janes, the festival investigates notions of isolation, emptiness, and intimacy in our relationships with crowds and an urban environment. While the artists have an opportunity to engage with each other’s artistic process, Visualeyez also gives audiences a chance to experience performance art at close range, celebrate and interact with a unique, temporal world of art.

“This year I am very proud of the artists coming to Visualeyez as they explore layered aspects of loneliness through diverse artistic projects commenting on individuals in an increasingly mediated and complex world,” festival founder and curator Todd Janes says. “As technological interfaces increase and our world seems to be connected 24 hours a day, how do we find solace through an epidemic of loneliness?”

Visualeyez 2012 presents work from seven artists at Latitude 53 and in various downtown locations. Facilitating the festival’s online and on-site discussion as the festival Animator this year is Amber Landgraff, director of Toronto artist-run centre XPACE Cultural Centre. Visualeyez is also pleased to work with community partners the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Multicultural Health Brokers Co-Operative, and Edmonton Bicycle Commuters.

Message from the Executive Director

I am pleased to welcome you to Visualeyez 2012. From 10–16 September Latitude 53 Contemporary Culture is programming great artist from across Canada and beyond that are creating innovative artworks that explore the year’s theme of loneliness.

As a young child I spend a significant amount of time with my maternal grandparents—and really lots with my Grandmother—I loved spending time with them both in their house and garden and I believe that they nurtured my sense of imagination, wonderment and curiosity. During this time I spent a lot of time alone and disconnected from my family and even to today I deeply value my solitude and rarely feel lonely. It is because of this (and other things) that made me begin to explore and become keenly interested in loneliness and last autumn when I began to consider then theme of this year’s festival.

Visualeyez 2012, through the theme of loneliness, will explore issues such as emotional versus social isolation, chronic and transient states of loneliness within the city and our inter-relationships with crowds, emptiness and intimacy. I want to present artists that will explore the theme of loneliness and enhance dialogues regarding the societal issues, community connectivity and understanding of the concept and its impact on individuals and society as a whole. How does technology build our sense of loneliness with immediate responses possible through social media do we develop a loneliness deficiency with people do not like us right away? And how do we navigate through this meta-ness in an urban context?

A huge gratitude to our ongoing festival sponsors: The Edmonton Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and the Edmonton Downtown Business Association. Joining us this year are new sponsors: Alberta Pork, CityTV and Avison Young who join with on-going sponsors Days Inn Downtown Edmonton, Avenue Magazine, and Alley Kat Brewing. I would also like to thank Jaime Calayo for his artistic interpretation of urban loneliness with our design for this year’s festival. This year we also partnered with new community partners: the Edmonton Bicycle Commuters, the Multicultural Health Brokers and Canadian Mental Health – Edmonton Chapter. These business and community groups are an integral part of helping animate and engage communities and diverse audiences with the performers and projects of Visualeyez and on behalf of Latitude 53, the artists, and our audiences I would like to thank them for their support.

Finally I want to acknowledge and thank our volunteers and their belief in what we do, their sense of adventure and wonderment and our staff for their vision and support to artists and the intersections between people and ideas that Visualeyez so passionately make happen.
No go out there and experience some real loneliness!


Todd Janes
Executive Director,
Latitude 53 Contemporary Visual Culture