Interviews with Yvonne Parent

Duration: 101 min 19 sec
Original Format: ¾“ Umatic

Entry from Acts of Transfer:

In this performance, Yvonne Parent conducts a series of interviews in the style of a provisional TV talk show in the Grand Luxe Hall. Interviews are conducted in real time in front of a live audience, and frequently incorporate the ambitious use of telecommunications technology to contact artists and writers. Between takes, Western Front commercials play, promoting programming and publications, and a house band (“The Turtlenecks”) provides experimental interludes and background music, playing compositions by La Monte Young and John Cage.

The event begins with Western Front founders Eric Metcalfe and Kate Craig as her first live guests, while a projector plays in the background debuting some of Craig’s video work. Yvonne is seen smoking a cigarette nonchalantly; their banter is casual and entertaining. About twenty minutes into the show, Parent attempts her first live feed phone conversation with artist Katie Campbell, and then makes contact with “Dan” and “Lisa” at a Kootenay School of Writing benefit concert that is happening concurrently to the show’s recording. This connected event subsequently sends a series of slow-scan images to Western Front which are then projected on-screen, extending an invitation to the live audience to “stop by” afterward. Parent also calls an artist friend based in Cologne, Germany, Josef Strau, waking him up at 7am for his interview. He plays along after Parent charmingly reminds him, “you said it didn’t matter what time I phoned you.”

Of the nine interviews recorded here, all of the long-distance conversations encounter some kind of technological difficulty. In these moments, Western Front technician Rob Kozniuk is seen providing technical assistance, and the live band buffers these technical delays by improvising on the spot until connections are sorted out. In this way, the talk show becomes a demonstration of the kind of early technological idealism made possible in the creation of global communication networks. Artist Judy Radul cites Parent’s interviews as an example of an ongoing trajectory in performance art which began in the 1970s and involved artists taking an interest in subverting mass media forms such as beauty pageants, rock videos, talk shows, and TV evangelism.[1] Similarly, the format of the talk show was a way to raise political awareness. In Parent’s interview with artist and author Katie Campbell, for instance, they discuss the censorship of Campbell’s artwork Version, and its exclusion from an exhibition in Winnipeg for being “too controversial” in its depiction of a woman breastfeeding in public.

1 – Radul, Judy. Whispered Art History: Twenty Years at the Western Front. Ed. Keith Wallace. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 1993, p. 214.


Introduced by Eric Metcalfe
Interviews conducted by Yvonne Parent
Interviewees: Katie Campbell, Kate Craig, Antonia Coker, Gerry Gilbert, Myk Gordon, Kootenay School of Writing Benefit, Chris Creighton-Kelly, The Any Hohno opening in Hamburg, Friesenwall 120, Brice McNeil

Musicians: Mark Armanini, John Collins, Darren Copeland, Greg Higgs, Iain Macanulty, Matt Rogalski
Technical Director: Rob Kozinuk
Audio Director: Peter Courtemanche
Lighting Director: Peter Courtemanche
Floor Director: Archer Pechawis
Camera: Paul Lang, Mike MacDonald, Liz Vanderzaag
Computer Graphics: Vanessa Lowe
Musical Director: Iain Macanulty
Publicist: Hank Bull

Executive Producer: Eric Metcalfe

 – — – –

Original Archive Entry:

A simulated live television talk show broadcast with a floor manager, strict time limits, picture phone connection to a Kootenay School of Writing benefit and live phone calls to guests in Vancouver (Kati Campbell) and Germany (Joseph Strau). With Brice MacNeil, Gerry Gilbert, Myk Gordon, and the House Band headed by Iain Macanulty.

From Front Magazine Nov/Dec 1991 Vol.III No.2 P.19:

Yvonne Parent, a graduate of Emily Carr College of Art and Design, is a multidisciplinary artist/writer. Although her formal training is in painting, Parent is perhaps better known for kinetic installations on which she has concentrated in recent years: in 1987, Carousel, an enormous praxinscope 3 metres in diameter, was exhibited at Artropolis, and in June 1988, Shooting Gallery, a series of moving images on conveyor belts, was exhibited at the Western Front in Vancouver.

Parent’s work with text has resulted in a number of collaborative performance and poetry readings. She continues to exhibit both locally and abroad, and remains an active member of the local writing community.

Digitized video available through Western Front Archives upon research request.