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Clive Holden
Artist, Filmmaker

Toronto, Vancouver Island
June 23, 2009

Clive Holden makes cinema, literary, web, and conversation-based projects. He splits his time between Toronto and Vancouver Island. His current on-going project, Utopia Suite, is at PLATFORM centre for photographic and digital arts in Winnipeg until June 27, presented by the WNDX Festival of Film & Video Art. Clive's work has been exhibited or screened at: the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Images Festival, Send + Receive, the Toronto International Film Festival, the Foreman Art Gallery of Bishops University, Deluge Contemporary Art/Antimatter, Kosmopolis, the International Film Festival Rotterdam, transmediale, the London International Film Festival, CPH:DOX Copenhagen Documentary Film Festival, and the Anthology Film Archives. He's given conversational lectures at the Royal Danish Academy of Art, the Deutsch-Amerikanische Institute, and York University.

1. you-topia

Imagine an on-line virtual island filled with empathic people, responding to Obama/Oprah’s references to a contemporary “empathy deficit”. The custom-designed islanders would see “you” – the real, beautiful you (not the illusory, ugly one). On this island no one would be invisible due to their poverty, illness, difference, or lack of style – everyone would see everyone else’s needs and lend them a helping hand, a loving look, and demonstrate their deep and true understanding, all the time, forever.

2. my-topia

Taking Guy Maddin’s film My Winnipeg as an inspiration, this proposed “cinema game engine” would facilitate the creation of our own intrinsically personal films about where we come from – not just the physical locale, but the psycho-emotional fecund earth we sprouted from. This would be a city, neighbourhood, vintage living room, or dirty little pocket in which we’d either thrive or wallow in despair, due to its eccentric, thwarting, catastrophically depressing, and hilarious cast of characters, as well as its Vaseline lens cinematography, chiaroscuro lighting effects, and quasi-silent era acting.

3. ex-topia

“Ex-“ as in experimental film + expanded cinema where hand-made movies explode onto any wall at all, in public park grottos and illegal rooftop screenings, into crude wooden structures and as guerrilla projections on billboards and banks. This ever-growing, installation-traveling show, communally designed by hundreds of film artist/vernacular philosophers, would travel the globe in a massive caravan challenging the idea that cinema/utopia has to be planned as a nation, city, church or edifice. It would dramatize thousands of examples of film/utopian processes in alternative forms: organic, kinetic, nomadic, chromatic, proto-cinematic, fantastic!

4. car-topia

This would be a members-only planet with no speed limit at all, where everyone would wear Steve McQueen racing suits and helmets whenever they were outdoors. Car-topians would drive like the wind even to the corner store (like my Aunt Mary). They could channel that itchy-foot feeling every spring – or that swooning sensation on hot summer nights – or their rage in the depths of winter – by getting on the freeway and flooring it. Car-topians would like the noise, love the stink, embrace the danger, and especially enjoy the cursing and the one finger salutes.

5. a-topia

The rare, truly amoral person that we occasionally meet is always interesting, residing to one side of everything with a seemingly implacable charm and grace (think Rhett Butler). A network of private communities could be built to follow the “amoral way” – where all the usual concerns and anxieties would fade into the background in place of an over-arching awareness that nothing matters, there’s no progress, and the abstract replaced meaning about a hundred years ago. Not exactly halfway between utopia and dystopia but to one side of any facile dichotomy, a-topia would be paradoxical by definition and it might be where we need to look next. But we’re still too earnest.



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