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  1. Curation

  2. Orange Magpies - Surrey UrbanScreen Proposal
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    Contact Info

    Evann Siebens

    evann at evannsiebens dot com


    Evann Siebens makes media with movement. She has exhibited her projects at galleries such as Eyebeam and Centre Pompidou, while her documentaries have been screened at MOMA and on PBS. A former dancer with the National Ballet of Canada and Bonn Ballet, Evann graduated from New York University. Now based in Vancouver, she has participated in residencies at the Banff Centre, UNIT/PITT and ACME with Keith Doyle. Evann recently won the ID/Identities Istanbul Best Video Prize, performed at the Western Front, and New Media Gallery, Vancouver. Recent exhibitions include MediaArtLab/Urban Screen, Russia, ISEA2015 Vancouver and Lincoln Centre Film Society, New York. Upcoming screenings include the FacadeFest on the exterior of the Vancouver Art Gallery. She is represented by Wil Aballe Art Projects in Vancouver.Curriculum Vitae

Orange Magpies - Surrey UrbanScreen Proposal


Dancers moving through the landscape of Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. Bright, familiar locations inhabited by dancers in bright orange ‘electrician jumpsuits’ that use sharp, kinetic editing, match-on-action techniques and a driving visual beat to create a new, public media installation.


I propose to edit a site-specific version of my film Orange you Glad or Orange Magpies for Surrey UrbanScreen. I’m presently working on this piece as commission from the Burrard Arts Foundation to project on the side of the Vancouver Art Gallery in September 2017 as part of the FacadeFest. In collaboration with performer/ choreographers James Gnam and Vanessa Goodman, I’ve shot the piece specifically to work in the public realm and to project onto the architecture of a public building. There are many layers to the piece. On the surface is a bright and fast kinetic dance-film, using my background as a dancer and dance-filmmaker to shoot the dancers, as well as my sense of motion to re-choreograph the film through editing. The dancers, in their bright ‘everyperson’ orange jumpsuits, move through the familiar landscapes, almost on an alternative tour of Vancouver and its environs. Having shot at 15 locations in Vancouver, West Vancouver, North Vancouver and Burnaby, I propose to shoot several more locations in Surrey, Richmond and New Westminster in order to fully represent the Lower Mainland. (For example, I would really like to shoot the dancers in the Skate Park close to the UrbanScreen.) And yet the credits later reveal that the various locations, like most of Greater Vancouver, were sites that were unceded and traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples – sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh), and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) nations. This is an acknowledgement that is being aurally stated in many art and education communities, and to my mind the film is a visual acknowledgement of a colonial history. As a white, Canadian woman raised in Western Canada, I feel nervous about entering into this area, particularly given the recent conversation around appropriation, and the importance I feel in indigenous artists having their own voice. And yet I also feel that white Canadians also need to participate in their culpability of our collective history and not stand silently by. So I have been very specific in my choices: the form of dance is contemporary improvisational and not an appropriation of indiginous dance, the re-mixed music by Radiohead (rights are being obtained) refers to this history, “You’ve got some nerve, coming here… You stole it all, give it back…” and the sites chosen are all ‘public park’ sites wherein the history may not be known or cared about. I’ve chosen one site that features an indigenous mural, and I’m presently in touch with the artist in order to pay carfac rights fees as well as give full credit. And yet, this deeper layer doesn’t impede into the visual splendor of the familiar locations, the 4K video quality and the movement of the dancers.

Some Details

The film will be a single channel projected video, pre-edited with full edits, and taking the architecture and shape of the building into consideration. Having seen many of the UrbanScreen projections over the years, I’m quite aware of the opportunities and limitations offered by the site. I’d like to play with the rounded edge of the building, as well as the cut-out windows. Possibly projecting some small dancers into the cut-out windows, but moving back and forth between full, large-scale screen, and multiple smaller screens. The site-specific nature of the edit would be tailored to the architecture.

The final video would be in the 10 – 12 minute range, which would then operate on a loop, or be repeated to encompass the whole evening of video. I would like to make sound available via the FM radio tune-in, but it would not be necessary to experience the visual splendor of the images and dance. It would merely add an extra layer. All sound would be cleared for rights.

The quality of the video was shot in 4K and so shot specifically to be projected in a large format environment. The raw 4K video I have is at 4096×2160 and so I would tailor this to exactly meet the Urban Screens 3600 × 1080 (or 1920 × 576 if necessary).

As a local, Vancouver based artist, and a fan of the Surrey Art Gallery and Tech Lab, I would look forward to working with the Urban Screen Team in person and creating a unique project together.




artistic director, choreographer, collaborator & performer // James Gnam is a dance artist based in Vancouver and Montreal. He is the artistic director of plastic orchid factory, a founding member of Left of Main as well as an associate artist with MAYDAY and Grand Poney. He trained at the National Ballet School of Canada and from 1998 to the present, has performed in the works of Crystal Pite, Twyla Tharp, Mark Morris, Jiri Kylian, Barak Marshall and collaborated in the creation of new work with Lee Su-Feh, Jacques Poulin-Denis, Melanie Demers, Vanessa Goodman, Peter Bingham and Tedd Robinson. With plastic orchid, James collaboratively devises interdisciplinary work that focuses the body as a site of social commentary. James’ research and work have been supported by Opera Estate in Bassano Italy; Circuit-Est in Montreal; Centre Q and the National Arts Centre in Ottawa; Electric Company Theatre, The New Forms Festival, The Vancouver Art gallery and SFU Woodwards in Vancouver. In 2010, the late Lola Maclaughlin nominated James and his wife Natalie for the City of Vancouver’s Mayor’s Arts Award for Dance.



Vanessa Goodman is a Vancouver-based dance artist who creates independently as Action at a Distance, is Co-Artistic Director of The Contingency Plan and is an artistic associate with Small Stage. She received her early training in Toronto from Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre, PBJ Dance Projects and Etobicoke School for the Arts. Vanessa holds a BFA from Simon Fraser University and continues her training locally and abroad, including intensives with the Batsheva Dance Company in Israel and the Hofesh Schechter Company in England. Vanessa was the recipient of the 2013 Iris Garland Emerging Choreographer Award from the Scotiabank Dance Centre which supported her first full-length work, “What Belongs to You”.

Independently she has interpreted works for Wild Excursions Performance (Conrad Alexandrowicz), Justine A. Chambers, Jennifer Clarke Projects, dumb instrument dance (Ziyian Kwan), the plastic orchid factory (James Gnam), Restless Productions (Claire French and James Maxwell), Mascall Dance (Jennifer Mascall), Julia Sasso, Holly Small and Judith Marcuse. Since 2006 she has been a company member with Dancers Dancing, where she has had the pleasure of working with artistic director Judith Garay and other prestigious Canadian choreographers.

Vanessa has been commissioned to create works for the Dancing on the Edge Festival, The Gwaii Trust, Vancouver Biennale and the SFU Dance Program (2010/11/13/15). Most recently her work has been presented locally and nationally by The Canada Dance Festival, The Magnetic North Festival, The Dance Centre, Dance in Vancouver, Dances for a Small Stage, The Firehall Arts Centre, The Modulus Festival, The Chutzpah Festival, The Shadbolt Centre for the Arts and Dance Allsorts. Vanessa has facilitated workshops and master classes throughout BC and in Toronto. She is also certified Method PMI Pilates instructor.

Orange Magpies Work in Progress
In collaboration with performer/choreographers James Gnam and Vanessa Goodman


01. Orange Suits Locations Sample
3:34 minutes long

02. VAG-Vancouver Art Gallery Sample
2:32 minutes long
This is a work-in progress of the mapping mask that will be projected onto the VAG in Sept 2017

03. Orange Suits Triptych
2:18 minutes long
Work-in-progress sample


  1. Images

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  1. Videos

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