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VIDEOTANK #2: Tom Sherman with Jan Pottie
Alley 9
January 11 - March 17, 2012

The exhibition is produced by the Foreman Art Gallery with a financial contribution from the Canada Council for the Arts.

Alley 9 is a pub in Liverpool, Nova Scotia. Every Friday night Alley 9 features Mike Mosher’s Krazy Karaoke. This video documents the patrons of this pub crossing the line between audience and performer. Karaoke is the quintessential interactive form, bringing the energy of live performance back to bars long-deadened by the canned music of DJs. Karaoke not only permits ordinary people to interpret popular music, it closes the gap between a distant fabricated culture and people’s desire for attention in their local scene. This is vernacular culture at its zenith, unique and universal at the same time. The audience at Alley 9 gladly pays its coveted attention until it is time to reverse roles and pick up a microphone. In "Alley 9" we witness the joyous transformation of people attaining ownership of the music they love.

Karaoke, in retrospect and in its sustained cultural vitality, is at the very foundation of the Pro-Am (professional amateur) movement globally, marking the transition from passive consumption of industrial culture to expanding participatory interactivity through an array of social media.  -  Tom Sherman and Jan Pottie


Tom Sherman is an artist and writer. He works in video, radio and live performance, and writes all manner of texts. He represented Canada at Venice Biennale in 1980. In 1983 the National Gallery of Canada mounted Cultural Engineering, a ten-year retrospective of his video, installations and writing. Since 1993 Sherman has frequently performed and recorded with Bernhard Loibner (Vienna) in the duo Nerve Theory. Recently he has been focusing his work on rural culture in Queens County, Nova Scotia and has been collaborating with the writer and activist, Jan Pottie.

Sherman’s interdisciplinary work has been featured in hundreds of international exhibitions, festivals, broadcast and Web venues, including the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Museum of Modern Art (New York), Musee d’art contemporain (Montreal), Documenta X (Kassel), Ars Electronica (Linz), Musee d'art moderne de la ville de Paris, the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), LUX Cinema (London), Montevideo (Amsterdam), and In Video (Milan). In 2002 The Banff Centre Press (Alberta, Canada) published his fourth book, "Before and After the I-Bomb: An Artist in the Information Environment," a comprehensive anthology of his techno-cultural criticism.

Sherman received the Bell Canada Award for excellence in video art in 2003. In 2005 the Festival International des Film sur l’Art (Montreal) featured a retrospective of his video art (1978-2004). In 2010 Sherman was awarded Canada’s Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts. He is a Professor at Syracuse University, teaching video production and media history and theory in its Department of Transmedia. He currently splits his time between Syracuse, New York, and his Canadian home on the South Shore of Nova Scotia.

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