Alla Gadassik: Media Scholar + Animation Curator

Completed: Certificate in Restorative Justice

It’s official, I completed my Certificate in Restorative Justice (focus on Education)! This program is designed with an option to complete in one year, but it took me three years — between raising the funds, allowing myself time to really process the material, and coping with unexpected developments at my institution (which served as the primary case study and focus of my coursework). While the program itself was not necessarily a good fit, studying with Christianne Paras and Krystal Glowatski was a privilege. These amazing mentors were careful to remind us that restorative justice is not a panacea, particularly when it comes to contending with systemic and institutional violence. Everything I’ve learned has been transformative for my relationships with students, my classroom spaces, and the kinds of collegial initiatives I’ve sought out since then. I also get a kick at adding SFU to my list of ‘alumna’ institutions.

Talk: “Elusive Flesh: Figure and Body in Experimental Animation”

Animation is rarely featured in books and catalogues on experimental cinema, and figurative animation is almost entirely excluded. Why? One of my goals as a media scholar and curator is to promote figurative animation as a tradition with a rich history of daring artistic experimentation. This past month (April 2023) I presented my recent writing on experimental figurative animation at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference in Denver.

Continue reading “Talk: “Elusive Flesh: Figure and Body in Experimental Animation””

Exhibition Text: “Flesh & Bone: Bella Blanca and Kelsey Brill-Funk”

Bella Blanca and Kelsey Brill-Funk took part in my “Material Animacy” course last year, which is linked to the Animate Materials Workshop but is open to artists working in any media. Bella chose bone as their material collaborator in ceramics, whereas Kelsey pursued a deep dive into hair as a photographer. This month, their work that emerged from the course was featured in a two-artist exhibition Flesh & Bone. I was proud and happy to have written the exhibition text for this show.

Continue reading “Exhibition Text: “Flesh & Bone: Bella Blanca and Kelsey Brill-Funk””

Film Programme: Graphite! Animated Traces

The first film programme curated as part of the Animate Materials Workshop is devoted to graphite. Artists featured in this programme embrace graphite as a vibrant collaborator that transforms the screen into a tactile surface. Through animation, graphite comes to life as a hard-edged medium of incisive social commentary and a fluid material for diving into the subconscious.

Continue reading “Film Programme: Graphite! Animated Traces”

Exhibition: “Refractions: Mia Milardo + Weiwei Wu”

Refractions (January 2023) brings together new work by Mia Milardo and Weiwei Wu, both of whom are alumna of my Animate Materials Workshop. Both artists were trained in traditional animation production, and it has been immensely rewarding to see how the workshop format liberated them to experiment in different ways. The exhibition has drawn a lot of attention, with visitors stopping for an extended time every time that I’ve passed by it in the Michael O’Brian Exhibition Commons. My curatorial text can be found here.

Continue reading “Exhibition: “Refractions: Mia Milardo + Weiwei Wu””

Public Talk: On Chantal Akerman’s “Jeanne Dielman…”

On January 22nd (2023) I participated in opening a new screening series at Vancity Theatre dedicated to the latest Sight & Sound poll of the “Greatest Movies of All Time.” The series programmer invited me to introduce Chantal Akerman’s 1975 film Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, which emerged as the top film in the latest iteration of the poll. This result delighted many cinephiles, while eliciting condescending dismissal from some. As a scholar and curator who remains dubious about the merits of the Sight & Sound poll, I took the opportunity to frame this remarkable film for audiences and celebrate its challenge to the established film canon.

Continue reading “Public Talk: On Chantal Akerman’s “Jeanne Dielman…””

News: Curatorial Residency

My first visit to the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and Len Lye Archive a decade ago (my post from that trip!) was meant to be a single research trip to cover one case study of my dissertation, but it grew into an enduring relationship with Len Lye’s work and with the gallery more broadly. I’m so grateful that the gallery is supporting my vision for a curatorial project that brings together experimental animation and textile arts!

Over the next two years I’ll be working with them (mostly remotely) to realize a project that expands my interest in curatorial forms of sharing research. I’m fortunate to have a supportive gallery director in Zara Stanhope and great on-site partner in Paul Brobbel. More information on the residency can be found here.

Event: “Art in the Flesh: A Public Class”

When do feminist artists put their body on the line? Is decolonial feminist art praxis possible in the art institution? 

“Art in the Flesh: A Public Class” was a two-part special event co-organized by Dr. Sue Shon and me for This Exhibition is not an Exhibition (curated by Valérie Walker and Patryk Tom) at the Libby Leshgold Gallery in Vancouver (Canada). Our two public classes within the gallery space were an experiment to imagine and practice an anticolonial pedagogy that bridges, among other contradictions, the arts university and the arts gallery.

Continue reading “Event: “Art in the Flesh: A Public Class””

Curatorial text: “I am the same, I am always changing”

Last year I encouraged artist and curator Celina de Leon to adapt her moving-image work I am the same, I am always changing into a triptych installation. Celina first developed this project as a speculative response to the work of Ana Mendieta in my course on avant-cinema histories. On November-10-2022 it debuted as part of Celina’s first solo show, at the RBC Media Gallery. I am proud and grateful to have written a short curatorial text for this bold and vulnerable work.

Continue reading “Curatorial text: “I am the same, I am always changing””

Blog at

Up ↑