Five Notes

By Kerri Reid

Eve Lambart1.  The NFB Mediatheque

This summer, I discovered the National Film Board (NFB) of Canada’s Mediatheque. There are over 5,000 NFB films ready for viewing in personal viewing stations, and it was free all summer. (The rest of the year it costs $12 for an annual membership, or $2.00 for a full day of viewing.) I went with a friend and we watched a beautiful documentary about microscopic fungi, a film about how to build an igloo, and the highly entertaining The Devil at Your Heels. We also discovered an inspiring film about Eve Lambart, the NFB's first female animator (at right), who has quickly become an inspiration for me in terms of her talent, character, and dedication to her art and quality of living. See an example of her animation here and a documentary about her here.

2. Paul ‘Ubertar’ Rubenstein’s Atonal Music Workshops for Kids.

Rubenstein is a musician, composer, musical instrument inventor, teacher and recording engineer. His whole website is great, but I am especially inspired by his teaching kids in Brooklyn and Queens schools how to make and play atonal instruments inspired by non-Western music. Some highlights include students making one-string electric guitars with movable frets, balloon drums, shakers, a youth microtonal rock band playing at the Urban Arts Festival, and some personalized guitar shapes and amplifiers. The amplifier in a basket (pictured below) is pretty special.

3. Henry Flynt

This interview between Kenneth Goldsmith and Henry Flynt sums up a lot of what I love about Flynt and his music. He comes across as a smart and kind of kooky fellow with a lot of integrity and great taste in music (Bo Diddley!). Also entertaining is the series of videos where Flynt provides a walking tour of New York City.  It's sort of like a video version of one of those Hollywood celebrity home guides but, in this case, the guide is hilarious and insightful — though I’m not entirely sold on his take on socialism and feminism — and the celebrities, which include La Monte Young, Yoko Ono, Terry Riley, and John Cage and Merce Cunningham, are all cool.

4. Ethiopiques, Volume 21 - Ethiopia Song by Emahoy Tsegué-Mayam Guèbrou.

I've loved everything I've heard from the Ethiopiques collection so far, but I keep going back to the beautiful music of Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou. Guèbrou's remarkable life story is documented in the CD liner-notes and is pretty inspiring. She was born into a highly privileged family, left it all to be a nun, and later returned to music as part of her work with orphans. Evidently, she first composed, performed and recorded this music as a means of raising money for the poor.

5.  The Quilters: Women and Domestic Art, An Oral History. By Patricia Cooper and Norma Bradley Buferd, Anchor Press/Double Day, 1978

This is one of the best purchases I have ever made. Beautiful photographs of quilts and the women who made them accompany the women's stories, in their own words, which creates a moving portrait of their art and lives in the American Southwest of the early 1900s. Almost every page has at least one story or photograph so lovely that it makes me want to cry, like a story recounted by the authors in the introduction, where they talk about meeting an elderly couple who quilted together even though the husband was badly crippled from arthritis.

Kerri ReidKerri Reid is a visual artist living and working in Toronto, where she teaches at the Toronto School of Art. Born and raised in Vancouver, she studied at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design and the University of Guelph, and has exhibited her work both nationally and internationally. Reid’s interview with American artists Harrell Fletcher and Wendy Red Star about their upcoming project co-sponsored by the Art Gallery of Mississauga and the I.D.E.A. Space at Colorado College will appear in Magenta’s Winter 2009 issue. Visit her web site at www.kerrireid.com.