AUGUST 14 – AUGUST 15, 1998




A PLOT OF GROUND is a two day project involving video screenings and garden tours that have been selected to stimulate ideas about how individuals use gardens and landscape to “plot one’s ground” within society. Gardening, argiculture and the framing and re-framing of landscape express a disposition of space that reflects a social act of claiming and relinquishing, defining and blurring of territory and identity. Raphael Bendahan, Paula Levine, Shani Mootoo, Laurie Odnokon, Edward Olson, and Andrew Power use landscape as a metaphor for the human condition and an extension of oneself. Sexuality, gender, economics, perception, displacement and language are quietly referenced in this selection of videos and contemporary garden design. Historically, these themes have been subtly presented and rigorously discussed in the social context of gardens.



RAPHAEL BENDAHAN was born in Casablanca, Morocco and lives in Montreal. He teaches screenwriting at the Mainfilm Co-op.

ANDREW POWER is a Vancouver-Based artist working in radio, installation, video, and landscape architecture.

SHANI MOOTOO is an Irish born Indo-Trinidadian who is currently producing multimedia works and writing in Vancouver and New York.

PAULA LEVINE is a multimedia artist living in San Francisco.



Raphael Bendahan
Jardin (du Paradis) The Garden
1982 22:30

In this 3/4“ tape of super 8, Raphael Bendahan uses multiple camera angles and lush colours to depict painterly images of soft petals, roof tops, foliage, a chair and a man standing in a walled garden in urban Montreal. He combines fictitious elements with autobiographical material to produce a narrative that records the personal as political. Le Jardin expresses the daily experiences of an immigrant trying to make a new home in Quebec between two referendums. The tape situates personal identity within a cultural debate about social and political identity. Bendahan states that he tried to “personalize these questions, ironically situating the discourse within an environment that was antithetical to the particulars given the larger Nationalist sovereignist debate.” The walled garden is enveloped by audio of a flickering film reel and the narrator’s voice rhythmically slipping between French and English.

Raphael Bendahan was born in Casablanca, Morocco and now lives in Montreal. He teaches screening writing at the Mainfilm Co-op. Raphael is working on a 16mm film, Moroccan Memoir, which is an experimental narrative about the exile of Moroccan Sephardic Jews.


Andrew Power
1996 7:20

Andrew Power’s video, o/c, highlights western society’s tendency to see the world in a series of socially constructed views which are highly ordered and empirically defined. o/c is a drafting term for on centre — the standardized distance between two points — and an abbreviation for obsessive-compulsive. Power’s subjects — a flashing, ribbon of photographs combined to depict a panoramic landscape; American photographer Eadweard Muybridge’s sequential photographs of human movement; and French psychologist and physician Etienne-Jules Marey’s chronophotographic images of flying birds — reveal pervasive cultural paradigms for seeing and understanding our world. Power interrupts these models by re-animating the subjects and inserting his own animations whereby he reveals the subjectivity of movement. Throughout the tape our aural sense of perception is also complicated by samplings of classical music and the interruptive and repetitive sounds of clanking silverware and dishes in the background.

Andrew Power is a Vancouver-based artist working in radio, installation, video and landscape architecture.


Shani Mootoo
Her Sweetness Lingers
1994 12:00

Shani Mootoo uses a lush landscape as a site in which sexuality, sensuality, identity and desire become manifest. A soft voice floats over top of dissolving, unstable images of wavering trees; a tea party in the forest; a woman jumping up and down; and two women about to kiss. The poetic narrative debates our need to control our desires. Subjectivity and desire are metaphorically described as a series of little deaths comprised of lost and unrequited loves. This cycle of desire is mirrored in the transience and uncertainty of nature.

Shani Mootoo is an Irish born Indo-Trinidadian who is currently producing multimedia works and writing in Vancouver and New York.


Paula Levine
Coyote Cow
1994 4:20

Paula Levine recorded Coyote Cow using a fixed-frame shot in a pasture over a period of 7 hours. Using this device, Levine restricts our point of view and paradoxically, we become more aware of the limitations of narrative structure and meaning that exists outside its order. The narrative structure is mirrored by Levine’s subject when the cows in the pasture do not learn to communicate with a “moo-toy”. Using humour, Levine questions society’s need and ability to control their environment.

Paula Levine is a multimedia artist living in San Francisco.


Edward Olson
Garden Site

Edward Olson began archiving his family history by collecting memorabilia, heirlooms and objects related to that history. His living space pays homage to the first half of the twentieth century while embracing a Victorian sensibility. His collection has evolved to include numerous categories of personal interest including religious fetish objects, taxidermy and a room full of books. Like his home’s interior, Olson’s garden reflects his rigorous approach to selecting and ordering objects that recontextualize history and reflect his aesthetic. He collects plants and objects based on archival information and family garden lore to develop a personal narrative. Some plants in the collection have been in the family since the turn of the century, while others reflect contemporary species.