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E.S.P.: Visible Language Workshop
May 23rd, 2019

RSVP here!

Fillip and Cineworks are pleased to announce the second screening in E.S.P., an ongoing film series looking at the relationship between film and speculative modes of visuality.

Join us Thursday, May 23 at 8pm at the Reliance Theatre, Emily Carr University of Art + Design (520 E 1st Ave), for a free screening of films produced out of MIT’s Visible Language Workshop. The night will be prefaced by a screening of pioneering Canadian media artist Elizabeth Vander Zaag’s film “Through the Holes” (1981) and conclude with a moderated Q & A with Vander Zaag and New York-based designer David Reinfurt.

Led by visionary director Muriel Cooper and embedded in the rich technological environment of MIT, the Visible Language Workshop (1973–94) was developed from an MIT course called “Messages and Means” that took a varied approach to design—particularly examining interactive design alongside photography, typesetting, platemaking, among other forms.

Recognized in computer and graphic design circles as one of the greatest designers of the 20th century, Cooper’s work within the VLW responded to a context in which an increasingly networked world required a reconfiguration of existing modes of visual representation. As Cooper explained, “the shift from a mechanical to an information society demands new communication processes, new visual and verbal languages, and new relationships of education, practice, and production.”

These films by the Visible Language Workshop and Elizabeth Vander Zaag evidence the new forms of visuality that emerged in the later 20th century through bold experimentation with graphic design, computer systems, and data imaging.

Entrance to this screening is free. An RSVP is requested but not required. Co-presented with Cineworks. Organized in collaboration with the Ian Gillespie Faculty of Design + Dynamic Media.

E.S.P.: Visible Language Workshop is organized in conjunction A New Program for Graphic Design, a six-hour lecture performance by artist David Reinfurt on May 25 at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, presented by Fillip in collaboration with the Ian Gillespie Faculty of Design + Dynamic Media.

Please note that the Emily Carr campus is fully accessible with gender neutral washrooms. Please contact us with venue accessibility inquires.

Films from the Visible Language Workshop appear courtesy of the Center for Advanced Visual Studies Special Collection, MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology (ACT). “Through the Holes” appears courtesy of Video Out / VIVO Media Arts Centre.

Film Program
  • Through the Holes
  • Directed by Elizabeth Vander Zaag
  • 1981 / DCP / 4 Min
  • Spatial Data Management Systems
  • Directed by William Donelson
  • 1980 / DCP / 11 Min
  • Research Topics in the Visible Language Workshop
  • 1986 / DCP / 20 Min
  • Muriel Cooper: TED 5 Talk
  • 1994 / DCP / 33 Min
  • Information Landscapes
  • 1994 / DCP / 8 Min
About the Filmmakers
& Presenters

Muriel Cooper (1925–94) was a pioneering book designer, digital designer, researcher, and educator. She was the founding art director of the MIT Press and eventually oversaw the production of more than 500 books produced by the Press. Concentrating on the relationship between graphics and technology, she founded MIT’s Visible Language Workshop in 1973.

Elizabeth Vander Zaag has been working in video and computer arts since the 1970s. Based in Vancouver, Vander Zaag founded and coordinated Front Multimedia (1993–99) and has lectured and given many workshops across Canada and the United States since the 1980s. Vander Zaag’s fascination with technology, special effects and digital layering stem from her experience with cable television.

David Reinfurt is an independent graphic designer and writer based in New York City.

Fillip Membership

Current Fillip Members receive all of Fillip’s titles published in the current calendar year, including books released in the ongoing Supplement and Folio Series, plus full access to our digital archives for twelve months!

Event History
2019
  1. E.S.P.: BeDevil
  2. Launch: Supplement 5: Mr. Peanut Summit
  3. E.S.P.: Ecologies
  4. Reading Group: Rebecca La Marre in Conversation with Tiziana La Melia
  5. Reading Group: The Culture Game with Patrick Cruz
  6. David Reinfurt: A *New* Program for Graphic Design
  7. E.S.P.: Visible Language Workshop
  8. Means of Production: Value Systems with Sarah Williams
  9. Stagelessness with Groupa o.k.
  10. E.S.P.: Visual Fields
2018
  1. Means of Production: On the Difficult with Jaclyn Bruneau
  2. Means of Production: Living as an Artist with Eli Bornowsky
  3. Means of Production: W.A.G.E. with Andrea Fraser
  4. Kandis WIlliams: Reproduction is Not a Metaphor
  5. Andrea Fraser: Museums, Money and Politics
  6. Means of Production: How to Make a Book with Steidl
  7. Means of Production: Photography as Tool with Winfried Heininger
  8. Listening Group: VWAM
  9. Means of Production: Research with Mercedes Eng
  10. Means of Production: Criticism with Steffanie Ling
  11. Reading Group: A History of Resistance with Grace Ndiritu
  12. Means of Production: Printing with Brick Press
  13. Reading Group: On Kathy Acker
  14. Chris Kraus on Kathy Acker
2017
  1. Reading Group: Nathan Crompton on Utopias
  2. Reading Group: Antonia Pinter
  3. Listening Group: The Red Krayola
  4. Supplement Launch: Berlin
  5. V-Girls: The Question of Manet's Olympia
  6. Hotel Theory Reader: Vancouver Launch
2016
  1. Reading Group: Zanna Gilbert
  2. Mr. Peanut Summit
  3. Reading Group: Grant Arnold
  4. Reading Group: Martine Syms
2015
  1. John C. Welchman: Joseph Kosuth's The Second Investigation in Vancouver
  2. SWARM XVI: Fillip, Punk 'til You Punk
  3. Eternal Network
2014
  1. Fillip Office Open House!
  2. Fillip 19 Launch and Screening
2013
  1. Slide Shows at X Marks the Bökship
  2. Institutions by Arists Launch at Et al.
  3. Intangible Economies at Artists Space
2012
  1. Institutions by Artists
  2. Intangible Economies at Art Berlin Contemporary
  3. Sumi Ink Club
  4. Grouper: Sleep
  5. Robert Ashley Speaking Thru Will Holder
  6. Fillip 16: Berlin Launch
  7. Fillip 16: Toronto Launch
  8. Pa/per View Art Book Fair
  9. It's a Book, It's a Stage, It's a Public Place
  10. Destroy All Monsters Screening
  11. Fillip at ARCO Experts Forum
2011
  1. Intangible Economies
  2. Quiz Night
  3. David Horvitz: Room 129
  4. Recent Publications
  5. Of Times Recent and Distant
  6. Secondary Information: The Persistence and Absence of Criticism
2010
  1. The AAAARG Library
  2. Everything is Dangerous
  3. Fillip 12 Now Available
  4. Unter dem Motto
  5. International Chilliwack Biennial
  6. Motto Storefront: Ooga Booga
  7. Motto Storefront: Working Format
  8. Motto Storefront: Metahaven
  9. Motto Storefront: Oscar Tuazon
  10. Motto Storefront: Andjeas Ejiksson
  11. Motto Storefront: Avalanche Launch and Screening
  12. Motto Storefront: Rob Giampietro
  13. Motto Storefront: Stuart Bailey
  14. Motto Storefront
  15. John C. Welchman on Paul McCarthy’s Pirate Project
  16. David Horvitz Artist Talk
  17. Mark Manders: Window with Fake Newspapers and Traducing Ruddle
  18. Getting Something Into One's Head
2009
  1. Autogestion Book Launch
  2. Fillip Library and Reading Room Launch
  3. Fillip Summer Sale
  4. Corinn Gerber of Passenger Books
  5. Stockholm and Berlin Launches
  6. David Horvitz of ASDF
  7. Montréal Launch and Collaboration
  8. Issue Nine Vancouver Launch
  9. Judgment and Contemporary Art Criticism
  10. Fillip Review Panel: February 2009
2008
  1. Vancouver Launch of Two Artist Multiples
  2. The Apartment Inhabits the Fillip Studio
  3. Nick Thurston of Information as Material
  4. Rotterdam Dialogues: The Critics
  5. Fillip Review Panel: October 2008
  6. Stuart Bailey of Dexter Sinister
  7. Next: Documentary Perspectives in Contemporary Art
  8. Paul Chan Screening
  9. Issue Seven Vancouver Launch & Talk
  10. 22nd KIOSK Exhibition in Rennes
2007
  1. Fillip at castillo/corrales, Paris
  2. Fillip at the New York Art Book Fair