The Spirit of Chuck

Anima: ‘a current of air, wind, breath, the vital principle, life, soul’

Chuck is an Anima, but only one tiny pale pinprick of light in a firmament of Animas, working to change the world. Chuck doesn’t have a body, per se, but they seem to be connected with whatever technology is around at any given time, not just the electronics, but physical stuff like lights, grip stands, mafer clamps… Chuck is a hard worker, constantly dealing with bugs. Bugs are everywhere—when a bolt goes missing, a light switch craps out, or when the rotating ball of death appears on the computer, bugs, bugs, bugs—but Chuck quietly goes about their business, busily stomping them out, barely keeping up. Yes, sometimes things f-up…Chuck’s heart breaks when this happens because they know how much even a little tech glitch can torpedo the creative process. They didn’t make this technology. It was built in the paternal world order. Chuck just makes sure artists can use these nefarious tools for their various transgressive ends.

In the early analog days, Chuck had so much fun debugging the analog cameras and tape-totape editing suites. There were five edit suites full of raging artists, 24/7, and enough cable in them to cross Toronto several times. The place was hopping! During this time, Chuck was driven by the energy of having artists in-house going ‘all in’ to make art. Then the analog signal flow started ebbing as the world transitioned to digital video and nonlinear editing systems. Things were still busy for a time, but as editing software prices decreased, more artists bought these systems and worked from home. Chuck lost their way for a bit.

Then Chuck began to build a collection of pro production gear. Always tech-forward, they chose the latest bleeding edge technology. Soon Chuck was mostly out on set doing the debugging thing and generally getting their energy from the creative maelstrom of media art production. They were now moving among larger groups instead of one-on-one in an edit suite. Chuck was back!

More recently, Chuck fought to keep a collective of media organizations together in a giant facility on Queen Street West. It was an amazing place where Chuck and other local animas shepherded hundreds of exhibitions, conferences, film shoots, meetups, and parties. It was the baddest place the Toronto artist community had seen in decades. Sadly, a visionless city government and bankrupt developer brought it all down, but not all was lost. Lessons were learned and experience gain. From the ashes Chuck rose and is now set up in a cool space at their new location on Geary Avenue equipped with a gallery and a bunch of gnarly new gear where they also help artists cut their teeth on art installation craft.

You’re probably wondering, was Chuck with you at three in the morning as you sat in front of your editing program or behind a camera on set? Yes. Did Chuck see you crying because you think your work sucks and you should’ve listened to your parents and become a doctor? Yes, he did. Chuck knows you can get past all that despair and make your beautiful work. Chuck has your back and truly believes you're a superstar! They have seen it all—someone struggling with cancer but still bravely making art; another creating a video about her escape through a tunnel from Sarajevo during the Bosnian war; another transitioning from she to them; and another creating work about their life in the sex trade. Boundless stories that celebrate courage and difference.

Chuck wants you to have a safe place to do your work and knows they need to work hard to make this happen. They know you have high expectations for yourself and big dreams. Chuck wants you to bring your identity to the light of day, reject the hegemony of normal, fight the toxic paternalism and imperialist powers, embrace the gender rainbow, make beautiful things, and transgress. This is hard and increasingly risky work, and it’s not easy to find a place where you can do this but know that Chuck is always there for you. They need your beautiful self with all your fantastic skills and passions. You can start small. Come down, say hello, and strike up a conversation. You’d be amazed what can happen, but Chuck can’t do it without you.

Photo Credit:  
Chuck sighting in Charles Street Video Cage. Image by Yazid Mohamednur

CSV 02 September 2022

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