A video piece using 16mm family film footage from the 1940's until the 1970's, this piece explores memory, death and the loss of childhood innocence through the metaphor of Ice Cream. Using footage shot decades before my birth, I use images of my father as a child to express the sense of loss I feel over his suicide when I was aged 7. My aim with this piece is to create a "post-memory" of his life and death. In other words, can I use events and footage that I was not present for to express my own very personal feelings? Can the audience become engaged in my sorrow?
In this work, I am re-ordering archival images to create an emotional and deeply personal truth. While this work doesn't necessarily have narrative accuracy in the strictest sense, and images from different places and times are positioned next to one another, what the film suggests is my artistic interpretation of a family history that is extremely influential to my own life, despite the fact that I was not present at many of the scenes depicted in the work. One of my motivations is an exploration of my father’s suicide, what led him to do this, and how this event has shaped my own life; I have found that the most effective way to do this has been to explore the extensive material that exists documenting his early life. My memory of my experience of him is vivid and alive, and when I watch footage of him as a child, these become a sort of memory as well; his experiences become intertwined with my experience of watching these films. In this way, I am creating a sort of post-memory, and perhaps by doing so I can get as close to representing my subjective experience and poignant interpretation of past events, as artfully as possible. I can look at an image of my father as a child eating an ice cream cone and somehow see a part of my own childhood, a glimpse of myself, and an understanding of my experience and memories of him. I have reclaimed these images and constructed films that act as tangible memories, proof of my emotional understanding of events both traumatic and life affirming. 

Sydney Southam is a visual artist, filmmaker, performance artist, and professional pole dancer. She often works with archival 16mm film, exploring themes of nostalgia, death, memory, and identity. Sydney is one of the founding members of Vancouver-based Iris Film Collective, and the curator of the potluck dinner and artist talk series Special Sunday Supper. Her films and artwork have shown across Canada, Europe and Asia, at venues such as MOCA Taipei, Gabriel Rolt Galerie (Amsterdam), Athens International Film and Video Festival, Antimatter Media Art Festival, Aesthetica Short Film Festival, Access Gallery, Emmedia Gallery, Yinka Shonibare Guest Projects, Vivo Media Arts Centre, Cinema Spectacular, Western Front, Cinemateque Vancouver and the Haida Heritage Centre. She graduated from Central Saint Martins with a BA Fine Art First Class Honours in 2011 and from the University of Toronto with a BA in English, Philosophy and Cinema Studies in 2007.

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  • .mov,


  • Orig. Main Artist: Sydney Southam

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  • Cineworks Independent Filmmakers Society is an Artist-Run Centre based in Vancouver, BC. Through equ