Website last updated July 2011

The Work of Art
6:30 min. digital videot 2014

We congregated at Greenpeace offices, were given green hard hats and green banners to wave and green panchos to wear against the rain. Peacefully, calmly we assembled to walk in a demonstration representing the need for green jobs now and for the future. The G20 march as we experienced it in June 2010 was peaceful. Until we arrived in front of the American Embassy, where police in full riot gear with guns and assault weapons at their side, stood on guard. Lots of them. Could this be Canada?

Since 9/11 the difference between the uses/abuses of power by governments/ police/armies in western democracies and ‘other’ governments has narrowed, and in some cases disappeared. As artists, how do we respond? With the increasing presence of social media and its ability to galvanize large protest “flash mobs”, what is the role for artists?

The Work of Art is not about the G20 – though it was a starting point. We are thinking about the role of culture/artists in post-9/11 societies and an increasingly digital age. We are wondering how our personal ideas, images, opinions, and values are constructed – and by whom. What is personal, what is public history, and where do they intersect?

We are thinking of politics in the broad sense of the political dimensions of everyday life. As Keith Wrightson expressed it: “the social distribution and use of power, with the way different actors and different meanings contend with one another for control.”

The Work of Art credits
Producer/Director/Writer: Barbara Sternberg
Length: 6:30 minutes
Year of Production: 2014
Music: silent
Country of Production: Canada
Exhibition format: digital video

Available from: V-Tape
telephone: 416-588-0725, e-mail:

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Barbara Sternberg © 2011
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