Studio Visit 1

Adrienne Crossman, Video

Adrienne Crossman is an artist, educator and curator working and living in Toronto. A graduate of OCAD University, she holds a BFA in Integrated Media and a Minor in Digital and Media Studies. She has completed residencies at Spark Contemporary Art Space in Syracuse, New York and La Baraque in Montréal, Quebec. Her practice explores the manipulation and deconstruction of digital and analogue media in order to create new artifacts through formal re-interpretations.  Adrienne is currently a Programming Coordinator at Xpace Cultural Centre.


Essentially, I take videos off YouTube or and mash them together. It’s really finicky, and because I work off a laptop, the video has to render before I can watch it. Every time I change anything, it has to render for an hour or two. When I made a projection for the band Alvvays, it took two days to render the timeline before I could watch it. The video was one hour and created for their live performance. I would go to work and leave the computer humming really loudly, hoping that it wouldn’t die.

A lot of my practice is glitch work and you never know what it’s going to look like. You can have an idea, but you have to accept that it might fuck up and do whatever it wants to do. Using glitch within a digital framework is tricky as the technology is inherently binary, and my practice is often based on deconstructing different kinds of binaries, often those to do with identity such as gender. I’m really interested in a queer aesthetic and glitches fuck with the order of things, so conceptually it makes sense to me as a queer medium. It completely goes against how technology was created.

I’ve made a really big effort to have a feminist and queer art practice without being pigeonholed. Last year, I curated a show for Xpace Cultural Centre, where I’m one of the programming directors, called Transcending Binaries. It was a super queer show without being labeled as a queer show. That’s always my intent. I want anyone to walk in and relate to the work without realizing right away that it’s about queer identity.

I think it’s successful when you can take something personal and make it universal, which is what I try to do with my work. It might be about queerness or transcending normativity but it’s done in a way that my parents could walk in and be like, ‘I relate to this,’ without being alienated.

With my current practice, I don’t have any physical objects. I’d like to print stills of my video work so that I have some kind of archive. Sometimes I get jealous that people can produce tangible things while all my stuff is on hard drives and on the internet where it could potentially get wiped out. There’s an anxiety attached to archiving it.

The glitch community is very political. When I told a friend about making prints out of my glitch work, she said that some people might be pissed off about that. There’s a movement that uses glitches for antiestablishment. I decided I don’t care–but I had to think about it for a minute. Even if I don’t want it to be, everything I make ends up being super conceptual. I’m reading books constantly as my practice continues to grow.


–Adrienne Crossman, as told to Studio Beat

Photos by Courtney Vokey





Visit Adrienne Crossman’s website here.

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