Research Centre Projects

Abstract Filters: A Research-Creation Project

Photo credit: Ruilin Zhang

Abstract Filters
A Research-Creation Project

In Fall 2023, students in the graduate program Studies in Comparative Literatures and Arts at Brock University engaged in a research-creation project in the course “Comparative Critical Theory in Literatures and the Arts” and in cooperation with the Musée du Niel, Giens Peninsula, France.

The exhibition Abstract Filters (15 January-16 March 2024, Museum in the Hallway, Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts) is the outcome of a semester-long reflection and a thoughtful, theory-based response to the Summer 2023 exhibition Les chemins de l’abstraction. 17 peintres non-figuratifs dialoguent avec Jean Grenier / Pathways to Abstraction. 17 Non-Figurative Painters in Dialogue with Jean Grenier at the Musée du Niel.

Musée du Niel, Giens Peninsula, France
Josh Müller, Vienna, Austria

Toronto Walk Project I

Toronto Walk Project I

Saturday 28 October 2023

Meeting point: 1 pm, Union Station, Toronto (main entrance on Front Street)
On a weekend in October 1974, George Perec – a member of the influential Oulipo group on potential literature, and the author of famous experimental novels such as Life, a User’s Manual and A Void – sat in cafés at the Place St Sulpice in Paris and noted down everything that passed through his field of vision. His observations were published in L’infra-ordinaire (1989). Please see an excerpt.

On Saturday 28 October 2023, the Research Centre in Interdisciplinary Arts and Creative Culture at Brock University invites you on a panoramic documenting walk (approximately 2.5 hours) during which we will make stops to write, record, draw, photograph, or document otherwise our observations of different Toronto land-, sound-, and city-scapes.

These observations (textual notations, images, sound and video recordings) will be collected and curated for presentation in the virtual exhibition The Toronto Walk Project I to be hosted on the website of the Research Centre.

The walk will begin and end at Union Station. Participants are encouraged to take public transit or carpool.
For enquiries and to participate, please contact Catherine Parayre at

Tentative itinerary:
1) Union Station (10 mins documenting + 25 mins walk)
2) Sugar Beach (10 mins documenting + 25 mins walk)
3) Toronto Harbour Pier-35 (10 mins documenting + 15 mins walk)
4) Distillery District (10 mins documenting + 10 mins walk)
5) David Crombie Park (10 mins documenting + 20 mins walk)
6) return to Union Station

Geoff Farnsworth: Blurs and Vagueness

Stockholm Interior, 2023. Oil and acrylic on panel, 30 x 24 inches. Image: Geoff Farnsworth.

Geoff Farnsworth: Blurs and Vagueness – An exhibition of small paintings
Sept. 26 to Oct. 22, 2023

Demonstrating a spirit for process, experimentation, and colour exploration, Geoff Farnsworth’s small-sized paintings offer a meditative reflection between figurative and abstraction. They are presented here with small drawings.

Rarely shown to the public, Farnsworth’s drawings form a significant part of his work. They often – although not always – represent a more tightly structured environment. When seen together, his paintings and drawings evoke a fluctuating world of everyday realities and the dreamy fantasies of our imagination.

Curators: Catherine Parayre and David Vivian

3 Minutes on Creation

A reflection on the surface of water, with a hand in front of a sunny blue sky and greenery including grass and trees to the left and right of the image.
Photo Credit: Julie Gemuend

3 Minutes on Creation

Members of the Research Centre in Interdisciplinary Arts and Creative Culture present aspects of their creative work in a series of virtual mini-artist talks: a recent project, a project they particularly enjoyed, a practice or concept that is important to them and more.

Artist Talk: Seth Weiner

Photo credit: Seth Weiner

Artist Talk: Palais des Beaux Arts Jan. 30, 2023

Seth Weiner (1982, USA) explores the gaps between architectural fiction and social convention.

Since 2018, Weiner has been the Artistic Director of Palais des Beaux Arts Wien, a nonprofit museum-like entity that serves as a mobile place of remembrance and projection for what was lost during National Socialism. During his time as director, Weiner has focused on commissioning artworks that deal with the history of Atelier Bachwitz, a Jewish-owned publishing house that was once located at the Palais des Beaux Arts building in Vienna before it was Aryanized. Being Jewish, Weiner’s work on the Palais functions as an ongoing act of reclamation and a way to explore what that identity means in contemporary Austria.

This artist talk is presented by the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture for the 2022-23 Walker Cultural Leader Series.

Seth Weiner on Txt-and-Image

Virtual TXT-and-IMAGE Tutorial, with artist Seth Weiner
A step-by-step tutorial to make the experience of creative process and produce expressive content

Often containing performance and proposal simultaneously, Seth Weiner’s work employs a wide range of media in which he explores the gaps between architectural fiction and social convention to create both actual and imagined spatial environments. He studied architecture at SCI Arc in Los Angeles (2010), drawing and painting at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (2005) and sound at the Center for the Creation of Music Iannis Xenakis in Paris (2006). Process-based and collaborative, Weiner has worked with Untitled Collective (co-founded in 2010), Gruppe Uno Wien, and since 2012 has served as the Co-Artistic Director of Berlin-based Care Of Editions, a conceptual business model in the form of a record label. In 2018, Weiner became the Artistic Director of Palais des Beaux Arts Wien, a non-profit dedicated to re-instituting an unlikely, museum-like entity in the post-digital age. His work has been exhibited at the Vienna Biennale-MAK Museum Vienna, Pacific Standard Time Performance Festival Los Angeles, Kunstraum Niederösterreich Vienna, Xhibit – Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Soapbox Gallery Brooklyn, Kunsthalle Exnergasse Vienna, Parallel Art Fair Vienna, Künstlerhaus Bregenz, Los Angeles Barnsdale Municipal Gallery, Venice 6114, LA Forum for Architecture and Urban Planning, (CAC) Contemporary Art Center Gallery at the University of California Irvine, Voralberg Museum Bregenz, Villa Elisabeth Berlin, Demon’s Mouth Oslo, LTMKS Project Space -Malonioji 6 Vilnius, 555 Gallery Detroit, MAK Center Los Angeles, Cecille R. Hunt Gallery, and The Luminary in St. Louis, among others.

To view the tutorial, click here or here.

Artist’s website:

On a Summer Trip

Derek Knight, Catherine Parayre, Shawn Serfas

Someone dies. Three friends meet; one travels from the West, another comes back to Canada, the third one welcomes them in his garden.

10 pages, images and text


To view, please click here.

Image: Shawn Serfas, collage fragment.

Six artists reflect on creative process

Photo credit : Shawn Lee

Six artists make arbitrary lists as a starting point to generate visual and textual content and reflect on the creative process. The outcome is a series of disconcerting yet coherent sets of photographs and short statements.

Their work responds to artist Seth Weiner’s presentation on how to experience process and produce expressive text-and-image content by artist Seth Weiner (2022-2023 Walker Cultural Leader in the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture), and follows artist talks by Karin Di Bella, Amy Friend, and David Vivian at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Brock University.

Gertrude Brew, Meagan Diaz Flores, Iryna Kompanets, Shawn Lee, Stéphan Legagneur, and Travis Seetoo.

Anxious Languages

Trail of gravel, larger rocks, and stones, with a trail of a yellow substance, larger pieces and dust trailing to the top of the image.
Photo credit: Iván Monroy-Roesch

Language acquisition, and language in general – in terms of public censure, self-censure, “proper expression,” etc. – is fraught with anxiety. Added to this is a general suspicion of expression that is exaggerated when one is faced with multiple languages. Translation approaches languages’ inherent anxieties and suspicions in several ways; briefly stated, is the translator a traitor, a creator, or both?

In Anxious Languages, students in the course Translation II (Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures, Brock University) share short personal reflections on language acquisition, as well as poems using homophonic translation and listening.

The students’ contributions are followed by poems written by members of the Toronto Experimental Translation Collective (TETC) about their own experiences with languages.

Editor: Nicholas Hauck


Iván Monroy-Roesch, Chong Zheng, Ana Anaa: Pottery / Metamorphosis (Higher School of Fine Art and Design, Toulon, France)

Anxious Languages is hosted by the Research Centre in Interdisciplinary Arts and Creative Culture in association with the international Anxiety Culture Research Project at the University of Kiel (Germany).

Between Two Days: Against Censorship in Equatorial Guinea

Between Two Days
Photo credit: Astrid Young

Trifonia Melibea Obono and Ramón Nse Esono Ebalé are both known for their human-rights activism in their home country Equatorial Guinea and for the courage of their actions under a dictatorial regime. Obono is a novelist and LGBTQI+ activist who writes on women’s lives from a postcolonial perspective. She is the first female Equatorial Guinean author to be translated into English.

Ramón Nse Esono Ebalé is an illustrator and comics artist. An opponent to the dictatorial regime of Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasog, he was arbitrarily arrested in 2017 and spent six months in the notorious Black Beach prison. He now lives in exile. His work has been exhibited internationally.

They met in Fall 2021 for a common action to celebrate the International Day of the Imprisoned Writer (15 November) and the International Day of Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November). “Between Two Days” documents the event.

Three Months Before Winter

Three strokes of aged and vintage acrylic paint, top stroke take a dark orange almost clay like colour, clean beige middle stroke and a more yellow tint beige at the bottom
Image: C. Parayre

Two authors wish to create a time- and place-bound dialogue that is not quite one. Working in parallel, they qualify the specifics of Fall 2021 from their respective standpoints. One explores auditory perceptions, while the other responds to the visual environment. The autobiographical is relegated to a diffuse evocation. Actions and anecdotes are reduced to fleeting moments. More important are immediate surroundings.
Introduction in English, texts in German.

Mario Vötsch is a published author. He holds a Ph.D. in Sociology and is a faculty member at the Pädagogische Hochschule Tirol / University College of Teacher Education Tyrol, Innsbruck, Austria.

Catherine Parayre lived in Vienna, Austria in the 2000s and is now an associate professor at Brock University, Niagara Region, Canada. She regularly returns to Vienna.

Artist Talk with Adrian Blackwell

Image: Adrian Blackwell, Isonomia in Toronto? (Harbour)

Anarchitecture and Isonomia
April 2022

Architect and artist Adrian Blackwell presents and discusses his two installations Isonomia in Toronto? from the 2019 Toronto Biennial of Art, a seating structure based on a model of Toronto’s shoreline that raises questions about the formation of property in Toronto and the dispossession of Indigenous land, and Anarchitectural Library for the 2019 Chicago Biennial.

This artist talk draws on research supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), and the Office of the Vice-President, Research at Brock University.

Landon Mackenzie – Time Machine

Photo credit: Landon Mackenzie

Acclaimed for her large-scale mapping paintings, Landon Mackenzie’s paintings have been widely exhibited in Canada and internationally and her work has been collected by many museums including the National Gallery of Canada, Vancouver Art Gallery, Audain Art Museum, Art Gallery of Ontario, and Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Recent shows include Emily Carr and Landon MackenzieThe Wood Chopper and the Monkey at the Vancouver Art Gallery (2014-15) and Landon Mackenzie: (Re)collects at the West Vancouver Art Gallery (2019). Mackenzie is Professor Emerita at Emily Carr University in Vancouver and represented by Art 45 Montreal and Nicholas Metivier Gallery Toronto. She has received numerous awards, including the Queen Elizabeth II Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals for her outstanding contribution to Canadian culture, and the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts (2017), as well as the Inaugural Ian Wallace Award for Excellence in Teaching.

In Time Machine​, Mackenzie discusses her art practice and takes us on a tour of some of her best works.

This event draws on research supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and the Office of the Vice-President, Research at Brock University.

Rethinking property in c d

Participants: Adrian Blackwell, David Fortin, Bonnie Devine, Tiffany Kaewen Dang, and Luugigyoo Patrick Reid Stewart

Indigenous and settler architects and urbanists reimagine Canadian cities.
The conversation is informed by issue 12-13 of the journal Scapegoat: Architecture/Landscape/Political Economy titled c\a\n\a\d\a: Delineating nation state capitalism edited by David Fortin and Adrian Blackwell. The issue looks at property division as the hinge between settler colonialism and architectural and urban form.
This event draws on research supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and the Office of the Vice-President, Research at Brock University.




Created in 2021, Music, Noise, and Soundscape: Gayle Young and Ryan Bruce in Conversation is a virtual project of the Research Centre in Interdisciplinary Arts and Creative Culture homed in the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture (STAC) at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Brock University. It includes an interview, performances and demonstrations, as well as an outreach activity.

Gayle Young is a composer and musician based in the Niagara region who creates her own instruments and performs music for them, often employing unusual tunings. She has also performed and recorded works by John Cage and Yoko Ono. Gayle composes works for voice and chamber instruments and creates electronic sound for film and visual art installation. Many of her compositions include environmental sounds recorded through tuned resonators that she invented to integrate harmony and soundscape.

Gayle wrote The Sackbut Blues, the biography of pioneering electronic instrument inventor Hugh Le Caine (1914-1977), who invented several instruments for electronic music, including the Sackbut, an innovative touch-sensitive keyboard instrument first recorded in 1946. As editor of Musicworks Magazine for over two decades, she presented an inclusive gaze on the world of experimental music.

Ryan Bruce is an ethnomusicologist, jazz historian and saxophonist. His research concentrates on the transition of jazz styles from the 1950s–1960s (bop and the jazz avant-garde) with investigations in jazz historiography, improvisation, musical analysis, and interdisciplinary comparisons to other avant-garde art forms. His work includes special focus on collaborating with performers to create digital resources for teaching jazz history, improvisation, and world music traditions.

Ryan holds a PhD in Music from York University and has published articles on jazz criticism, musical analysis, and specific musicians for the current Grove Dictionary of American Music. He is also an active teacher and performer of jazz and free improvisation on saxophone.

A River Rises

Trembling hands

Brown Homestead, St. Catharines, ON
November 19-21, 2020

Derek Knight / Shawn Serfas / Catherine Parayre / Nicholas Hauck

A River Rises was an art residency that took place on November 19-21, 2020 at the Brown Homestead, the oldest house in St. Catharines, Ontario, just from across Short Hills Provincial Park. We were welcomed there by Andrew and Jennifer Humeniuk from the John Brown Heritage Foundation. Participants were Derek Knight, Shawn Serfas, Catherine Parayre, and Nicholas Hauck. The title we chose for the residency is the title of a creative-writing text by Derek which served as preparatory material before we met. Our intention was to listen to one another as each responded to the text, then create individually and collectively in any way we wished.

On November 19-21, the weather was exceptionally mild, which allowed us to spend time outside, on the Homestead property or along Twelve Mile Creek at Short Hills. Earlier in the week, Brock University had announced the sale of the Rodman Hall Art Centre. The work we accomplished during these three days at the Homestead may be described as a reflection on this loss.

The photographs we show here document these three days as well as our creative process. The texts include Derek’s “A River Rises,” as well as two responses composed during the residency. Shawn’s video records the last day of the residency and the performance by which we collected our written and visual works in two jars and filled a third jar with water from Twelve Mile Creek before depositing them in a hole dug by Shawn on the Homestead property. While the photographs, the texts, and the video attempt to catch the spirit of the moment, an experimental book designed by Bernhard Cella, Salon für Kunstbuch, Austria commits our work to memory. Our inverted sculpture on the property of the Brown Homestead memorializes our time there.

Acknowledgments: Andrew and Jennifer Humeniuk, John Brown Heritage Foundation

Interiors, a new online exhibit from the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture, now on view virtually

Image: Trieste 2, Derek J.J. Knight.

As part of its 2020-2021 programming, the Research Centre in Interdisciplinary Arts and Creative Culture opens a virtual space on the theme of interiors, interiority, and confinement, the role they play in collective life and/or how they may be contested. The exhibit seeks to explore the shifting boundaries of intimacy and domesticity in a dynamic virtual space, presenting multi-disciplinary content and critical engagement.

Interiors features the work of various artists, authors and musicians, and invites viewers to participate in creative activities.

Curatorial Team: Alexandra Fraser, Marcie Bronson, Derek Knight, Catherine Parayre, Nicholas Hauck

Industrial Niagara, a new exhibition at Rodman Hall Arts Centre, on view March 7-22, 2020

Image: Shawn Serfas

Industrial Niagara
March 7-22, 2020, Rodman Hall Art Centre, Brock University
Saturday, March 14, 2-4 p.m. Speaker Series


Visual artists Candace Couse, Catherine Parayre, Shawn Serfas, Donna Szőke, and ARTIndustria share their insights by responding to the natural environs and the features that distinguish the presence, loss or history of industry in Niagara’s landscape. A combination of hinterland, cataract and escarpment, waterways and canals, hydro-electric generators and high tension wires, manufacturing facilities, factories, subdivisions and farmland, this is the first of a series of reflections or aesthetic interpretations on the meaning of locale (genius loci).

Curated by Derek J.J. Knight,
with a speaker series programmed by Catherine Parayre, on Saturday, March 14.

Rodman Hall Art Centre will host a cultural event on Saturday, March 14, 2-4 p.m. featuring readings by award-winning authors Natalee Caple and Adam Dickinson as well as short reflections by Niagara residents on their observations, research or experience, from the impact of the Welland Canal to the generation of hydro-electric power: Clark Bernat, Derek Knight, Reinhard Reitzenstein, David Sharron, Penelope Stewart, and David Vivian.

Open to members of the public this event is organized as part of the Research Centre’s outreach and to encourage future partnerships in an ongoing series of thematic projects.

The Research Centre in Interdisciplinary Arts and Creative Culture acknowledges the support of Brock University: Centre for Studies in Arts and Cultures, Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Studies in Comparative Literature and Arts, Dean’s Office in Humanities, Research Services, and Rodman Hall Art Centre.


The Research Centre in Interdisciplinary Arts and Creative Culture (RCIACC) establishes a network of researchers and creators across Faculties at Brock and beyond the University. The research centre is part of the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture (STAC).

“STAC has an established reputation as an interdisciplinary academic centre and it was therefore logical to home an interdisciplinary research centre in the unit,” says Associate Professor Catherine Parayre, who led the initiative with Associate Professor Derek Knight and is the Centre’s new director.

The Centre will engage with a broad range of creative expression, including visual arts, dramatic arts, music, creative writing and translation, book and graphic design, cultural heritage, and photography.The Centre includes faculty from Arts and Culture, Visual Arts, Dramatic Arts, Music, Curatorial Studies, French Studies, English Literature, Digital Humanities, and Education.

The centre will be doing outreach at Rodman Hall Art Centre through exhibitions and talks and in collaboration with the Willow Arts Community.