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The Province
Friday, May 3, 1968

What goes on behind the blank door at 575 Beatty?


The chain, car radiator, baby carriage, umbrella, burlap, pedal kiddy car, rags, back of TV set, steel shavings, truck muffler, used casserole dish (food intact), wood, wire, chairs and unidentifiable objects on the second floor of the Intermedia building on Beatty Street are complete junk, but serve a purpose.

On another floor last week there was an additional pile of junk which at onetime served some artist's or technician's purpose, but no longer. A trio of Intermedia folk, seemingly straight out of Alice's Restaurant, shoveled it all the way in a red VW microbus and made room for more projects.

But back to the first pile of junk. It was the stage set for an experimental workshop production of Arrabel's "The Automobile Graveyard" with light and sound.

The play is modern treatment of Christ's crucifixion, but it has served as an experimental vehicle over the past two months for more than one set of actors, light and sound men. Public performance, which is May 10 and 11, is just a gesture signaling the end of the project.

It is typical of the way Intermedia works that this play is an informal gathering, having no standard direction, merely a co-ordinator.

In other parts of the four-floored old structure, other projects are being co-ordinated all over the place. At the moment John Masciuch's neon sculptures are on three floors, in various stages, in preparation for Intermedia Nights at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

A similar display by Masciuch was shown at the Douglas Gallery last month, with short exposure because of technical problems, including blown fuses.

At the Vancouver Art Gallery, a new series of neon environments will be used in conjunction with new dances by Helen Goodwin. The neon tubes will be computerized to act more or less like people-they will light up when dancers approach.

This new approach was made possible by the gadgets, and especially with the wide open mental and physical space at the Intermedia Building. The ancient building may look shoddy, but the fourth story, with a freshly sanded floor, is what any choreographer needs.

Perhaps the most expensive of the media is film and, although working on a limited budget, Intermedia does offer its resources: a 16 mm film editor, first class recording facilities, including an adapted Uher 4-channel model, and an animator. And space for indoor film sets.

But despite this equipment, people at Intermedia have a habit of listing it and then adding "our main resource is people."

Ideally, experts in one medium interchange with experts in other media-and all experts rub ideas with the newcomers in a particular field.

At once, Intermedia seems both to open its doors to everyone and to be a private secretive organization. (The entrance on Beatty is open 12 hours a day, but there is no sign on the door saying either welcome or Intermedia.)

Those inside would like to attract more interested artists and scientists for various projects, but do not feel that they should go begging. In this situation, a sign would beg.

And Intermedia, with resources to spare, would rather see more resources, in the form of creative people, enter than leave.


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