Intermedia : The Missing Link
By Michael de Courcy
In November 1967, at age 23, having been employed for the past eight months as an agent de sécurité
at Expo 67 in Montreal
, I returned to Vancouver eager to continue life as an artist and very
interested in photography. Soon after, I was introduced, through friends, to the recently established Vancouver artists'
collective known as The Intermedia Society . The three-storey,
former industrial building on Beatty Street which Intermedia occupied became my home away from home. The
people frequenting Intermedia (a community of artists, poets, sculptors, musicians, dancers, filmmakers, scientists,
engineers, architects and supporters) became the subjects of my photography. For the next five years, 1967 to 1972,
I worked with them to make a photographic record of our experiments, experiences and ideas.
By 1972 Intermedia began to wind down and I became involved in more singular pursuits. At the time there was talk within the collective of doing something definitive with regards to Intermedia’s history and my burgeoning photographic archive. However, support for this enterprise was not forthcoming. And so, for over 35 years I carted around an unorganized inventory of more than 3,000 pictures, the majority of which had never been seen and in most cases stood as the only evidence of the artwork which they represented.
In 2003 I decided to resolve what had become a nagging, unfinished business. On reviewing my Intermedia pictures
I was compelled by curiosity to figure out just what it was that I had been doing back then. My re-reading of these
photographs encouraged me to consider: the nature of collaboration in art production; the relationship between my
photographic archive and the mostly ephemeral collaborative art activities which it represents; how this relationship
evolves as the subject of the documentation (the art activity) fades and is replaced by the document as the primary
focus of interest; and finally how the document can become re-contextualized in the present as artwork in itself.
This project is on-going. It will lead to gallery installations, an animated film, a book and an Intermedia website/archive, intended for both local and international audiences of artists, art public, curators, educators and students. It is in this way that my Intermedia archive and the new works which I am making to accompany it will create a contemporary contextualization for this five-year-long, West Coast phenomenon, and link the past culture of Intermedia to the Western art culture of the 21st century.
New Westminster, BC
2 Michael de Courcy, Michael de Courcy SURVEYING A TERRITORY; URBAN WILDERNESS REVISITED, catalogue; The Richmond Art Gallery 1994, ISBN: 0-9692572-3-6, "For the record: The Intermedia Experience", PP. 39-40.