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Vancouver is many things.

A city with a multitude of arts venues it is not.

Which is why it’s so surprising to hear people ask “What’s Vivo?” when I tell them about the venue for Gridlock.

My first response is “Oh, it used to be called Video In, you know the non profit video distribution/gear rental/exhibition space that is one of the best in the city? On Main Street? Been around since 1973?”

More often than not I’m met with a blank stare, which is really too bad because in a city that is struggling to keep art spaces open this it’s kind of shocking more people aren’t aware of what this space has to offer (beyond the great exhibition space there is also state of the art video equipment and editing studios). They also put on workshops and exhibitions, including the always popular “Signal and Noise” festival that brings some of the best noise musicians in the world to the West Coast.

Maybe the lack of awareness around Vivo speaks to something about the nature of the artistic community in Vancouver and how sometimes it can become easy to find a comfort zone (as an artist or an audience member) and stop looking for something new.  Whether that’s a new artist, or new venue or new way of working.  Maybe as artists we “hit our stride”, we find what we like (whether it’s a sound or a way of working) and suddenly we lose the desire to be out at every show, to be looking for  a new place to present our work.  We are happy that the community has defined itself (we present work here and we work with these performers etc. etc.) and we work within those confines.  This is somewhat inevitable, but I think we have to be cautious about becoming too comfortable especially in times that can be generously described as challenging.  Hopefully there is another reason to explain the blank stares and the city realizes what a great and underused venue it has.

We love Vivo, (everything about them actually) and the Gridlock shows have been such a great time, hopefully someone else will follow our lead….

For more information on what Vivo has to offer:

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