Liz MacDougall (Halifax)
Are You Subhuman?, 1999


Liz Mac Dougall has been practicing media art since1984. She has produced several videos including both art and documentary that are currently in distribution including "Time to Heal" and "the Birth of Sybling". She is a graduate of NSCAD, spent time studying media arts in San Diego, and has been both an employee and a member of several artist-run film and video spaces including Cineworks Film Co-op in Vancouver and the Centre for Art Tapes in Halifax. She has also edited broadcast documentaries since 1986. In 1996 she was the founding coordinator of the Incomplete Dislocations Collective, a group of Halifax artists who create and exhibit new media works. Liz's work is issue-based and accessible and has included critical examinations of issues such as militarism, native rights, child sexual abuse, dissociative disorders and technological progress. She is concerned about the social distribution of power and she creates her work through playful applications of new technologies.


Are You subhuman?  

Are You Subhuman? is the corporate web site of the fictive Corporeal Corporation. This corporation puts a positive slant on the increasing valuation of humans for their ability to contribute to economic growth through an affinity with new technologies as compared to the decreasing value of those who struggle within the techno-corporate paradigm. The Corporeal Corporation offers, through the Quotient of Humanity Survey, a means by which you can be assessed for your ability to contribute to society in the context of increasing technological demands. In the value system of this corporation, one's humanness is correlated to their potential productivity. Those who do not engage with, or ideologically support, notions of progress dependent on technological development are deemed Subhuman. It is a beneficent gesture on the part of the Corporation to allow you to see in advance, what value you hold, in time to consider changing your status by either adapting, or by resisting even more.

The Quotient of Humanity Survey asks you to rate yourself for personal characteristics, political values, technical skill and endurance under the stresses of a increasingly technological and non-organic environment. Those who need the organic world are warned by a poor rating that unless they adapt they will not survive. Animations on the site indicate the values of the CC.

This site uses a pop culture form to question the value of progress and our deference to the ubiquitous corporate agenda. My aim is to infuse critical thinking with enjoyment and insidiously plant the seeds for counter culture thinking amongst those who are unwittingly complicit through constant internet browsing.


Video, Interactivity and Audience

Wednesday, February 2, 7:30pm, Salle Fernand-Séguin, Cinémathèque québécoise
In English.

Looking at her digitally created video, the Birth of Sybling and her 1999 "Are You Subhuman?" web site, Liz Mac Dougall will re-examine the approaches she has taken to creation which are both allowed and constricted by these respective mediums. Compared to computer animation and digital video manipulation which offer access to powerful and engaging narrative devices, interactive work (in its currently accessible forms) is minimal and somewhat limited. But the performative qualities, the potential for endless re-construction and the challenge to authorship in an interactive environment invite us to see new media as a living thing, an endless work in progress and a responsive medium. With this in mind, Liz will discuss the politics of audience engagement and passivity.

Liz MacDougall