David Tomas


David Tomas_still 1David Tomas, Rum and Coca Cola, 17:00, 1992

This video explores some of the connections between technologies of military conquest as deployed by the Canadian Army at Oka, Quebec, on September 1, 1990, and similar technologies of conquest, as well as strategies of colonization and race and gender stereotypes, which were deployed in the popular imagination by way of a 1940’s hit ‘Rum and Coca – Cola’ (The Andrew Sisters) and a1956 science fiction film ‘Earth vs. the Flying Saucers.’

David Tomas_still 2
In form, the video is a multi-layered experimental ethnography designed for a television audience whose ideas of a ‘final frontier’ are no longer bounded by the size of the earth but stretch into deep space. It has two major ‘formal’ objectives: critical analysis and critical entertainment. In terms of the former objective, it focusses on post-World War II American popular culture (science fiction film, popular songs of the period, scenes and symbols of an ideal North American way of life — the outdoors, the cocktail drink) and ‘mixes’ these elements of an ‘American Imaginary Culture’ together and with other images in order that their mythic status is challenged and exposed by in the name of other realties. Because the video is conceived as a mode of ‘critical entertainment’ its content and overall argument are, in keeping with the spirit of the times, presented in the form of a ‘video cocktail’ whose consumers might include those white middle – class, middle – aged, post – 1950’s space age connoisseurs ( those who were for the most part, brought up under the influence of this American Imaginary) or any other persons who might enjoy or venture to savour its ‘exotic’ bitter-sweet flavour.

David Tomas is an artist, anthropologist and writer. His production in the visual arts has its roots in a post 1970s critique of conceptual art’s disciplinary infrastructure. For the last forty years, Tomas’ work has explored the nature and functions of different forms of knowledge that are produced at the interface of the history of contemporary art, the history and anthropology of media and the cultures and transcultures of imaging technologies.  Tomas has exhibited in Canada, the United States, Europe and the Middle East where he has presented works at the Montreal Biennale (2014); National Gallery of Canada; Walter Phillips Gallery; Vancouver Art Gallery; PS1, New York; California Institute of the Arts; San Francisco State University; ZKM, Karlsruhe; Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig; Vereinigung Bildender Kunstler Wiener Secession; Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe; ELAC, Lyon; Aorta, Amsterdam; and the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts.  In 1994-95 he was appointed Mellon Fellow in Contemporary Arts Criticism at the California Institute of the Arts; he was Visiting Research Fellow at Goldsmiths College, University of London in 1997; and he was awarded the Claudia De Hueck Fellowship in Art and Science at the National Gallery of Canada in 2001-2002.


Distrubution courtesy of VTape


Cold Cuts Video Festival 2017