Since 2012, I have worked as an instructor of film production and film history courses at institutions such as York University's Glendon College, Ryerson University's Maurice Yeates School of Graduate Studies, and Ryerson's Chang School for Continuing Education. While my primary areas of teaching experience are in the production of media art and the history of film and video art, I have also taught in the fields of contemporary art history, communications theory, and both social science and fine art research methodologies.
In addition to my sessional teaching, I have given workshops in photochemical processing, film preservation, and hybrid approaches to working between film, video, and digital media.
In this intensive one-day workshop participants are introduced to modern movements in film, photography, painting, printmaking and the adaptation of plastic techniques to the film surface. After screening and discussion, participants receive hands-on demonstrations of: how to use brushes, steel wool, and sponges with softened emulsion, reticulation to the point of emulsion dripping over itself (film melts), and the mixing and application of the mordancage solution for motion picture film. Over the course of this workshop, Stephen Broomer shares techniques ranging from destructive to constructive, with emulsion being scraped away or reapplied or smeared, and with techniques like drawing and painting on film, all used to create his films Jenny Haniver (2015) and Potamkin (2017).
HYBRID STRATEGIES IN FILM AND VIDEO
This illustrated lecture introduces practical skills for artists who are interested in using video to alter and augment film images. Among the topics addressed will be the ways in which video has come to emulate traditional printing processes and the processes by which one might output digital manipulations of video back to film (through re-photography). The central learning goal of this discussion is to train participants to pursue new possibilities for working between mediums. Through the course of this presentation, Broomer demonstrates the process by which a number of his own films were made, and will also provide examples of digital augmentation and ‘TV concrete’ rephotography from the recent history of experimental film.
FILM PRESERVATION FOR ARTISTS AND ARCHIVISTS
This workshop reviews all of the major methods and tools used in the preservation of super 8 and 16mm film images, their physical evolution, the atmospheric issues bearing upon them, and the obstacles of translating films across media.
In addition to these workshops, I have given more flexibly structured introductions to the vanguard poetics of underground film and video, as a guest speaker at universities and community organizations. These lectures are often illustrated with examples from the work of Marie Menken, Sidney Peterson, Ian Hugo, Jim Davis, Rene Clair, R. Bruce Elder, and Maya Deren, among others.
STATEMENT OF TEACHING PHILOSOPHY
As an arts educator working between scholarly and practical disciplines, I have developed my pedagogy to impart knowledge of the harmonies between creative and critical practice. By planning lessons and teaching modules that underscore such harmonies, I aim to foster in my students a respect for the distinct methodologies and processes of creating artworks and writing critical texts. In other words, I reconcile the divide between the two by directing studio art students to consider the critical dimensions of their practice, and by directing students of media history and theory to consider the creative potential of their critical commentaries. My own understanding of creative energy is situated in poetry and the individuated insight that is unique to poetry.
Rather than dictate students’ interests, I encourage them to strike a balance between their existing strengths and to explore their potential for insight. In this way, they will develop their own multidimensional approach that includes research, creation, intuition, and structure, so that they become aware of a social and historical context for their art and writing. Students must have opportunities to explore the art traditions that inform their media, ambitions, and interests. Therefore, my students are motivated to explore a diverse range of texts and artworks, and it is my role, as an instructor and mentor, to point them toward relevant ideas that will aid them in linking their work to traditional and contemporary modes.
As a scholar, my recent work has emphasized the difficult aesthetics of modernism, in the evolution of perspective and in perceptual enigmas. My pedagogy combats the false notion that students are not interested in the hard work of coming to terms with difficult modern aesthetics – on the contrary, students are eager to gain the difficult pleasures of understanding dense, codified works of art. I take it as a part of my mission to instil in students an appreciation for the complex strategies of twentieth-century art, and the roots of those strategies in older visual traditions – for example, the roots of referential and perspectival puzzles in Renaissance art. I hope in doing this to inspire students to develop creative and critical skills that are informed and which therefore allow them to defend and debate their work within greater contexts.
Above all, I believe that it is central that those creators, be they artists working in conceptual or plastic disciplines, or filmmakers, or critics, historians, and theorists, fortunate enough to undertake university studies must develop and refine themselves as individuals. In order to do so, they must be inspired to wrestle with traditional and contemporary precedents, without losing sight of their individual capacities for creative insight.
Areas of teaching interest:
Media Theory, Modern Art History, Media Art, Digital Art, Photography, Expanded Cinema and Installation of the Moving Image, Film History, Experimental Cinema