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Fiona Bowie

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Name  Fiona Bowie

Fiona Bowie

The role of experience in the origin and development of religion dr fiona bowie

Fiona Bowie is a Vancouver-based Canadian installation artist. She uses film, video, photography and sculpture, and makes "immersive environments".


Life and work

Fiona Bowie graduated from UBC (BFA) in 1990 and from the School of Contemporary Art SFU (MFA) in 1998.

1998 - 2000, Bowie was Co-curator, Western Front Exhibitions Program, and was the editor of ~scope, exhibition catalogue Western Front Exhibitions Program, 2001.


In 2010, Bowie created Surface, an ongoing live documentary of the underwater life of False Creek. False Creek is a short inlet in the heart of Vancouver. Once teeming with marine life, it was heavily industrialized in the early 20th century. Now starting to rebound, the inlet supports seabirds such as cormorants, ducks, herons, kingfishers. Herring and other sealife are now populating the inlet, though in comparatively small numbers.

The live documentary is transmitted from a camera mounted underneath an Aquabus (a commuter ferry servicing Science World, Yaletown and Granville Island ) via a Wireless mesh network to an LED screen mounted on the water side of Ocean Concrete, one of the last industrial businesses still operating on False Creek. The live video stream of surface is broadcast via the mesh network online at, allowing remote viewing and enabling visitors to False Creek to watch the stream on their smart phones as the Aquabus passes by.

The artist emphasizes that Surface is meant to reflect the current state of the underwater flora and fauna, rather than serve as entertainment typical of glass bottom boats in Marine Parks or the collections of public aquariums. Bowie chose this body of water for Surface to serve as an analogy of environmental pressures affecting marine life, such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the North Pacific Gyre. “Surface will evolve over time, reflecting the health of marine life as evidence of our collective activity: the future of the work and what is manifest, is wholly dependent on us."- Fiona Bowie


In 2009, Fiona Bowie's "Flow" opened at the Civic Centre at 1 Kingsway. Vancouver's first video/photography-based permanent public art installation. Flow, produced by Bowie with Sidney Fels, a UBC Computer Scientist, was commissioned by the City of Vancouver. Rebecca Belmore, initially part of the artist team, could not participate in the project due to time constraints.

This was the first permanent installation of timebased photo and media work in the City of Vancouver. Flow is a continually changing Mise en scène that uses open source software to access a library of images shot by Bowie over a period of four years. Made up of hundreds of portraits and landscapes, the work has been programmed so that 'figures shot at different times appear as if they simultaneously present, with a core group of these figures or actors recurring in a manner that implicitly suggests they're part of a larger narrative'.

The special glass projection material, Smart glass, causes portions of the imagery to disappear as the projection surface switches from translucent to clear, fragmenting the image and frustrating it's coherence.

"Flow" also has an interactive web component where visitors are encouraged to add dialogue to images captured from a live feed of the work.

The dialogue consists of phrases penned by Bowie and bands such as the New Pornographers and The Residents. Once images and dialogue are captured by visitors to the site, these are preserved as stills in the websites archive

In March 2007, Sliphost (2006), featuring Alan Cumming in the two lead roles, was exhibited at the Western Front Society Exhibitions Program in Vancouver and exhibited in November 2007 at Open Space in Victoria. Curated by Candice Hopkins, she said of the work: "Sliphost plays with conventions of media, narrative, and scale and draws on the reciprocities between two disparate worlds to reconsider notions of consciousness, consumption, beauty and oblivion." According to Bowie:

Bowie has several works that are created and added to over periods of time, such as Phenotypes (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004). 'Conceptually, the work is an ongoing installation. Each year, another narrative aspect is added to the visual record to mirror the flux of an individual dwelling or neighbourhood over time. Each time it is exhibited, the artist chooses which particular years(or chapters) of activity are represented.' , Subsequent exhibitions of the work in 2004 in Vancouver and 2007 in Whitehorse presented entirely different sets of narratives set within the same Cul-de-sac setting.

In 2001, Bowie created "Faltering Repetition", a synchronous multichannel photo-video based narrative work that used a 360 degree projector to create the backdrop setting for the work. This work, portraying a chance conversation between two strangers at a traffic intersection, used separate, non-diegetic sound feeds to represent the setting and the dialogue of the characters. Fiona Bowie has created several works using this template including 'deliverance' (1998), 'Phenotypes'(ongoing), Nature Morte (2005) and 'Sliphost' (2006).


In 2008, Fiona Bowie formed SLickerslacker with ex-Chopper bandmate Jim Peers. SLickerslacker debuted at Light Bar, a series of art and music events curated by the Canadian collective Instant Coffee, featuring contemporary visual artists.

Bowie was bass player, songwriter and singer for the Vancouver three piece Chopper from 2000 to 2007. Absence, a commissioned soundtrack composition was performed live at Songroom in June 2006, by Jim Peers (Free Radicals), Stephen Taylor (trike).

Bowie is Assistant Professor, Media Arts, Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, teaching in both the undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Bowie's work has been exhibited at:

  • Yukon Arts Centre Museum (2007),
  • Western Front (2007)
  • Belkin Satellite (2006),
  • Pendulum Gallery, Vancouver (2006)
  • New Media Symposium (2004)
  • New Forms Festival (2004)
  • Consolidated Works, Seattle, Washington (2002)
  • Presentation House Gallery (2001)
  • The Vancouver Art Gallery (2001)
  • A Prior Video-Salon. VandeVelde, Brussels, Belgium (2000)
  • Or Gallery (1998)
  • grunt gallery (1996)
  • A major installation as part of Tamto Misto - Five Vancouver Artists. Galerie Mladych u Recickych, Prague,Czech Republic (1995).
  • Publications and reviews

  • Mullen, Sean with Hsieh, Esther. Radio Interview of Fiona Bowie on Public Artwork Flow, 2009. Live radio interview December 2009, released for podcast on, 2010 :
  • Keenlyside, Sarah. Surface, Documentary film on Fiona Bowie's Surface, 2009. released for broadcast on Knowledge Network, Air Canada, City of Vancouver
  • Hiebert, Ted. "Fifth Iteration: Digital Dreams and Delusions", from Behind the Screen: Installation from the Interactive Future, Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2008.ISSN 1865-0929 (Print) ISSN 1865-0937 (Online)
  • Randy Adams, Steve Gibson, Stefan Muller, eds. Transcisciplinary Digital Art. Sound, Vision and the New Screen Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2008.
  • Cutler, Randy Lee. Vancouver Singular Plural Vancouver Art and Economies, Arsenal Pulp Press, 2007.
  • Burnham, Clint. Vancouver, Akimbo, March 29, 2007.
  • Burnham, Clint. "Compelling Look at how Artists use Video". Vancouver Sun, June 29, 2006.
  • New Forms,exhibition catalogue, 2004.
  • Devuono, Frances. "Binocular Parallax at Consolidated Works," in Artweek, December, 2002.
  • Hall, Emily. "A Tale of Two Cities." The Stranger, Seattle, September 26, 2002.
  • Hackett, Regina. "Binocular Parallax." Seattle Post-Intelligencer, September 20, 2002.
  • Turner,Micheal. "These Days". Art/Text, No. 75.,2001-2.
  • Roy, Marina."These Days". Last Call Fall issue. Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery Publication.
  • Turner, Michael. "These Days". Mix magazine 26.1 Fall, 2001.
  • O'Brien, Melanie. "Mis.Com.". Last Call Summer issue,2001 . Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery Publication.
  • Henry, Karen. "Mis.Com.". Presentation House Exhibition Monograph, 2001.
  • Green, Bethany. "Killing the Commute". ARTSCULTURE, 2000. Brock University Press.
  • Mix magazine 26.1 summer 2000.
  • Achong, Deanne."deliverance", OR Gallery Monograph. 1998
  • Sawyer, Carol. "swell". grunt Publication Monograph.1996 ISBN 1-895329-27-2
  • References

    Fiona Bowie Wikipedia