Stacks Image 15

Laurel MacDonald
• Video Artist •


In fond memory of Lizzy Mahashe.

In 2007 Laurel MacDonald worked with longtime associate John Oswald to create qui, a sound installation for 29 voices singing in 29 languages over 29 speakers, for the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. In 2010, MacDonald revisited the project to create a visual counterpart for this sound work.

The result is the short video XXIX, which features 21 of the original 29 qui singers, performers from many musical genres, each singing in the language of her or his personal heritage. XXIX is an intimate portrait of these singers, and a reflection of the dynamic and spiritual power of the qui music.

XXIX had its world premiere during the Scotiabank Nuit Blanche festival in Toronto in 2010, presented in the lobby of the Royal Ontario Museum as a single-channel video installation with 21-channel sound over 21 speakers. For this exhibition, XXIX received the festival's Scotiabank People’s Choice Award.

Neema Bickersteth (Krio)
Aviva Chernick (Spanish)
Sung Chung (Korean)
Ori Dagan (Hungarian)
Narendra Datar (Hindi)
Sophia Grigoriadis (Greek)
Carla Huhtanen (Finnish)
Andrea Koziol (English)
Amélie Lefebvre (French)
Tom Lillington (Italian)
Laurel MacDonald (Latin)

Lizzy Mahashe (Zulu, Xhosa, Sesotho)
Shalva Makharashvili (Georgian)
Paul Oros (Russian)
Pat Patrick (Basso Profundo)
Suba Sankaran (Tamil)
Charlene Santoni (Ultra Soprano)
Mitch Smolkin (Hebrew)
Adam Solomon (Swahili)
Aki Takahashi (Japanese)
Maryem Tollar (Arabic)
Original music and lyrics
Qui habitat in adjutorio altissimi by Josquin des Prez (c. 1440-1521)
Direction, videography and video edit Laurel MacDonald
Sound recording and video sound mix Laurel MacDonald
Technical supervisor and multi-channel sound mixes Philip Strong
Postproduction consultant Dennis Day
Produced with the assistance of
Liaison of Independent
Filmmakers of Toronto (LIFT)
Gallery 44

Produced in association with
the Institute for Contemporary Culture
at the Royal Ontario Museum
and Scotiabank Nuit Blanche
Stacks Image 36

Glasgow Short Film Festival
Heart Of Gold International Film Festival, Australia
Chicago International Movies and Music Festival
Sensoria Shorts, Sheffield UK
Columbus International Film + Video Festival

Scotiabank People’s Choice Award,
Open Call Category
Award, Experimental Shorts Category
Stacks Image 32
Stacks Image 34
Stacks Image 38
The tablet-based app ALONE TOGETHER allows users to compose four-word sentences from the following source words:

I : we
am : are
alone : together
always : never

The composed sentences in turn trigger video playback of two individuals, each engaged in simple movements and gestures. The video pairings are initiated by the word combinations; the video diptychs create unexpected visual and contextual relationships. The user may consider the possibilities suggested by the portraits in relation to each other, and to the meaning of the composed sentence: Are these individuals alone? Or does a relationship exist between them?

Artists: Laurel MacDonald, Shawn Kerwin
Video Production: Laurel MacDonald
Programming: Pearl Chen, Paul Forest
David Anderson
Sierra Bacquie
Alice Chiasson
Hannah Epstein
Michael Evask
Jean Johnson
Monica Law
Lizzy Mahashe
Prashant Miranda
Arlene Moscovitch
Ryan Rizzo
Louis Sanger
Malcolm Sanger
Mark Thoburn
John Watson
Produced in association with the Canadian Film Centre Media Lab
Premier exhibition at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto
as part of Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, 2011

Special Thanks To:
Neema Bickersteth, Michael Evask, William F. White International
DEAR PROVENANCE • Video | Audio Installation, 2009
HD Video • Stereo Sound • Running Time 4:09
Laurel MacDonald • Director | Videographer | Editor | Composer

Dear Provenance is a video essay examining the significance of cherished objects owned by three generations of women in my family: my grandmother, my mother, and me.

Toronto Alternative Fashion Week, 2009
ONE TWO MANY FEW • Video | Audio Installation, 2009
Stereo Sound • Running Time 3:20
HD Video in Portrait Orientation

Featuring Viv Moore

Laurel MacDonald
Director | Videographer | Editor | Sound Design

A woman mutely extends her hands in a gesture of...
offering? pleading?
She confronts us with her gaze; stifling herself,
withholding a truth we can only imagine.
An intimate portrait of the unknowable.

Created with the support of
Canasian International Dance Festival Film Festival

Parkdale Film + Video Festival, Toronto, 2009
Festival International du Film sur l’Art, Montreal, 2010
Regards Hybrides collection of Canadian screendance, 2023

HD Video | Multi-Channel Sound | 2008 | 2:50

A piece created for projection during my Videovoce live performances.

Laurel MacDonald: camera : video : musical arrangement : voice

Arrangement of O Virgo Splendens, anonymous composition, late 14th century
from the Llibre Vermell de Montserrat, Montserrat monastery, Catalonia

The Artist Project, 2012

Multi-Channel Video, 2010 • 5.1 Sound • Running Time 10:18
Laurel MacDonald • Director/Videographer/Editor/Composer
Johanna Bergfelt & Sean Ling • Dancers/Choreographers

Inspired by the iconic nineteenth century motion studies of Eadweard Muybridge, Sequential Duet is an experimental video created using sequences of thousands of individual digital still photographs. It is a kinetic portrait of an isolated woman and man - but this is isolation intertwined with unknowable intimacy. With an original score composed by the director, a recognized film composer and performing musician, and featuring two of Canada’s finest contemporary dancers, Sequential Duet is a study in shimmering sound, momentum and physicality, emotion and the human psyche, shadow and light.

The Artist Project, Toronto, 2011 (Untapped Competition Selection)
Loikka tanssielokuvafestivaali (Loikka Dance Film Festival), Helsinki, 2011
Festival International de Vidéo Danse de Bourgogne, Chalon sur Saône, 2011
Moves International Festival of Movement on Screen, Liverpool, 2011
SHIMMER : JITTER • Video | Audio Installation, 2006
HD Video in Portrait Orientation
Stereo Sound • Running Time 5:33

Featuring Sean Ling

Laurel MacDonald • Director/Videographer/Editor/Sound Design
Philip Strong • Sound Design

shimmer: a natural instability in the value of amplitude;
a flickering or vibrating motion or image

jitter: a natural instability in the value of fundamental frequency;
random variation in the timing of a signal

Making Room, Toronto, 2006
Slider play pause