Trains of Winnipeg  |  About the Project




Begun in 2001, TRAINS OF WINNIPEG is a five-year multimedia & multidisciplinary art project by Clive Holden that has resulted in a website, an audio CD, a book, and a feature-length cycle of films.

Central to the project is an exploration of, and experimentation in, the spaces between some of art's many genres and subcultures – with the aim of challenging the assumptions of each, and with the whole benefiting from the resulting tensions.

Avant garde/experimental film, art video, media art, sound art, spoken, concrete, neo-modernist and lyrical poetry, independent rock, and web culture. What will we see when traveling between these closely-related but distinct worlds?

The post modern era shattered the boundaries between art's dominant paradigms, and we've entered the 21st century far less able to specialize on a single artistic focus, various lenses are required to see clearly in this new multilateral world. And which clothes should we wear? What music are we supposed to like now? Is low art the new high art? Is hate the new love?


Trains of Winnipeg - 14 Film Poems (35 mm/Betacam/DVD/iPod, 89 minutes) is a feature-length film cycle that premiered at Images Festival in Toronto in Spring, 2004. It has been screened at film, video, and media arts festivals and galleries throughout North America and Europe.

Straddling the borders between the balkanized worlds of cinema, visual art, music and literature, the 14 films in this major cycle employ a wide variety of non-linear digital and filmic formal experiments in depicting suburban and urban dystopias, in essays exploring the politics of form and the form of personal politics, as well as in audiovisual tone poems celebrating the raw joy of moving pictures, sound, colour and light.

The films are pulled together with the overarching metaphor of a train journey, culminating in the title film, an unabashed love ballad for the rusty grace and brute power of the ‘Trains of Winnipeg’. The film also acts as a portal from the analog century to the digital beyond, where everything looks the same, but we know it’s not.

The individual works tacitly embrace ironic distance and emotional engagement at once, eschewing facile dichotomies to celebrate both the high and the low, admire the modernist cult of the clever while embracing the warm, personal and kitschy, and simultaneously explore the experiment and the expressive.

In 'Burning Down the Suburbs' a model family watches as its S.U.V. is engulfed in flames on the side of a country highway; in '18,000 Dead in Gordon Head' the filmmaker witnesses a girl's murder by sniper, lying with his camera in the road where she died; in 'The Jew & the Irishman' a son serves high voltage drinks at a dysfunctional cocktail party, the young artist as witness; and in 'F-movie' the letter 'F' dances to an apocalyptic beat.

The films in this collection were formed from an eclectic collage of film gauges and video formats, from 1950's 8mm, to Super 8, 16mm and 35mm, to VHS ‘found footage’ and the latest in digital technology including HD and an entire film made with a camera the size of deck of playing cards ('Love in the White City').

Trains of Winnipeg – 14 Film Poems is a new digital/film hybrid melange of styles, materials, and artistic intents, resulting in an epic ride through an early 21st century landscape that's not soon forgotten.


Trains of Winnipeg - Poems & Music (audio CD), a mix of spoken poetry and music, has received ‘heavy rotation’ at college and community radio stations across North America, reaching top ten for several weeks in Toronto and Vancouver, and number one in Winnipeg. It appeared on several critics ‘top ten for 2001’ lists.


Trains of Winnipeg (trade paperback - DC Books) was short-listed for the 2002 McNally Robinson Book of the Year, as well as the Carol Shields Winnipeg Book of the Year.


(art website) the multimedia electronic hub of the project, receives over 430,000 hits annually.


Exhibition (selected)


.  February, 2007. Anthology Film Archives, New York.
.  November, 2006. Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.
.  October, 2006. Canadian Film Institute + Club SAW, Ottawa.
.  October, 2006. Kosmopolis Festa Internacional de la Literatura, Barcelona.
.  September, 2006. Festival di Palazzo Venezia, Rome.
.  July, 2006. Kino Arsenal, Berlin. (+ artist talk).
.  June, 2006. Kino 46, Bremen. (+ artist talk).
.  June, 2006. Kinemathek Karlsruhe. (+ artist talk).
.  June, 2006. Deutsches Filmmuseum, Frankfurt. (+ artist talk).
.  June, 2006. Cinema Svetozoron, Prague.
.  June 2006. Pacific Cinematheque, Vancouver.
.  May, 2006. Danish Film Institute, Copenhagen. (+ artist talk).
.  March, 2006. Festival International du Film l’Art, Montréal.
.  February, 2006. Metro Cinema, Edmonton.
.  November, 2005. CPH:DOX – Copenhagen International Documentary Fest. (Winner: New Vision Award).
.  October, 2005. Hamilton College, Utica NY.
.  September, 2005. Calgary Film Festival.
.  September, 2005. Winnipeg Cinematheque.
.  July, 2005. Art Gallery of Greater Victoria at Cinecenta Cinema. (+ artist talk).
.  April, 2005. Arizona Film Festival, Tucson.
.  April, 2005. Commonwealth Film Festival, Manchester.
.  April, 2005. European Media Art Festival, Osnabrük.
.  March, 2005 (two week run). CAMERA Café Bar and Media Gallery, Toronto.
.  March, 2005. Concordia University Visiting Artist Series, Montreal.
.  February, 2005. transmediale, Berlin.
.  January, 2005. International Film Festival Rotterdam.
.  October, 2004. Send + Receive – a Festival of Sound/Cinematheque, Winnipeg.
.  September, 2004. Antimatter Film Festival, Victoria, B.C.
.  July, 2004. La Casa de America, Madrid.
.  July, 2004. L'Institut Valencia de Cinematografia, Valencia, Spain.
.  June, 2004. 50th Annual Robert Flaherty Film Seminar (closing film), Poughkeepsie, NY.
.  April, 2004. Images Festival (world premiere screening), Toronto.


.  18,000 Dead in Gordon Head, 2002: Light Industry, Brooklyn; Ann Arbor Film Festival 2002; European Media Art Festival 2003 (Osnabrük); Melbourne Intl. Film Festival 2003; Chicago Underground Film Festival 2003; Antimatter Festival of Underground Short Film & Video 2003 (Victoria); Winnipeg Cinematheque 2003; NSI Filmexchange 2003 (Winnipeg); Pacific Cinematheque (Vancouver); Optic Nerve Moving Media Festival 2003 (Peterborough); BRNO 16 (Brno); Blinding Light Cinema (Vancouver).
.  Hitler! (Revisited), 2004: International Festival Signes de Nuit 2005 (Paris); Filmmuseum (Düsseldorf ); Goethe Institute (Rome); Festival International de Film et Vidéo de Création 2005 (Beirut); Fabulous Fringe Film Festival 2005 (Durham).
.  Trains of Winnipeg (short), 2004: Ann Arbor Film festival 2005; Short Film Festival Hamburg 2005; CESTA Art Festival 2005 in Tabor, Czech Republic.
.  Bus North to Thompson With Les at the Wheel, 2004: Big Muddy Film Festival 2005; Docs Festival 2005 (Winnipeg)
.  Neighbours Walk Softly, 2002: ZEBRA Poetry Film & Video Awards 2002, finalist (Berlin); Gimli Film Festival, DC Underground Film Festival 2005.


.  July, 2006. Kino Arsenal, Berlin.
.  June, 2006. Kino 46, Bremen.
.  June, 2006. Kinemathek Karlsruhe.
.  June, 2006. Deutsches Filmmuseum, Frankfurt.
.  May, 2006. Danish Film Institute, Copenhagen.
.  May, 2006. Royal Danish Academy of Art, Copenhagen.
.  September, 2005. aceartinc, Winnipeg.
.  August, 2005. Durham Art Gallery.
.  July, 2005. Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.
.  April, 2005. U. of Arizona, Tucson.
.  March, 2005. U. de Concordia, Montreal, Visiting Artist Series.
.  November, 2004. Platform Gallery, Winnipeg.
.  January, 2003. U. of Manitoba, School of Architecture Lecture Series. Poetic Process in City Planning.
.  April, 2002. Medianet, Victoria, Media Artist Lecture Series.


.  September, 2006. Winnipeg Writers Festival. Readings + screenings.
.  September, 2004. Winnipeg Writers Festival, mainstage. Readings + audio.
.  May, 2003. Deutsch-Amerikanische Institut, Heidelberg, Night of the Poets. Readings + screenings.
.  September, 2002. Canzine, Toronto. Readings + audio.
.  October, 2001. Send + Receive – a Festival of Sounds, Winnipeg. Readings + screenings.
.  August, 2001. Cafe de Popoli, Montreal, Wired on Words Series. Readings + audio.


.  Trains of Winnipeg, CD + book + DVD. 2001 + 2003 + 2005.
.  Mind the Gap – An Artist's Response to Completing a Film/Video Cycle, article in Poolside 2004. Video Pool Media Arts Centre.


.  May, 2006. Zed, CBC Television. Nanaimo Station and Bus North to Thompson.
.  Multiple airings, 2005-07. The Documentary Channel. Trains of Winnipeg – 14 Film Poems (as shorts)
.  Multiple airings, 2005-06. Book TV, the Channel. Trains of Winnipeg – 14 Film Poems, abridged
.  Multiple airings, 2004. The Documentary Channel. Eighteen Thousand Dead in Gordon Head
.  March 2003 & 2004. ABC, Australia. Two national broadcasts of seven tracks from Trains of Winnipeg project audio CD
.  March, 2002. Austrian State Radio. Grain Train (audio poem, part of web installation: FREQUENCity)
.  2001 & 2002. The Trains of Winnipeg audio CD achieved 'heavy rotation' on campus/community radio stations across Canada and the U.S.A.