Born in London, England, Gisèle Gordon lives and works in Toronto, Canada. Drawn to enigmatic connections, curiosity and exploration drive her work. Her work includes media-based installation and single channel video projects.
Gisèle Gordon's installation work includes Crosscurrent, commissioned for the Moscow Biennale in 2013, a two-channel video installation that explores the spaces where western science and Indigenous ways of understanding the world intersect. The viewer is suspended in the time and space between two facing screens, one located in Cree country on the edges of the boreal forest in Saskatchewan, Canada, the other in Evenk territory, deep in the taiga in central Siberia, Russia. Connections to the land and language and ongoing conflicts between traditional ways of life and modern industrial exploitation are carried on the wind between them. In 2010, Gisèle created the site-specific sound, light and performance installation Iskootāo in collaboration with Kent Monkman as a commission for Toronto's Nuit Blanche. Iskootāo transformed a 650-tonne billion-year-old chunk of the Canadian Shield in a downtown city park into the pulsing heart of the earth. Gisèle is currently developing a video, light and sound installation, The Land that Dreams, using one slice of land to investigate the 12,000 year history of Toronto and explore the nature of storytelling and memory.
Gisèle directed and produced the feature-length documentary, The Tunguska Project, which uses Cree theatre director Floyd Favel's physical journey from Saskatchewan, Canada to the site of a mysterious explosion in Tunguska, Siberia as a metaphor for the mystery and struggle of creative process (Hot Docs 2005, Best Feature Length Film at the Planet in Focus Film Festival, 2005). Other short works as director include Girls With Opinions (Images Festival 2002, Better Worlds: Activist and Utopian Projects by Artsits, Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston, Ontario, 2002, Fugitive Images: Global Visions, Art Gallery of Edmonton, 2003), a subtle critique of media influence on public opinion, shot at the Summit of the Americas in Quebec City, 2001.
Gisele formed the partnership Urban Nation with Cree media artist Kent Monkman in 1996. Their collaborations as co-directors include Group of Seven Inches, a satire on the artistic colonisation of Canada's First Peoples (Berlin International Film Festival in 2005) and Robin's Hood, which was presented as part of the Miss Chief Trilogy installation in the Marshall McLuhan Salon at Forum Expanded programme at the Berlin International Film Festival, 2008. A complete retrospective of all Urban Nation films was featured at the Terres en Vues Festival in 2008, where the Miss Chief Trilogy was awarded the festival's grand prize, the Teueikan award.
Gisèle began curating for the Canadian section of Hot Docs, North America's largest documentary festival, in 2007 and now selects works for the international program. From 2002 to 2010, she programmed drama, documentary and new media work for the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, the world's largest festival of Indigenous-made media works. Her independent curation includes Reconstructing Canada, a program of Canadian films for the Salekhard Northern Nomadic Film Festival in Russia in 2005. She served on the board of directors for the Images Festival from 2003 to 2006, and on the board of the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival from 2002 to 2011, which she continues to serve an advisor.
Gisèle is currently in production on Listening to the City an experimental, reality-based meta-narrative of the urban experience constructed from fragments of overheard conversations and visuals of extraordinary moments in Toronto's public spaces.