John Watt

John Watt was born in Toronto, Ontario in 1952 and studied Fine Art’s at Mount Allison University, Sackville, New Brunswick from 1971 to 1973. During this time, John worked as a painter, sculptor, and printmaker until he discovered video, a new time-based art form that shifted his attention away from more traditional art media. Watt continued his studies from 1973 to 1974 at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he produced many of his early video performance-for-the-camera works, notably “Peepers” and “I’m a Killer”.

Over the past forty years, Watt has become one of the most internationally respected media producers/directors in Canada and a noted pioneer of Video Art. John’s video art was exhibited and collected as early as 1974 at the Art Gallery of Ontario’s 'Videoscape' and was notably the first major survey of video art in Canada.

In 1979 Watt produced and curated “Television By Artists”, a landmark series of six commissioned television programs by artists. Each program was designed and framed for broadcast television and examined a variety of concerns as objects or events for broadcast television.

Watt’s interest in the advancement of video technology led him to becoming one of first commercial videodisc producer’s in Canada, directing four major installations for the Canadian Pavilion at Expo ’86. This groundbreaking project consisting of fourteen synchronized laser videodiscs and was programmed using a digital image controller over a matrix of one hundred and eight monitors. He has continued to be an innovative video producer, pioneering electronic applications for the Internet and Public Display worldwide.

Watt’s video works have been extensively exhibited and are collected nationally and internationally in museums, galleries, expositions, festivals, broadcasts, including: National Gallery of Canada, Fukui Prefectural Museum of Art, Fukui, Japan, Brighton Polytechnical Institute, England, Centre d’art Contemporain Basse-, France Normanmdie, Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, The Power Plant, Art Gallery at Harbourfront, Toronto, Montevideo, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Blaffer Gallery, Houston, Texas, U.S.A., Koln Art Fair, Koln, Germany, Agnes Etherington Arts Centre, Kingston, Ontario, Obscure Gallery, 729 Cote D’Abraham, Quebec City, London Video Arts, London England, Simon Fraser University, Center for Arts, B.C. Canada, University of Toronto, McLuhan Center, Toronto, High Museum, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A., Maison de la Culture de Brest, Brest, Belgium, Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff, Alberta, Long Beach Museum of Art, Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Hara, Japan, Sydney Biennale, Sydney, Australia, Kijkhuis, Den Haag, The Netherlands, Via della Croce, Rome Italy, Ed Video, Guelph, Canada, Western Front, Vancouver, B.C., Canada.

Artist Code: 158



1990, 150:00 minutes, colour, Bislama

Video Wall Expo 86

1986, 05:00 minutes, colour, English

Industrial Track - Series

1985, 88:48 minutes, colour, English

Surveillance on the Welland Canal

1985, 25:00 minutes, colour, English

Nuclear Breakdown

1984, 08:51 minutes, colour, English

National Company

1982, 06:10 minutes, colour, English

Remember Scannex Man

1982, 02:28 minutes, colour, English

Sequence Squelch

1982, 06:15 minutes, colour, English

Meshes Together

1982, 11:02 minutes, colour, English

Bell Canada Construction Surveillance

1982, 13:28 minutes, colour, English

TTC Road Crew

1982, 09:00 minutes, colour, English

Underground Video

1982, 09:28 minutes, colour, English

Scannex Man

1981, 06:15 minutes, colour, English

Two Way Mirror

1980, 28:30 minutes, colour, English


1979, 20:00 minutes, colour/B&W, English

Paul's Deep Sea Shantung

1979, 30:00 minutes, B&W, English

Off The Top Of The Head

1978, 30:00 minutes, B&W /colour, English


1978, 06:00 minutes, colour, English


1974, 25:00 minutes, B&W, English


1974, 10:00 minutes, B&W, English


1974, 28:00 minutes, B&W, English

This is my Mouth

1973, 10:00 minutes, B&W, English


1973, 15:00 minutes, B&W, Silent

Hypothetical Fornication

1973, 01:30 minutes, B&W, English

I'm A Killer

1973, 11:00 minutes, B&W, English

White On Black, Black On White

1972, 35:00 minutes, B&W, English

Black On White In Two Step

1972, 19:00 minutes, B&W, English

Critical Writing

by Nina Czegledy. WRO 99, 1999. Wroclaw: WRO 99, 1999.
Video Art: Selected, New & Reviewing
by John Morgan. NeWest Review, June 1995, v. 20, no. 5.
Artists' Video From Canada
by Peggy Gale. Bologna, Milano: The Link & Invideo, 1995.
First-generation Video
by Carole Corbeil. The Globe and Mail, June 14, 1988.
Video Structures: Back to Basic Memory
by Clive Robertson. Parallelogramme, Summer 1987, v. 12, no. 5.
Hot Art In A Cool Medium
by Brian D. Johnson and Mark Budgen. Maclean's, Mar. 3, 1986.
First-generation video
by Carole Corbeil. The Globe and Mail, June 14, 1986.
by Renee Baert. Vintage Video: Early Canadian Video Art to 1974, 1986. Toronto: Artculture Resource Centre, 1986.
Canada - Video: A Medium in Search of its Task
by René Coëlho. Canadian Video Art, 1985. S.N., 1985.
Consolidation and Resistance:: Video in Toronto, An Overview
by Elke Town. Canadian Video Art, 1985. S.N, 1985.
Television Interference
by Karen Henry. Vanguard, May 1984, v. 13, no. 4.
Television Interference
by Merike Talve. Video Guide, May 1984, v. 6, no. 3.
Video Refractions
by Goldie Rans. C Magazine, 1984, no. 3.
Video in Canada: Process and Production
by Renée Baert. Video '84, - Recontres Vidéo Internationales de Montreal, 1984, v. sept.
Tapes by a Tribe of Storytellers: New Work Show evidence that...
by John Bentley Mays. The Globe and Mail, Sept. 1, 1984.
Artist's Markings in the TV Landscape: New Work Show evidence that...
by Renee Baert. Prime Time Video, 1984. Saskatoon: Mendel Art Gallery, 1984.
by Renee Baert. Television Interference, Mar. 1984. Vancouver: Presentation House Gallery, 1984.
The New Work Show
by B.D. Hershorn. Toronto: Litho Offset, 1984.
A Space chooses evolution over revolution: New shows a return to...
by John Bentley Mays. The Globe and Mail, Nov. 26, 1983.
Video to salvage TV Wasteland
by John Bentley Mays. The Globe and Mail, Sept. 10, 1982.
Television By Artists
by Martha Fleming. Video Guide, Mar. 1981, v. 3, no. 4.
Television By Artists
by Philip Monk. Canadian Forum, May 1981, v. 61, no. 709.
Video is not television, Performance is not theatre
by Martha Fleming and Douglas Durand. Body Politic, June 1980, no. 64.
Structural Videotape in Canada
by Eric Cameron. Video Art: An Anthology, 1976. Toronto: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1976.
by Marty Dunn et al. Toronto Ontario: Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), 1974.