Thom Sokoloski brings over 40 years of experience as a theatre and visual artist, producer and consultant. His training and performance from 1970-76 in theatre and dance began in New York City (The NOW Theatre, LaMama ETC, Open Theatre & Eric Hawkins Dance) and in Paris, France (L'Ecole Jacques Lecoq, Jerzy Grotowski's Polish Lab Theatre and LaMama De Paris), as well as his own Paris Theatre Projects, which developed and toured original minimalistic performance works.
Returning to Toronto in 1979, he co-founded The Theatre Centre, Native Theatre School in association with ANDVPA (the Association for Native Development in the Visual and Performing Arts), and Autumn Leaf Performance.
He met and then directed five of R. Murray Schafer’s operatic works, including RA inside the Ontario Science Centre (1983) and Holland Festival, in a Viking castle, church, museum and canals of Leyden (1985). He then staged Hermes Trismegistos at the Liège and Arts Musica Festivals in Belgium and inside Union Station for Toronto’s World Stage Festival 92.
He has also produced music & film concerts with Michael Nyman, John Oswald, Gavin Bryars, The Master Musicians of Jajouka, Atom Egoyan with Nexus, Peter Mettler with Evergreen Gamelan, and an internal tour of Claude Vivier's opera Kopernikus in partnership with the Banff Centre, Musica Festival in Strasbourg, Huddersfield Contemporary and Opéra de Montréal.
“Any revolutionary project today, whether utopian or realistic, must if it is to avoid banality, make the re-appropriation of the body, in association with the re-appropriation of space into a negotiable part of its agenda.”
The Production of Space, Henri Lefebvre, 1974
Thom's original works during this period explored the historicity of legend, symbology and history and its interstice with site and behaviour. These works were presented at the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris, Café de la Danse, LaMama NYC, Opéra de Lyon, the Canadian Opera Company, the Royal Ontario Museum, Hart House Swimming Pool, etc. By 2004, at a time when Thom’s interest turned to applying his sense of theatrical creation to installation art and curatorial concepts around space, he had created, directed and produced over 100 works in theatre and opera.
His curatorial work began with the McLuhan International Festival of the Future 2004, followed by Interactive 2005 for Art Toronto (interactive media art in public spaces), Labo/Contact 2007 in the Historic Distillery District (photographic installation), Toronto’s Scotiabanks's Nuit Blanche 2009 (Zone A), Futurism Today or NOT! and Dada Reboot! (independent curatorial projects for Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 11 & 12 throughout the Historic Distillery District, Darkness at the Edge for the Propeller Centre of the Visual Arts 2013 and part of the international jury for Apexart in New York City to adjudicate curatorial projects worldwide.
During this time, Thom received public art commissions; starting in 2006 with The Balloons for the National Capital Commission in Ottawa along the Rideau Canal, The Royal Flush for Fallsview Casino, Confinement of the Intellect for Scotiabank’s Nuit Blanche 06 in Trinity Bellwoods Park (later re-titled as The Encampment with versions presented on Roosevelt Island in New York City 2007, Major's Hill Park in Ottawa 2008 and the Luminato Festival 2012 inside Fort York), Funhouse for Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 2012 and Chevrolet installed on Bay Street, The Scarecrows, a river installation on the Muskoka River for Nuit Blanche North in Huntsville, Ontario, All the Artists are Here, a large-scale suspended portrait wall at Art Toronto, 2013, and Colour of the River Running Through Us in 2015, a kinetic sculptural installation in the ravine of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinberg, ON. In 2016, he created 'The Red Giant' for the Fair of Alternative Art of Sudbury (commissioned by la Galerie du Nouvel Ontario, Sudbury); in 2017, 'Incantation' a commission from Art Spin under the Lakeshore Blvd West bridge crossing over the Humber River, Toronto and in 2018, he was invited to participate in the Feverish World Symposium (EcoCulture Lab – University of Vermont) and how his new work has become more eco-oriented. 2019, saw him become curator fo Art in the Dark for Festival Inspire in Moncton New Brunswick.
His international residencies have taken him to New York City (Socrates Sculpture Park), Mapoon, Queensland in an art collaboration with the Aboriginals of Australia and Brazil where he has had the opportunity to conceive and develop Ghost Net with the community. He has participated in the critical review of 4th-year student designs at Ryerson University’s Department of Architectural Science focusing on the role of architecture and the renegotiation of public space and invited to speak at Applied Brilliance, an annual conference whose theme this year was 'Being Human in a Digital Age'.
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