Showing students the meaning of art

Date published: 2008-04-23 3:11:09 PM

His writing has been called one of the world’s greatest collections of wisdom on poetic cinema. R. Bruce Elder, a professor at Ryerson University’s School of Image Arts and a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, inspires not only accolades from peers, but also great devotion from students. Following a nomination spearheaded by two students in 2007, he won the prestigious Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts for outstanding achievement as an avant-garde filmmaker.

Throughout a 30-year career, Elder has been best known for his interdisciplinary scholarship, exploring the way film intersects with mathematics, dance, music and philosophy. As an example, he acquired a background in applied mathematics and computer science so that his experimental work could make the best use of new technology. Equipped with this knowledge, he developed an image processing application—informally called the Cagey One, after avant-garde musician John Cage—that enables filmmakers to push the boundaries of geometric distortion in their images.

R. Bruce Elder, visual arts, Ryerson University