VIVO Media Arts Centre

Identity area



Authorized form of name

VIVO Media Arts Centre

Parallel form(s) of name

    Other form(s) of name

    • Satellite Video Exchange Society


    • Arts Organization

    Contact area

    Archivist Primary contact



    Street address

    2625 Kaslo Street





    Country name


    Postal code

    V5M 3G9







    Description area


    The Satellite Video Exchange Society (SVES) was incorporated on July 23, 1973 as a non-profit organization under the Societies Act of British Columbia. Growing out of a broad interest in the use of new video technology for aesthetic, documentary, and activist purposes along with the publication of a Video Exchange Directory in 1971 and Matrix symposium in January 1973, its goals were to promote the non-commercial use of video technology through education and international video tape exchange. SVES was conceived from the beginning as an artist-run centre, with business decisions being made through a Management Collective. The initial functions of SVES included tape and print library services, equipment rental, workshops and screenings. In 1978 activities expanded to include a new serial publication, Video Guide (which continued through 1992), and the introduction of a video tape distribution service, Video Out Distribution, in 1979. The centre operated by SVES was the "Video Inn" at 261 Powell Street in Vancouver. In 1988 a move was made to 1102 Homer Street and a third move was made in 1993 to 1965 Main Street. Founding members were Renee Baert, Michael Goldberg, Patricia Hardman, Charles Keast, Ann McDonald, Janet Miller, Shawn Preus, Paula Wainberg, Richard Ward, and Paul Wong. The SVES operates under the name VIVO Media Arts Centre.

    Geographical and cultural context

    SVES is located in Vancouver. The collection is international in scope, however, 65% of the media collection was produced in B.C. and all Special Collections originated in Greater Vancouver. The collection grew out of the Canadian artist-run centre movement and reflect social justice movements that have impacted the media and Canada since 1968. We have extensive feminist and LGBTQ2S collections.

    Mandates/Sources of authority

    Administrative structure

    Records management and collecting policies

    The Crista Dahl Media Library and Archive (CDMLA) at the VIVO Media Arts Centre houses approximately 7300 videotapes of artist and activist work dating back to 1968. It acquires work on an ongoing basis through Video Out Distribution as well as through specific donations to the society. The CDMLA also acquires, preserves and makes accessible the records of the SVES. The society was originally established as a collective to promote the non-commercial use of video technology through education and video tape exchange, and has expanded to include audio, electronics, and new media.



    Total Volume: ca. 100 m of textual records, ca. 5000 photographs, ca. 600 prints: posters, 7300 video tapes, and 54 audio cassettes<br /> Inclusive Dates: 1968 to present

    Finding aids, guides and publications

    Access area

    Opening times

    Tuesday - Friday 11AM-6PM. Contact the Archivist to make appointments for other times.

    Access conditions and requirements


    Wheelchair ramp: The ramp has two runs: the first run is 20 feet long, and the second run is 26 feet. The ramp is 60 inches wide. The slope is 1:12. The ramp itself is concrete and has handrails on both sides.
    Door: 8 feet width (advance notice required)
    Washroom: Door: 33 inch width
    Toilet: 11 inch clearance on left side
    The washroom has a handrail
    Washroom is all genders
    Most areas of the archive are inaccessible in wheelchairs. Services of the archivist are available at no charge.

    Services area

    Research services

    Research services available in English. Contact In-person research can be arranged with the Archivist.

    Reproduction services

    Obsolete media may be digitized upon request for a fee (dependent on format, length of work, condition of work). Scanner and photocopier available for use. Access varies.

    Public areas

    Desk space for researchers, free Wi-Fi.

    Control area

    Description identifier

    Institution identifier

    Rules and/or conventions used



    Level of detail

    Dates of creation, revision and deletion

    Revised by BCANS Coordinator, March 20, 2011; October 25, 2012 (per VIVO Media Arts Centre); December 13, 2014 (per VIVO Media Arts Centre).




        Maintenance notes

        Access points

        Access Points

        • Aboriginal Peoples (Thematic area)
        • Arts and Culture (Thematic area)
        • Communication (Thematic area)
        • Environment (Thematic area)
        • Labour (Thematic area)
        • Law and Justice (Thematic area)
        • Politics and Government (Thematic area)
        • Recreation / Leisure / Sports (Thematic area)
        • Science and Technology (Thematic area)