About Us

"Artengine - Where technology comes to play."

The success of the creative economy depends on the vision of its artists. At the fringes of mainstream feature films and television commercials, there is video and performance art. At the edges of mainstream music, there are audio-visual festivals taking audiences to their sensory limits. On the margins of engineering, there are do-it-yourself makers and Hackers. And so on.

More than any other sector, at the very heart of the creative economy, media artists engage with new technologies with a sense of play. Inspired by the powerful possibilities afforded by new technologies, media artists open up to new ways of thinking about, of doing technology. The stuff of Media Arts today encompasses online communities, game play, distributed and open source technology development, mixed or augmented reality experience, assistive technologies, cyborg bodies, and other as yet unimagined territories of invention.

From the very small DIY projects, to the spectacular events altering our sensorium, to virtual communities of technologists and creators, the Media Arts today remind us of technology's potential to elicit wonder. They are where technology – and human beings – come to play.

Who We Are

Artengine is an Ottawa-based collective of artists, technologists and interested members of the general public with strong ties to the local, national and international community of technologically-based artists.

1. Our Mission

Our mission at Artengine is to drive your creativity.

2. Our Vision

Our vision is to connect artists, art audiences and the general public locally, nationally and internationally.

We aim to be a highly flexible organization that leverages strategic partnerships to produce ambitious public projects with an international reach, reputation and contribution, combined with responsive, short term programming and the capacity to incubate new artistic ideas and trends through their natural life cycles.

3. Our Values

We value democratic access to our facilities and know-how as well as to our organization as a whole.

We value and facilitate connections between artists and members of the general public with an interest in technology.

What We Do

Artengine presents, promotes and enables technologically based artistic creation.

Artengine is an artist-run media arts production and presentation centre located in Ottawa's Arts Court. A leader in Media Arts development in the Ottawa-Gatineau region, we share our expertise in a number of open-source programming languages of interest to artists, participate in international networks of artist programmers, and provide tools and instruction to interested artists of all disciplines to develop their own work independently. Artists interested in digital media arts production now benefit from Artengine's M70 Lab, offering a flexible workspace, technological tools for use on-site and in the field, as well as professional training in the use of Artengine's technological tools and tool development.

Artengine's many programming events offer sophisticated, intelligent and entertaining programming to the largely professional population of the nation's capital, and extending to youth of all social classes. These events garner enthusiastic media attention, no doubt encouraged by Artengine's inclusive Artlist – an online promotion tool for use by all interested arts organizations, which boasts a 1500 member subscriber list and growing.

In addition, Artengine's critically acclaimed bi-annual media arts festival, Electric Fields/Champs électriques, has grown significantly, reaching larger audiences with local, national and international programming. It's sister event, the Electric Fields symposium which is held in the Festival's off-years, brings together a host of partners from the arts and research communities in Ottawa and Montreal, advancing critical discourse around technologically-based arts creation.

Our Mandate

Artengine is committed to:

  1. The creation, presentation/dissemination and promotion of art concerned with technological experimentation, both online and in physical space.

  2. Ensuring that artists have affordable access to specific technological resources needed for their work. This would include both physical and information based resources. Relevant artistic endeavors include computer programming, custom electronics, network adaptation and many other practices in which the production or presentation technology plays a distinct role in shaping the work.

  3. Carving out artist-run space in the on-line world by owning and operating its own server with the direct goal of providing more accessible services to artists and other art and artist-run organizations. These services include web space for presentation and promotion, email, listservs and other network based services as well as technological support and guidance.

  4. Maintaining a space dedicated to technological experimentation with the recognition of the important role a locally-based community of practice plays in the artistic process. This space functions as a laboratory for production and presentation, and for the exchange of ideas and methods, both formal and informal, as they relate to technological based art.

  5. Actively supporting the open source movement by working with specific software projects that provide artists with distinct and accessible tools for the creation of their work.

Our History

Artengine was created in 1996 to promote the accessibility of technological tools to the local and regional arts community. Artengine serves our membership, local and regional artists and many cultural organizations by providing essential on-line tools such as website/email services, community networking, shared knowledge, and most importantly conceptual and technical assistance in the creation of artworks.

In 1999 Artengine created the Artlist, our most significant point of public access and the oldest cultural mailing list in the Ottawa-Gatineau region. Serving many communities, including the Francophone and Anglophone art communities, the Artlist maintains a subscription base of 1800+ email addresses all free of charge. In 2007, the Artlist was incorporated into the new Artengine website. A customizable on-line events calendar was built onto the existing service to expand the networking capacity of this valuable free regional service. With the recent upgrade from multiple text-based emails to a single daily html email-Artlist ONE, Artlist continues its evolution in a way to proactively respond community's fast changing needs.

Over the years, Artengine has engaged in a wide variety of programming including exhibitions, both online and in local galleries, artistic residencies, performance series, workshops, lectures, artist talks and master classes. With a new strategic plan in 2007 we identified "a unified and identifiable programming vision" as key to organizational growth; expanding presentation opportunities for local and national artists in electronic art; increasing professional capacity of the local community, and educating new audiences.

In 2005, Artengine expanded from a solely virtual space into a physical lab as well. This organizational evolution reinforced Artengine's role as a central hub for all artists impacted by the electronic arts in Capital Region. In 2007, Artengine moved into the City of Ottawa's Arts Court facility, further centralizing the organization and securing an important space within the cultural community.

In 2008, Artengine took over the primary direction of the biennial Electric Fields festival from SAW Video. It has developed the festival project into a significant programming venture drawing on extensive collaborations across the city and into Montréal and Toronto. The collaborative nature of the festival has strengthened the organization's access to resources while increasing the exposure and awareness of the electronic arts across all disciplines.

Artengine has a strong historical connection to the Open Source movement. We have contributed custom scripting and programming to the open source projects PureData and GridFlow, playing a key role in the internationally networked community including co-hosting the 2007 International PD Convention in Montréal. In more recent history, we have fostered significant relationships with the maker community developing networks of exchange for both open software and hardware platforms.

Our Board of Directors

We recognize that shaping the organization requires a holistic approach, combining all of our resources in terms of programming, technological infrastructure, and human resources. Artengine's Board of Directors is also in place to help shape our future vision. True to its identity as an artist-run centre, Artengine is governed by a six-member Board of practicing artists.

Diana Cantu, Chairperson, is a specialist in the intersection of art and new technology. She is a career technology evangelist and professional whose background features a mix of tech and the arts including: pioneer satellite broadband networks (for digital broadcasting, IPTV, digital cinema, and distance learning), a 3D technology company in Montreal, running a small arts-oriented graphic design practice in NYC, commercial and non-profit art galleries, and a small opera company. She is President Emeritus of the Ottawa School of Art Board of Directors. As an enthusiastic longtime social media netizen, she is found blogging, tweeting, networking and hanging out online in a variety of places —cataloged here: Her passion spans around geek culture, street & graffiti art, travel, hacking (the creative/good kind), languages, food, art, wine, technology, dance, social media, 3D, social justice, mentoring, all things nerdy, and art.

Susan Robbins Parsons is the Chief Financial Officer at GAL Power Systems where she supervises all financial aspects of the company and directly assists the President and CEO on all strategic and tactical matters as they relate to budget management, cost benefit analysis, forecasting needs and the securing of new funding. She is proficient with both US and Canadian GAAP and holds an MBA from Dalhousie University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Western Ontario. Her volunteer experience includes Ottawa Carleton Research Institute’s Dollar and Sense committee member, treasure for a junior hockey team and Official Agent for a political campaign. She was awarded the Ottawa Business Journal's prestigious 'Top Forty under Forty' in 2004. ?

Rupert Oliver Allen, Chairperson Emeritus, is an economist and stakeholder engagement specialist with the Federal Government of Canada where he has worked for the past four years. Prior to this he worked in a variety of national and international arts institutions including Itau Cultural in Sao Paulo, the National Gallery of Canada and the Venice Biennale. He sits on the executive for the Council of the Arts in Ottawa and is a research associate with the Carleton Centre for Community Innovation. Mr. Allen has a Masters degree in Contemporary Art and Criticism from the University of Essex and a graduate degree in Sustainability from Carleton University.

Parm Gill is a serial technology entrepreneur and, over the years, he has guided the growth and development of numerous start-up companies. As Managing Partner of the Gill Group, he acts as a strategic advisor, mentor/coach, and connector for startup companies! He currently holds a number of patents - with numerous other patent applications in process, in various international jurisdictions.

Parm is actively involved in the startup and Angel Investment eco-system in various capacities such as:

Parm also contributes his time to a number of local organizations and charities such as:

You can find out more about Parm at, where he can also be contacted, and he can be found on Twitter @ParmSGill

He can be quoted as saying, “Focus on the positive, keep learning, and whatever you do in life #LoveIt!”

Jon Milne brings over 15 years of experience in marketing, sales, business development and product management. Jon is currently the Managing Director of Innovation at Invest Ottawa. Previously, Jon held various roles at Irdeto including Director of Sales, Director of Global Field Marketing and Product Marketing Manager. Prior to Irdeto, Jon held positions with IBM Canada, Corporate Renaissance Group and Public Works and Government Services Canada.

Jon has Bachelor of Commerce from Carleton University and an MBA from Carleton University’s Sprott School of Business. Jon Milne has a passion for startups, technology trends including where technology meets art and innovation which is reflected in his community involvement as an executive member at Fresh Founders, member of the boards of directors of YMCA – YWCA of the National Capital Region, and Board Member of Artengine.