Ardele Lister has been making films and videotapes since the early 70s when she co-founded ReelFeelings, a women's media collective, in Vancouver, Canada.
When her first film, So Where's My Prince Already?
('76), was selected for the International Festival of Women's Films,, Ardele relocated to New York City, where she has since lived and worked.
Her works are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art (NY), the Beaubourg Centre (Paris), the Kunsthalle (Berlin), and the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa)- to name a few. Lister founded The Independent, the monthly publication for independent video and filmmakers (still published by the Foundation for Independent Video and Film), and has written on media and art for Afterimage, Felix, Criteria and other publications.
The characters in many of Lister’s works, particularly the early films (So Where’s My Prince Already?
, and Split
) ask us to reconsider what on the surface appears to be ordinary people struggling to make sense of their lives, as they are lived and mythologized. Hell, Behold the Promised Land
and Conditional Love (See Under Nationalism-Canada)
look at how media contributes to our beliefs, hopes, disappointments and most of all, our identities. Whether the subject matter is serious or playful, personal or political, Lister creates work full of humo(u)r and pathos which reflects and hono(u)rs the complexities of people's daily lives.
One of the first artists to work with digital technologies, Lister’s art (notably Hell
, 1984) led to her work on avant-garde television projects such as PeeWee's Playhouse
(CBS). For this innovative television show Lister produced all the Connect the Dots segments, in which live-action Pee Wee jumped into the computer generated Magic Screen, to be digitally layered and animated.
Lister is an Associate Professor in the Visual Arts Dept., Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, teaching media production and critical studies.