Like the future, the past isn’t what it used
to be!
Art Actions of DickTool Co

Before the beginning there was Reid Dickie and Linda Tooley whetting their image appetites:  the former on Super 8, the latter 35 mm slides. Our first tentative collaboration was in the fall of 1976: a Super 8 film titled Fluid Schedule comprised of Linda’s images projected onto her own face. In early 1977 we offered a few friends a combined exhibition of still and moving images called If Parrots Had Wishbones. The actual physical merger occurred in March 1977 when we both quit our jobs, moved into headquarters at 729 Lorette Avenue – a 1 ½-storey utopia – and immediately went on vacation together. Our early collaborative name was The Soft Firm. Since then we have hardened the contrast and switched to the more succinct DickTool Co.


Super 8

Ten films ranging in length from 3 min. to 17 min. including Egglove, Albatross, 32 Years at Ashdowns, Re-Vision and Moondog 1 & 2.

Egglove – DickToolCo Super 8

Vision in Motion, structuralist film exampling six states of motion from planetary to internal mechanix. Used as element of performance piece Eskimo Never Get Lost.


Discontent with possibilities of time exposure and super-imposition we took to mutation of existing images by bleaching, torching, addition and subtraction. Image content included framing negatives of snaps and materials (oils, powders, dyes, insects, etc) pressed between gels, reacting in the heat of projection. Used as ambience for bizarre social events.


Photocopied and mailed into the mail-art network. Also attached to urban poles, a gallery on every street corner. See dozens of other DTC collages right here.

DickToolCo Collage “AWAITING”


Actions sent to individuals and exhibitions worldwide.


Experiments with area immediately surrounding headquarters:

Ant Painting – ants spread dyes with their tiny feet.

Original Ant Painting as it looks in 2010. Click click to enlarge

ThermoYard – concise record of underground temperature on a grid at     various times of day.

Reverse Miracle – copies of Dickie’s poetry book Prism Prisons nailed randomly to a crude wooden frame and left outdoors all winter.

Reverse Miracle – bad poetry treated badly

Film Board – slides, snaps, negatives, S8 film and clippings attached to a plank and left face down under the snow all winter.

Last two pieces documented in S8 film Evidence of Winter.


Initial work done at VPW-TV. Videosphere was a 30-minute program cablecast twice monthly. The show was not about video art, it was video art. Early shows were process works with renegade elements thwarting order in real time. Later programs dealt in a more complex fashion with erosion of still image and manipulating anticipation.

Sweet still from Shape Sharp Shore video by DickToolCo

Tapes created in Videosphere first series:

June:                            Rast/Rest

July:                             HEAT        Site

August:                        Shape Sharp Shore    Om Is Where the Art Is

September:                 Squeal       Saddles, Sacraments & Sagacity

October:                      Bus/A Horse & Its Light/I Scare Myself

Re-Vision/High Jump

November:                Trace    Dotism/Three Room Group

Eskimo Prep Tape

All the above tapes were produced at VPW Studios, 665 Stafford Street in Winnipeg except for Eskimo Prep Tape which was shot on a Sony porta-pak, on loan from MB Tourism, and documented the preparations for the gallery performance Eskimo Never  Get Lost.


Eskimo Never Get Lost, a process of personal physical centralization in environment of slides, audio, action and Super 8 including Vision in Motion. Performed at Arthur Street Gallery, November 17, 1977.

Arthur Street Gallery invitation to first DickTool Co performance, Eskimo Never Get Lost. The picture shows the gallery with pillars and light pouring in the huge street windows. Today the gallery space is Toad Hall Toys.

Reid listens to an art fan at Eskimo Never Get Lost

Linda does her duty as DickTool Co Clinical Super-Visionary. The event was a centering exercise that began with attendees drawing a straight line from their homes to the gallery, hence the ruler and map on the wall. The event further drew people inside a multi-media cloister.

Completed scripts for three other performance events:Jog Or Die

87 Million Sperm Cells

Typographical Man Beheads Himself With His Own Acts


Discarding the notion of art as clutter – wallpaper of the gods – the appeal of detached idea as art grew within DickTool Co resulting in:

Crossing Pembina Highway – Super 8 film

House Warming – video event

MOLD – slide installation in urban environment


A Horse & Its Light, a reading of original fractured narrative. Used as soundtrack for later vtape.


Porta-paked installation by Max Dean at Winnipeg Art Gallery


Dickie received short-term video grant from Canada Council.


All DickTool Co staff attended History of Experimental Film Course at University of Manitoba taught by Mario Falsetto


The first year “DickTool Co” used to describe our actions


While taking a hands-on training course at VPW-TV, we created the  second series of Videosphere programs. This series combined studio  productions and Porta-pak tapes:

January 18                   Foil/Fill         

February 1                  Flashblack

February 15                Video Shoes/X-Ray Breakfast/A Cute Crisis

March 1                      Rigmarole/Cheap Grace

March 15                    Michelangelo Amongst the Twerps

March 29                    Enchanted Vista With Added Weather

April 12                      One Orifice Plugged

April 26                      Reticular Formation

June 7                          The Yard Goes on Forever

June 21                        Piano Thwart/Quiz

July ?                           Spinal Tap

Six shows went into summer re-runs til September.

Created No Shirt No Shoes No Service on Porta-pak. First exhibited at  Arthur Street Gallery August 16 to September 2, 1978.

The invitation Arthur Street Gallery sent out for our first video installation was printed on high gloss double postcard size paper and mailed to their members, media and other galleries.

Still from No Shirt No Shoes No Service, our first video to be exhibited in a gallery.

Shot raw footage for The Yard, edited in 1980.


On vtape Mondo Trasho, rock and roll performance art at Arthur  Street Gallery in November.

Super 8

Eye Soar – superimposition due to persistence of vision

Chinese Firedrill – screened at University of Manitoba Student Film Festival in April.


Ruined Finery – apparel attached intact to poles, hydrants, public  spaces


Short diversion toward cluttering: Panty Nose, Air Raid oils on canvas (7). Aberration.


Radio Probe – radio station secretly places a live microphone in urban area & broadcasts results randomly.

Phone Probe – statistics gathered on action of calling pay phones til someone answers.


Creation/dispersion of images thru mail-art network, exhibitions and postering. See a thwack of DTC collages here.

DickTool Co collage “Fab Four”

DickTool Co collage “Proof of Vigor”


Actions sent to individuals and exhibitions worldwide.



             Hit ParadePart one of video trilogy Mechanical Bliss, clinical instruction tape created in autumn and exhibited at Arthur Street Gallery November 6 to 9, 1979.


             Hit Parade audio installation and performance at Arthur Street Gallery from 9 am to 5 pm November 10, 1979. Four record players playing stuck records and seven transistor radios all at full volume. Integrated Hit Parade vtape.

Audial installation Hit Parade on November 10 at Arthur Street Gallery. Reid, this event’s Clinical Super-Visionary, prowls amongst the pillars and the pedestals holding old record players playing stuck or skipping records full blast for eight hours. “Isolation in the midst of cacaphony” was my topic. Good one!


Hypnotic Age Regression of a TV Addict – radio adaptation of Paul Krassner short story, produced at CJUM-FM radio studios.

Numerous radio experiments at access radio CJUM-FM.

Super 8 

Passionate Leave – deprivation and overload of sensory perceptions.


On vtape Kipper Kids at Arthur Street Gallery October 6.

Poster for Kipper Kids performance at Arthur Street Gallery October 6.


Postcard-size ticket for Robert Fripp concert.

When he was trekking around North America performing Frippertronics, Robert Fripp played a surprise gig at the Winnipeg Art Gallery aiding CJUM. Linda and I designed the ticket and we sold them at the radio station at the University of Manitoba. All 300 sold in less than 30 minutes and a weird time was had by all.














Exhibitions at several mail-art head-ends. Many other DTC collages here.

collage art, paper art, mail art, water, be true to your school, true love never, runs smooth

DickTool Co collage The Next Water


         Actions sent to individuals and exhibitions worldwide.


             Headquarters moved to 801 Jessie Ave, Winnipeg in April



Modern Dance – two reticent dancers performing two reticent dances:  Rubbing and Dragging.

Band Practice – the video band Victim Moan perform ‘live’ shot at Arthur Street Gallery and edited spring and summer and exhibited at Arthur Street Gallery September 15 to 20, 1980.  VM performs three songs completely live: Frozen Warnings, Tubular Bells, Hey Hey We’re the Monkees. Completes the trilogy Mechanical Bliss.(SORRY. LINK NOT WORKING)

                        Undercover – Victim Moan perform a medley in G/Em chord progression

The Yard – edited from ½ inch tape, panoramic view of urban claustrophobia

TV spot for Stereo Swap Shop: 30 seconds, aired on CKND All-Night Movies

                        Be an Artist Now – one of the first pieces we created in our home on our new Sony Betamax recorder and Zenith Newvucon VC 1800 video camera.


                         Shroud of Turin published in ‘zine Jett Sett.

Output up with shift in emphasis to bound/found images. DTC collages galore.


                   Actions sent to individuals and exhibitions worldwide.


Collages bound in small mag format, stapled.

Produced limited editions of:

Cancer Atlas #1 – Autumn

Cancer Atlas #2 – Tyranny of Detail issue – winter

Shelf Life – Metro Attention Span issue – winter

These titles distributed by being left in public places for people to find, mail art and as gifts. All out-of-print and unavailable.

Provisional Division

                        Mother, a division of DickTool Co ran ad for best carrot cake in the world recipe in classifieds of National Enquirer and The Globe, June to Oct. Many hundreds of responses.

This is the carrot cake recipe we sold. It makes an amazing cake!

Retail Outlet   

                      IF you have to get dressed in the morning… a retail outlet selling top-quality men’s and women’s vintage apparel and accessories. Opened October. In the black immediately.


Space renovations and sign painting for retail outlet

Poster and newspaper advertising campaign for retail outlet.



                        Uncharted art mode known as Post-Nuclear Primitivism discovered by ConceptUAL Division. Supervisionary Staff begin applying new mode to art actions.


                       Please Don’t Talk to the Lifeguard – “Once the button is pushed to begin this tape, you are 90 seconds from nuclear attack.” Auditions for title role held in March, shot April to June, edited in the mode of Post-Nuclear Primitivism in September and debuted at Plug-In  December 8 to 13, 1981.

In Beta we produced Kangaroo Birth Cycle Coat, Paradise Lost and our    Video Lists – One: This is not an ashtray and Two: Things you should never ask a smoke detector.


Environment suggestive of post nuclear reality created with slides, synths and vtape for first gallery screening of Please Don’t Talk to the Lifeguard, December 8.


                        The DickTool Co All-Night TV Show ran from 11:30 p.m. til 5 a.m.  November 27, 1981. Vtapes by local artists and alternative music videos cablecast on both local channels, meaning both east and west of the Red River.


                        Cancer Atlas #3 – Surviving Sarcasm issue – spring

                       Cancer Atlas #4 – Post Nuclear Primitivism issue – autumn

found (a mag in a bag) – found art in-a-bag left around town for people to find

All were limited editions. Out of print. Or you might find found.


Images in support of Please Don’t Talk to the Lifeguard vtape in the mode of Post Nuclear Primitivism. See more DTC collages.


Actions sent to individuals and exhibitions world wide.


Press releases and posters for DickTool Co All-Night TV Show, gallery exhibition and CA #4.

Renovations and signs for new location of retail outlet

Newspaper, radio and poster advertising campaign for retail outlet.


Dickie awarded short-term video grant from Manitoba Art Council.



                       Numerous videos on home Beta equipment including 30 second and 60 second spots Post-Nuclear Public Service Announcements in the mode of Post Nuclear   Primitivism for broadcast, Bent on Profit, Calypso Mind Control, IF TV ads and Sordid Amok.

                       Ubu Tunedex – produced three homage videos for fave band Pere Ubu. Songs: The Voice of Sand, Caligari’s Mirror, Go

"Condolences to the Family"

Condolences to the Family

                      Condolences to the Family – on cults and culture, produced at and cablecast on VPW-TV. Simple and startling, Linda’s master work.

Zeal Cutlets – compilation of 89 images spanning DickTool Co art actions 1977 to 1982. Compressed into four ½ minutes. Created as promotional material.

Med Hondo – pre-production only


                       Six DickTool Co videos featured two nights at Metro Media in Vancouver, June 25 & 26, 1982


                       Emo-Omu The DickTool Co cassette in the mode of Post Nuclear        Primitivism made available this year. Available exclusively through Impulse Records. Sold about 35 copies.

Original paper insert cover of EMO OMU cassette

Contributed to In The Flesh cassette by Quintet.


                        Shot Out of a Canon – 100 photocopied images spanning the existence of DickTool Co and beyond. Available this year in a signed, numbered limited edition box.


                       Actions sent to individuals and exhibitions worldwide.


                       Newspaper and magazine advertising, matchbook design and posters as     promotion for retail outlet.

Turning Up the Ambience – promotion campaign for DickTool Co art   activities and available works, apart of which you have just read.



                       DickTool Co sampler video called Stadium Trash submitted to Toronto   Video Culture Festival. It was a compilation of 13 DickTool Co video pieces, about 27 minutes long and became one of the finalists in the general category.

                        DTC video reactivated at new headquarters down Jessie a few blocks.

Several pieces in post nuclear primitivism mode shot on Beta including Atonement, Human Use Committee and Lycanthropy.

DTC rental cassette available soon


                        Find dozens of b/w and colour DTC collages here.

Colour xerox now affordable and worth exploring for collage like this

8 responses to “DTC Art

  1. Karen Hanuschuk

    WOW; and I only knew you from your vintage clothing days! I certainly remember your pop-up stores as well!

    • Hi Karen. Thanks for checking out my blog. Linda and I looked at the store as an extension of our art projects except it made money. Watch the blog for info about a pop-up store on Nov. 23 which will have tons of collectibles and vintage decor items along with jewelry and a few other vintage accessories.

  2. I have one of the 35 EMU-OMU cassettes, from my mail-art days. I could never get the Post Nuclear PSAs out of my head. I never thought I would be able to find out more about who made this and here you are!
    Thank you.

  3. Karen Hanuschuk

    Thank you, Hope I can make it.

  4. I just stumbled onto your blog while doing some research on Walter Lewyc for an art project I am working on. I took a look at the DTC collages and recognized one from a print on a t-shirt that I bought from a store called If You Have to Get Dressed In The Morning, in the mid 80’s. I was fourteen and had been told about the store by a friend and something about how he described it made me bus across the city by myself to see it. The visit to the store, and the conversation I had with the owner that day, opened my eyes to a world outside of mass produced culture. That experience had a profound influence on me, my choice to become an artist, my art practice, and my fashion sense, still! Looking at the photo of you as a chid, I am sure it was you, as a young man, that I spoke with that day almost thirty years ago. So, thank you.

    • I am quite overwhelmed and humbled by your contact. Thank you Christian. Linda would also be happy that our store shone a light for you. I wish you blue skies and green lights. Reid

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