Sylvia Toy

I am an actor trained as a visual artist.
I create video art/microcinema that crosses genre into nonlinear narrative and I make performance art movies.
I was a professional actor and playwright for 17 years.
I founded Jump! Theatre Company in 2005.

I am a senior black female making art
and putting it all up in your face.
That's political.

Gallery Films - MOTInternational: Commercial Galleries from Artquest London on Vimeo.

Gallery Films is a new series of interviews with five galleries from around England that gives insight into the different ways in which exhibition spaces can operate.

Galleries can play a key role in the careers of artists, but for many reaching them appears a remote goal. Understanding how a gallery works and its priorities are the first steps in building a relationship with a space. This series of interviews interrogates 5 different models of gallery operation, identifying the commonalities and the differences in how they work and interact with artists, audiences and their contexts.

In this video MOT International director Chris Hammond talks about the gallery’s transition from artist led space to not for profit to its final operational model of commercial gallery. He describes what is particular to MOT International’s way of working and what impact this has on how they work with artists.

FICUS (first cut) from Sylvia Toy on Vimeo.

Shot on an iPhone in August in Los Angeles, approximately 4:15 p.m near Inglewood. No effects or enhancement. Audio still to be tweaked. Three continuous clips were cut up and and interwoven in Final Cut.

2226 - Storyboard from Sylvia Toy on Vimeo.

This beginning of a storyboard was compiled from footage that I’ve been collecting for the past year. Yesterday, while I was making this, I knew I was pursuing a story but I had no idea what it was. I believe in my process and trust it, and sure enough, when I woke in the middle of the night and proofed my Timeline, the premise of the story started to form in my mind.

2226 is a movie about an introverted, simple woman whose quiet life is falling apart because of circumstances beyond her control. For two and a half years, she has lived in a hotel room while working as support staff on a headline grabbing, big bucks lawsuit. She is the primary assistant to a two-attorney law practice. The attorneys are a couple who are managing to collaborate to complete their big case while at the same time, their personal relationship is falling almost violently apart.

The legal assistant, through whom the attorneys have been communicating with each other between the times they are screaming and almost coming to blows, is an almost silent witness to what is happening at the office. We really don’t know anything about her until we find out that when she is not in the office, she is constantly videoing herself and her surroundings - i.e., on the way to work, whenever she runs an errand, always. After work, when she is alone, she watches whatever she has shot that day.

Eventually, the attorneys decide they need separate spaces to work in; and the legal assistant has to split her time between the two spaces, shooting, of course, as she travels from one space to another. As her situation becomes more stressful, she feels compelled to shoot more. Gradually, because she would rather shoot than go to work, she begins to change.

Between Memory and Destiny from Maria Korporal on Vimeo.

Between Memory and Destiny - a video by Maria Korporal
with music by Globoscuro

“Your eyes saw my golem;
all the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.”
(Psalm 139 :16)

The Jewish legend of the Golem, a clay puppet that can be animated with cabbalistic powers, has been for a long time a starting point for many creative persons, from writers to film-makers, from philosophers to scientists. Many have turned it into a symbol of technology; others consider the Golem representative of modern thought in absolute, able to suit itself in different times and circumstances.
In 2001 Maria Korporal created the installation “The Eye of the Golem”, in which she defined the Golem as a symbol of modern imaginary. Now, thirteen years later, she takes up the theme again in her new video “Between Memory and Destiny”.
With the Golem, humankind tries to create a clone of itself and fill it with memory – our collective memory, which increases every instant and pretends to contain the whole human history. In the last decades digital memory has become overwhelming. Will this constant flux of in- and outgoing data influence our destiny? Can we manipulate the future with our memories? Humankind has the power to switch on and off its clones, like the Golem, cancelling the E on his body, which changes EMET, “truth”, into MET, “death” - or viceversa. When the machine is switched off, the flux of data stops, as happens in the video. And the dog in the last scene, tossing around with the monitor’s carcass, is a preview of our destiny: “Dust you are, and to dust you will return”.

music: excerpt from “The Last Call” by Globoscuro (Emiliano Pietrini and Fabrizio Barsanti)
texts: excerpts from “The World History Project” - Wikibooks
starring: dogs and people of Berlin-Neukölln, Astrid Astra Indricane, Maria (Felix) Korporal
concept, camera, animation, effects and montage: Maria Korporal
© August 2014 –

"I tuoi occhi videro il mio golem
e nel tuo libro erano scritti
tutti i giorni destinati a me
prima che ne esistesse uno.”
(Salmo 139 :16)

La leggenda ebraica del Golem, un fantoccio d’argilla che può essere animato con poteri cabbalistici, è stata da sempre un punto di partenza per molti creativi, dagli scrittori ai cineasti, dai filosofi agli scienzati. Molti lo hanno trasformato in un simbolo della tecnologia, altri considerano il Golem rappresentativo del pensiero moderno in assoluto, capace di adattarsi alle circonstanze e al tempo presente.
Nel 2001 Maria Korporal ha realizzato l’installazione “L’occhio del Golem”, in cui ha definito il Golem un simbolo dell’immaginario moderno. Ora, dopo tredici anni, ha ripreso l’argomento nel suo nuovo video “Tra memoria e destino”.
Con il Golem, l’umanità cerca di creare un clone di se stessa e riempirlo con memoria - la nostra memoria collettiva, che aumenta ogni istante e pretende di contenere tutta la storia umana. Negli ultimi decenni la memoria digitale è cresciuta in modo travolgente. Questo costante flusso di dati in entrata e in uscita influenzerà il nostro destino? Possiamo manipolare il futuro con i nostri ricordi? L’umanità ha il potere di accendere e spegnere i suoi cloni, come il Golem, annullando la E sul suo corpo, che trasforma EMET, “verità”, in MET, “morte” - o viceversa. Quando la macchina viene spenta, il flusso di dati si interrompe, come accade nel video. E il cane nell’ultima scena, giocherellando con carcassa del monitor, ci fa rendere conto del nostro destino: “Polvere sei e in polvere tornerai”.

5x5 A Project of the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities: Meet the Curators from TheDCARTS on Vimeo.

5 curators, 25 artists, 8 wards, 16 weeks, 1 cultural capital, coming fall 2014

Mayor Vincent C. Gray is pleased to join with the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) to announce sites and programming for 5x5, A Project of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. In its second iteration, 5x5 is the city’s largest public art program to date. The city’s signature public art project hosts 25 sites.

A District-wide program of contemporary, ephemeral public art, 5x5 is dedicated to ex-ploring new perspectives on our city through the lens of five curators and 25 artists. The 2014 project will begin in early September and end by December of 2014. Landmark lo-cations for artworks will include the SW Waterfront, St Elizabeths East, Kingman Island, National Gallery of Art, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Arena Stage and the Reeves Center, among others.

For more information, please go to:

2226 from Sylvia Toy on Vimeo.

Shot this on my iPhone in my hotel room at the Grand Hyatt in New York. Time was about 8:15 a.m. and as you can see, the lighting was irresistible. Will put these clips into Final Cut for more elegant editing. But I just had to see what I could do in iPhone editing software.

Sylvia Toy’s Storyboard for “The Blue Lady,” a performance art movie from Sylvia Toy on Vimeo.

This story represents the pre-production process of “The Blue Lady.”

The Blue Lady is a story is about what happened the night Master died and the relationship between two slaves in 1830 South Carolina, LaLi, Elizabeth, and The Master’s wife, their mistress, Missy.It is a period piece, which happens over the course of late afternoon into the middle of the night. The movie will be naturally lit with daylight, candles and oil lamps. The sets are simple interiors with minimal furniture. The art direction of this movie was inspired by 17th & 18th century Northern European painters and Ingmar Bergman’s “Cries & Whispers.” The dramaturg is Michael Lewis, the director of “running out,” who also co-producer & director of “The Blue Lady.”

This is a revisionist tale about slavery from a female point of view.