Site-specific, real-time media performance-installation
Anna Leonowens Gallery, Halifax NS
MFA Thesis Exhibition, March 27 - April 7, 2005
Performance duration: 5 hours per day for 10 days
Project concept excerpt from MFA Thesis document, 2001:
"My goal in this project is to articulate an experiential relationship between looking, space and history. The theme of looking is addresses through some conventions of the cinema, the theme of space through the situation of the audience and the theme of history through a confrontation between documentation and detritus. What I am aiming to create is an environment suitable for short gallery visits where audience members may engage with the work as self-conscious viewers, located in a particular architectural and temporal site.
"I am interested in looking at moving image media is conditioned by the space of reception. As an artist working between traditions of contemporary visual and media arts, in this project I am proposing a synthesis of two reception models: the gallery as a stage for perambulating visitors to navigate spatial and conceptual dimensions of a work, and the cinema as a chamber for seated spectators to internalized temporal sequences and narrative structures.
"In trying to develop an intentionality to be communicated in an installation addressing these questions, I have felt the need to implicate myself in the work as a 'performer', or, more accurately, as an agent who can be understood by audience members as the cause or origin of the phenomena they experience in the gallery space. I intend this understanding not to focus on a direct expression of my personality or a persona, but on the mediated activity of an individual undertaking a particular task. The nature of this task shapes the experience of the work for the audience.
"The installation makes use of Gallery 3 and its underlying basement, which is inaccessible to visitors. The publicly accessible portion of the work, the gallery, is darkened and contains a small "cinema" with seating, sound reinforcement, a projector and a screen displaying a video signal transmitted in real time from the basement. The signal consists of images of a performative, quasi-archaeological process undertaken during Gallery hours in the basement. Concrete sound generated in the course of this process accompanies the video image.
"I have found it useful to incorporate references to archaeological activity into my practice, in order to signify - and metaphorize - the projection of a grid of rationality onto a site of investigation. The grid (understood either specifically as an orthogonal geometric figure or more generally as a regular ordering of elements) refers to systematization according to a principle outside a given object of study. Yet while I am interested in tensions between instrumentality, technology and cultural practices, I am not engaged in the normative application of a discipline (like archaeology) per se. The focus of my work is how representations are experienced in and shaped by spatial contexts."