Posts tagged: video exhibition
I thought Victoria was suppose to be boring. It might still be, but I spent too much time at a board meeting that day to ever really know. The heat wave has made the morning light into a haze. It’s been nice enough in the city, but out in Tsawwassen, the haze becomes a glistening fog. The ferry trip actually reminds me of Scotland. I haven’t been reminded of Scotland in a while. Not in this way. Reflections over the water make me think back to lots of things. Like driving along Loch Ness and having to explain the Ogopogo.
I’ve never been to Victoria before, but looking around I can’t be sure if I would have remembered. We get into downtown Victoria and some ooohs and aaaahs are uttered against the passenger van window panes. I am reminded even more so of Scotland now, but in a different way than before. A saxophone is heard in the near distant and I am afraid the group is moving towards it. This is why I distrust pack traveling. But we move past the pastel-painted brick buildings that are slowly fading in its Easter egg palettes.
The group of us are here for a board meeting at Open Space Gallery and the first person I see at the top of the stairs is Deirdre. She is setting up one of multiple installations for her residency exhibition and I try to remember when was the last time I saw her. It was in Banff after all. I also finally meet Allyson, who almost immediately asks me if know of any feminist artists in Vancouver. I have to say it’s been a real lack, but I pass on the names I can think of.
Sliced daikon and candied salmon are served during the meeting and my end of the table destroys the box of Japanese cracker snacks. We are also served a lunch of breads, salads and cold cuts and it’s like we’ve never eaten before. And maybe it’s true, as it would appear everybody in the van holds down multiple jobs to survive in Vancouver. Again I hear about people moving or at least thinking about moving out to New Westminster. I look on a map and New West is East of here.
Before I can even finish chewing the most delicious coconut macaroon I have ever had, we are told we are leaving for Vancouver again in ten minutes. Deirdre quickly gives us a nine minute tour of her exhibition and I wish we were catching the later ferry. Each video work within the installation is some part of Deirdre. Through serial form, the body hers and ours are asked to negotiate a labour or a value through the spanning of time. Video still makes sense here. Here, in this space, in Victoria, or the here tied specifically to the the time, the works collectively address various entry points into the spatial dynamics of (self) intimacy. Through interstices of colour, but also through the intersticing of her own body throughout the open space, she is continually intervening back into herself. An obsession to possession. A consciousness of inside space and outside space and the relationships between.
Back in the van and onto the ferry. I get a sunburn on the sundeck. Soft serve is only good in the moment and I am thirsty in the only way thirst comes after sitting in the sun for come too long. There are balloons floating over the used car parking lot and I think fondly of the exhibition again. Balloons were gathering in corners like the day after a party.
This was honest. This was what I didn’t even know I had been waiting for. A response without a stutter. A story retold with no beginnings and no ends.
I may be new to the old, but that does not make things unfamiliar. The triggers were all too familiar. How is this all so familiar? The impossibility of perspective. The internalization of cliche. The childhood play-a-longs with or without a camera. Repetition never reveals the same. I am a sucker for neon rhythm.
I had wondered why they kept the EXIT sign visible. That was a good moment. To share a space through the screen. I have no idea why I know who the Kardashians are. The flaccid saxophone reminds me of hundreds of videos I have never seen. They have somehow taken up an allotment of space in my brain, permeating somewhere in my cortex that I never knew existed. This blew everything out of the water. This was an institutional lobotomy.
I should have gone straight home to write about this. It was unfair to see anything else after. To have conversations with those who didn’t see it. I could not look at any more video screens. There was an emptiness in the experience. To walk up to a screen, to watch it move and flicker, to stand there as if I am taking something in, when really, I should be giving something back.
There is so much to speak of that I cannot say anything. She has rifled through the archive and absorbed it. Dominated it. Someone afterwards had confused Catwoman for a Dominatrix. Or maybe I am missing the conflation? The double play. The double self. The side glance to the camera. I was always aware of the camera. I was always aware of my self.
This is only a first cut? I haven’t even processed the clay and ceramics yet. I just know this was crucial for me. Materiality is key. Singularity in a field of repetition is actually beautiful. I never use this word. I also never use the word “filmic.” It is a word to be used here. This is the extension of the moving image as a form and a history as a presence that is moving forward finally moving rushing galloping forward. Retro is not cool. Neither is suicide. Filmic is the only word to be used here. Not many works can be paired with this word. I am not sure if I have ever been content in using this word. Feminized is another term orbiting all of this. The Western Front has finally been feminized — and things have never looked better.
Isabelle Pauwels, LIKE … /AND, LIKE/YOU KNOW/TOTALLY/ RIGHT. June 8 - 10, 2012 at The Western Front