Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Of Interest in BlackFlash 30.3

BlackFlash 30.3 is now available to order online. It features, in its "Of Interest" section, a text I wrote about a recent exhibition by the Ottawa artist Cheryl Pagurek.

My text is a review of the exhibition by Pagurek entitled “State of Flux” which was at the Patrick Mikhail Gallery from January 9 to February 9, 2013. In the review I explore the manner in which the subject matter of Pagurek’s images, a series of still and moving images that capture a river’s flows and reflections, is paralleled by her choice of medium, digital photography, underscoring dichotomies between the natural and the artificial as well as the analog and the digital. Pagurek states that through the deployment of water imagery she intends to conflate the natural and the artificial as the fluidity of the material spills over the boundaries of a strict duality. The exhibition achieves this goal through a sequence of three components: “State of Flux,” a series of digital prints featuring close-ups of bodies of water flowing and reflecting coloured lights and architectural surfaces; “River Suite,” a print that presents twelve selected close-up views of the water in a gridded composition that contains multiple viewpoints; and “Wave Patterns,” a dynamic twelve channel video that activates a variation on the “River Suite” with motion and sound. “Wave Patterns” was screened in 2012 at Modern Fuel in Kingston and the AKA Gallery in Saskatoon as part of a program that investigated regional difference, and it was also featured in a screening called “Videos of Canada” in Toulouse, France on March 16 as part of the festival Traverse Vidéo 2013. With these new works, Pagurek is continuing a previous trajectory of work that underscored environmental concerns at the same time that she shifts the perspective towards the abstract and metaphysical. With reference to the philosophy of Heraclitus, one can’t step into the same “State of Flux” twice.

For the complete review, check out the pdf uploaded by Pagurek on her website, or get the whole issue of BlackFlash 30.3, available online and at the finest bookstores, newsstands, and libraries near you.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Happiness is...

I was both intimidated and honored by the fact that I performed as Happiness is... on the same bill with some of my favourite musicians in the Ensemble SuperMusique and Kingdom Shore for the 12th edition of Tone Deaf, Kingston, Ontario's Festival of Adventurous Sound Performance.

My Happiness Is... project takes inspiration from the Jeffersonian principle of "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness," underscored by Hannah Arendt as happiness derived from participation in the public sphere. Happiness is... satisfies my desire for such participation through public performances in front of an audience as well as through dialogue with the source material I have selected for distortion and improvisation. Noise elements indicate my neurotic discontent with the status quo, yet register as a salvo of oppositional discourse in a performative dialectic inspired by the tradition of jazz.

For Tone Deaf 12, I highlighted the political dimension of my performance by taking as its source material Prime Minister Stephen Harper's performance of the Beatle's "With a Little Help from My Friends." Through music, political antagonism is shifted to the field of agonism or play.