Audiovisual Sketch Series | Winter 2019

Hi Gabriela! This is really, really cool, made my day! Very flattered that any of my work would be inspiration for something like this. Thanks for passing it along!

Michael DeForge wrote me an email in reaction to my film, Deer DeForge (below right) bMichael DeForge wrote me an email in reaction to my film, Deer DeForge (below right) based on one of his illustrations (below left). [1] Michael Deforge, Very Casual, Toronto: Koyama Press, 2013.

My practice has not drifted too far from my childhood hobby of creating highly decorated fan mail to send to my favourite bands. There was something about transforming the aesthetic and music of artists I admired into new work that made me feel connected to a greater force. How the intangible parts of an artwork become animate in the process of transforming into a new artwork drives my practice, as if that piece is dying when no one makes new art from it. Though I am a filmmaker, I am as influenced by mycelium networks or a box of Fruit Loops as by film. I relish in stealing from and rearranging the culture that surrounds me.

Finished’ implies the termination of development, death. I like ‘ready to be shown’ because it suggests that the sculpture could keep on growing (even if it doesn’t), and therefore respects it as a living thing.

David Altmedj [2]David Altmedj, interviewed by Robyn Jeffrey, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, January 5, 2015,  https://www.gallery.ca/magazine/artists/an-interview-with-david-altmejd, accessed on April … Continue reading

I wait for it to move, but David Altmejd’s statue The Pit is still (above left). [3]David Altmedj, The Pit, 2011, polystyrene, expandable foam, wood, epoxy clay, epoxy gel, sand, synthetic hair, resin, acrylic paint, latex paint, glass eye, Musée d’Art Comtemporain de Montréal, … Continue reading Something about the repetition of limbs, implied liquid or malleable textures, the fragmented bodies implies movement. Rather than wait for the sculptor, I will animate it myself. Translating The Pit from sculpture into film was going to be my main thesis, until I noticed the pattern of this process in my work, such as with Deer DeForge and a pattern between the types of cultural products that entice me like, like with Espace Go’s 2013–2014 season posters (above right) [4] Marc-André Rioux, Isabelle Allard et al, Théâtre Espace Go — Saison 2013–2014, Ad campaign, Montreal: Cosette, 2013.

One week is not the time frame I had in mind for such a project, but Mark’s sketch of a wooden frame with the camera attached to one end makes me think it’s possible. My seething in class earns me an extra week. Sunday morning, we go to Home Depot, build the frame and shoot. I was able to reserve the black gallery room to shoot on Monday. I bring fancy matcha cookies and croissants for my two assistants and models. Everyone else joins with beers following our afternoon class. Things get out of hand as we film mouths from up close. The following week I layer the ingredients, taste the results, rinse and repeat.

#1 Spaghetti Face

Can I recreate this sense of attraction? Big Kids by Michael Deforge (again) [5]Big Kids, Michael Deforge, Drawn & Quarterly, Montreal, 2014
Click image to go to video

We dropped spaghetti onto a mask at the end of a long cubic frame with a camera at the other end. I switched the mask for a face and layers different shots of the spaghetti. As they hover over the face there is a tension and yearning. I would love to do this with a slow motion camera to lengthen the landing, though it’s unclear to me whether it’s the tension or the landing that is most important.

#2 Ghost Shirt

Click image to go to video

A dissonance of movement between the strings of this old costume shirt and the dancing legs is emphasized by the digital glitches created in the compositing of the two. The effect is joyful and uncanny.

#3 Inside Out Face

I copy the effect of light in the mouth from Laurie Anderson’s O Superman video and play it against the eyes on black from an old project and the extreme close-up of taste buds on a tongue to create a face of sorts. I’m disappointed to discover that it reminds many of the Têtes a Claques, but I still don’t hate it.

#4 Bubble Face

Full boday intermediate
Head Intermediate

I imitate the Espace Go posters using the same oil and balsamic vinegar to create a mask, as I did in both Dinos are Not Dead and Deer DeForge.  I film my colleague’s faces moving at a designated angle every minute from three cameras to create an intermediate. The final result is closest to the inspiration image and the intermediates are a discovery in their own rights.

#5 Arms

I try to imitate the arm from David Altmejd’s The Pit. It turns into something else with it’s own appeal. It’s closer to Norman McClaren’s Pas de Deux, but the digital tools permit irregular time and size manipulations. Can I integrate this with other body elements? What’s missing?

Imitating the double arm in the top right corner from David Altmedj – The Pit
Norman McClaren – Pas de deux

#6 Fire Hands

I want a head for the floating eyes and teeth lights from #3 Inside Out Face. My hand jerks in and out of a black frame, then I layer the clip. Layered. It’s not a head, it’s better than that. When I layer this fire hand against itself and it turns into electricity.

Sound and Installation

Can I translate the images into sound the same way I translate still images into moving images?

When I present my work two weeks later, I hand over feedback sheets asking about the sounds they imagined to avoid obvious directions. The pieces are well received. I’m told they are beautiful, which rubs me wrong. I want the sound to emphasize the uncanny and discomfort. 

AM DeVito responds to my call for collaborators in the electroacoustics department with whom I learn, exchange and play. We record the sound of pasta, crunching celery onto which they sprinkle Ableton magic and bake it into #4 Bubble Face and #5 Arms.

I repeated my layering process from the #6 Fire hands, with varied sounds like frying bacon, hands rubbing, glass edge rubbing against guitar strings, biting into a pear. 

“So where do you plan on exhibiting these?” I didn’t. These were meant to be tests with many loose ends that bugged me. However they were well received. Not sure what to do with them, so l collected these three audiovisual sketches together and threw it on the internet.

Stratum | Three Audiovisual Sketches | 7 mins | Dec 2019

Many saw these as life sized or bigger than life installations, so I got special permission to borrow three projectors at once and play around with them to see what would happen.

The projections made it hard to walk around without covering the images. The size did not change my relationship to the image as I hoped it would. I became more aware of the gallery than the content of my projection. After a while, I questionned why I was here since it did not feel like play.

I hated it.

References

References
1 Michael Deforge, Very Casual, Toronto: Koyama Press, 2013.
2 David Altmedj, interviewed by Robyn Jeffrey, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, January 5, 2015, 
 https://www.gallery.ca/magazine/artists/an-interview-with-david-altmejd, accessed on April 26, 2021
3 David Altmedj, The Pit, 2011, polystyrene, expandable foam, wood, epoxy clay, epoxy gel, sand, synthetic hair, resin, acrylic paint, latex paint, glass eye, Musée d’Art Comtemporain de Montréal, Montreal, https://flux.macm.org/en/the-gallery/the-pit/, accessed on December 1, 2020.
4 Marc-André Rioux, Isabelle Allard et al, Théâtre Espace Go — Saison 2013–2014, Ad campaign, Montreal: Cosette, 2013.
5 Big Kids, Michael Deforge, Drawn & Quarterly, Montreal, 2014

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