Between Time and Space
Curated by Philippe Maurais
Between Time and Space presents the work of six emerging artists – Josh Avery, Michael Graham, Adrianne Kulling, Galen Scorer, Nicholas Stedman and Mary-Anne Wensley – each of whom uses computer, electronic or mechanical media to explore the question of presence in a world increasingly shaped by new technologies.
The exhibition centres on the dialectical relationship between the more traditional world of three-dimensional sculpture and the newly dimensional world of virtuality, with its mechanical displacement of the body. The artists use electronic, mechanical and computerized technologies to remind us of the interconnectedness of the new world of displaced time and space with the corporal world we conventionally identify with the notion of presence. Their works place the viewer's body sometimes in juxtaposition and sometimes in alignment with the postures and forms of inhabitation suggested by new media. This process of involvement not only draws attention to the terms of interactivity, it also encourages an appreciation of the relationship between visual and physical experience.
Mary-Anne Wensley and Galen Scorer both take medical technologies and apply them to (or expand them into) the world of art-making. Wensley’s work is based on therapeutic practices developed to calm autistic children and adults. People with autism often find the human touch unbearable, but researchers have found that they can be calmed by the gentle cradling of constructed machines. Wensley has experience, created art out of this scientific insight, and her work is all about the body, the tactile and the healing power of touch. Scorer also uses medical technology to remind us of what we share with the machine. In this piece, electricity from the visitor's muscle tension controls an image on a computer screen. The screen, in turn, transfers its static charge when subjected to human touch. Both human and machine are connected symbiotically. Playing with the tension between the real and the virtual, as the virtual image act presented on the screen mimics the movements of the body, the work involves the visitor in questions about the contact point between body and machine and the nature of this exchange.
Josh Avery and Michael Graham both mix real-time video feed and computer-manipulated video projections to directly confront the questions of how the body occupies space and how images shape our experience of time. Avery’s video monitors juxtapose "real" time and space with an artificial scenario created through new media. The shadowy figure that passes through the monitors invokes the "ghost in the machine," and re-presents advancements in contemporary form and older debates about the very humanity of technological. Graham’s work proposes a stimulating mix of ideas, one of the more obvious of which is the mediating function of computers in the representation of the real. A real-time video feed of a burning candle is stored within a computer. One frame at a time is dropped from the feed, and the newly recomposed video loop is projected behind the large column that houses the candle. The placement of both the real candle and the projected image of a candle forces the viewer to chose his or her point of view. Like Avery, Graham uses new media to ask longer-standing questions about the body and the soul.
In the case of Nicholas Stedman and Adrianne Kulling, each work is an exercise in patience. Both works unfold slowly, juxtaposing the speed of the natural world with the speed of technology. Stedman’s computer performs calculations at an incredible speed, but is controlled by the painfully slow process of aging wine, itself one of the most enduring symbols of the interface between the human and the spiritual in the Christian world. Kulling’s venetian blinds mimic the blink of the eye, and in her piece sight itself is slowed to a crawl. Her work utilizes projected light to construct a voyeuristic situation in which the viewer’s body occupies the twin positions of observer and the observed.
The six emerging artists represented in Between Time and Space invite you to participate in the dialogue they have begun.