Curated by Channon Goodwin and featuring Candice Cranmer | Alister Karl | Ngaio Parr | Claire Robertson | Catherine Sagin | Kate Woodcroft
Boxcopy opens their new space in Metro Arts with an exhibition that takes a closer look at the video medium with an aim of revealing its limitations in capturing real life experiences.
Lossless represents the work of young local and national artists who strive to capture on video all those elusive qualities of experience — the atmosphere of a moment or the essence of a scene — that are often lost when the medium is played back. With video works comprised mostly of rather lengthy, often fixated and repetitive shots, each artist manages to hold onto an aspect of a scene or moment of experience that had caught their attention during filming and by doing so expose the limits of the video medium and its capacity to recreate the ambience of the original event.
Ngaio Parr’s work entitled Zealot (2007) documents a live music performance from within the throng of dedicated fans with a video camera on a mobile phone. Surprisingly, the low quality of the video image does little to obscure the exaltation experienced by the zealous audience who finally encounter the object of their obsession. Instead, the pixilation accentuates the surface of the video image, capturing something of the sensation likely felt by those at the concert. The swirling, pulsating picture that is accompanied by a soundtrack of the screaming crowd conveys the hazy experience of an individual who has lost their own identity within the crowd of rowdy fans.
The concern for the quality of content over the quality of the image continues with Performance Drawing (2008), a work by Fiona Mail the pseudonym for collaborators Kate Woodcroft and Catherine Sagin. This video work presents a process of synchronised drawing in which both artists attempt to draw at the same time either the figure two or zero, alluding to the concept of duality and circularity. There is an unpalatable degree of frustration with the agility of the body, the lack of its control, while undertaking tasks of such precision, which is expressed particularly by the obtrusive sound of the pen moving over the surface of the wooden desk.
Literally piercing through meditative tone of the works discussed so far is Candice Cranmer’s video work entitled Drill (2008). This work shows an electrical drill boring through a piece of wax. The video concentrates on the moment of rupture, which is drawn out to the point that the process becomes stationary. The black hole produced by the drill making its way through the wax plays on the perception of the surface of the wall on which this work is projected.
The issue of perception is also important for Claire Robertson whose work Narrative (2008) documents the interior of her home. By using irregular angles that distort the spaces of the home and employing subdued lighting during recording, Robertson explores the relationship between the perception of real space, the viewer’s idea and memory of an average home, and the image captured with video.
The work of Alistair Karl, entitled just a little truck (2008), disrupts a rather somber tone of exhibition with the note of humor. Finding it comical, the artist filmed the actions of two construction workers busily moving dirt around the site with a mechanical earth mover. In the true burlesque tradition, the comical nature of the image has been amplified further by the seriousness and formality of the classical music soundtrack employed in the video. By documenting the futile activities of construction men, Karl seems to point to the futility of artistic effort, thus ending the exhibition on a more reflexive note.
At the end of the show the viewer is left with an impression that any likely loss of an elusive experience might perhaps be less important than the realisation of this loss, which led these young artists to and through the process of scrutiny of the medium they decided to use.
by Raymonde Rajkowski