detail from Untitled Five (Emma Hart and Benedict Drew), ICA London, 2008.Ã‚Â Image from www.benedictdrew.com.
No longer the itinerant blogger, I wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t let a cold keep me away from Images, or covering whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s on deck this week here.Ã‚Â Already the Festival has wowed me; IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve taken in Shirin Neshat’s beautifully textured film Women Without Men and the opening night gala screenings, but IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll cover those events in a later post.
Last night’s presentation of Emma Hart and Benedict Drew’s Untitled Seven at MOCCA (a co-presentation with my local fave Pleasure Dome) was a sight and sound for sore ears (or at least a pair that rarely left a pillow all week.)Ã‚Â In the centre of the darkened gallery on a low platform, Drew and Hart haphazardly fused together pieces of A/V equipmentÃ¢â‚¬â€slide and film projectors, lights, camerasÃ¢â‚¬â€and musical instruments into quick, ingenious kinetic works.Ã‚Â Among them, a slide projector with radiating zip ties fastened to the carousel softly struck tiny wind chimes while projecting stark white light through them.Ã‚Â A stack of front-loading DVD players goofily prodded the keys of a toy organ, playing a minor chord with their ejecting drawers.Ã‚Â Light from another projector glinted off a steel triangle being rapped repeatedly by an unidentified whirlygig.Ã‚Â More zip ties fastened to a rotating disco light brushed against the pickups on an electric guitar prone on the floor.Ã‚Â A projector with a loose reel of film thumping a snare propped up in front of the lens provided a filtered glow to hastily write notes by.Ã‚Â Individually miked through a sound system, their improvised sound grew steadily to a cacophonous din, and then over the course of 30 minutes or so, eventually settled back down to silence again.
Hart and DrewÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s performance exalted rather than muffled the sounds of their Ã¢â‚¬Å“instrumentsÃ¢â‚¬Â internal mechanics: the click of a rotating slide projector, the hum of a motor.Ã‚Â The chugging and buzzing A/V equipment alone was already an ecstatic polyrhythm of raw, analog sound composed of varying frame rates.Ã‚Â In the Cageian manner, all this sound is music, albeit an improvised, sometimes dissonant sort.Ã‚Â Combined with coloured lights and the accoutrements of any standard musical outfitÃ¢â‚¬â€channeling the sexiness of the ultimate jam band perhapsÃ¢â‚¬â€Untitled Seven was an enjoyable performance that was also a playful reexamination of structuralist film strategies.Ã‚Â Although I couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t see them at first, tiny cameras hidden inside some of the instrumentsÃ¢â‚¬â€including a gleefully noisy high hatÃ¢â‚¬â€recorded the procession of spectators strolling around the platform.Ã‚Â The live feed was projected on the walls of the gallery, and was sometimes interrupted by the instrumentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s function.Ã‚Â The up-down movement of the high hat created an aperture that emulated a cinematic stutter but peppered with causal 21st century digital noise.Ã‚Â Smart.
For those who missed the performance, Hart and DrewÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s set-up will remain up at MOCCA for the rest of the Fest.Ã‚Â Also, do check out their respective websites for additional documentation of earlier, related performances here and here, among other works.Ã‚Â LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hope they come back to Toronto soon.
Although the day promises to deliver the sun weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been missing all weekend, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be perversely sitting inside the theatre at Workman Arts for back-to-back screenings all afternoonÃ¢â‚¬â€On Screen 2: Eliminate or Minimize. Substitute. and On Screen 3: Disembodied Bodies pts. I and II.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been looking forward to both all week.