SAW Video Media Art Centre presented the second exhibition to take place in our Knot project space, All Things Being Equal – a group show featuring new works in video, sound and sculpture by Phil Rose (Ottawa), Mara Eagle (Montreal), Anna Queen (Maine), and Henry Andersen (Brussels). The artists each explored a specific method of assembly in which bulk amounts of materials are accumulated, measured out, organised, and committed to a predetermined sequence. Through methodologies propelled by the momenta of obsession, empathy, pleasure, and humour, vast streams of image and sound emerge, presenting strangely gripping taxonomies of everyday ‘things’. Installed together in the space, their collective rhythm both encouraged and sustained states of drift, rumination, and play.
Phil Rose’s(Un)Stills project was diligently accumulated over the course of 2017, during which the artist committed to a weekly schedule of shooting one minute of static video footage in and around Ottawa. The imagery ranges from patient studies of the deeply banal to hypnotic visual textures. Assembled here as a 52-minute sequence, a wandering montage emerges that strings together incongruous moments separated by the interval of a week.
Positioned in the opposite corner of the room is an edit of Mara Eagle’s ongoing project Spherical Awakening, which moves at a comparatively quickened pace. Through obsessively examining and capturing the behaviours of spherical objects (tennis balls, bubbles, the biosphere, the moon) Eagle’s absurdist field research sets in motion an unending, rolling supercut of all things round, where the comical and the cosmic collide.
Centrally located in the room is Henry Andersen’s alliterative sound composition Stanzas, or the Law of the Good Neighbour - the result of a private word game that the artist has been playing for several years. Unfettered by sense Unfettered by sense and syntax, a chain reaction of linguistic pleasure is unleashed, where words come to coexist based purely on the relation of their sonic affinities. The expansive two-hour edit of the work, installed here as a clustered PA system, features five performances in which Anderson has directed close friends to read sections of his list in near-perfect unison.
Similarly propelled by both the tangential and the relational is Anna Queen’s site-specific sculptural response, A Sense of the Room. Incorporating preexisting materials of the project space itself (grey linoleum tile, fluorescent lights, grid pipes used to hang projectors, and orange extension cables used to power them), Queen spent three days in the room pushing these materials into different configurations, in search of zones of excess where their utility stretches into the absurd. Her corner piece, I don’t know, a video both performed and displayed on an iPhone, isolates the device’s predictive text algorithm, causing it to fold over onto itself and sustaining an infinitely affirmative refrain: you can do it for you and you can do it for you and…
Text by Neven Lochhead
Phil Rose has been active in the Ottawa/Gatineau media arts community for over twenty years. His single-channel videos, installation work and photography has been exhibited in Canada and internationally. From 2007-16 he was the video technician at the Centre de production Daïmõn (Gatineau) working with a diverse group of artists on various aspects of video projects. He has served on the Boards of Saw Video and Daïmõn and was the Coordinator of the Available Light Screening Collective for more than fifteen years. As owner of Cinetronic he has worked with media artists, arts and non-profit organizations and documentary producers in a variety of production-related areas.
Mara Eagle is an artist who works in image, video, sound, kinetic sculpture, speech, performance and repetitive motions. She is an MFA candidate at Concordia University, and the recipient of an Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation award. Her work has been exhibited across Canada and the United States. Her work explores processes of ‘emptying things out’, melancholy, the conspiracy of pattern (spheres), palindromes, the dissolution of meaning into form, tracing facsimiles to induce erasure, computer vision, digital voices, voyeurism, translation and metaphor.
Anna Queen (b.1990) is an interdisciplinary artist working in sculpture and video. She graduated in 2013 from Maryland Institute College of Art earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics. Anna has been a Resident Artist at Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Vermont Studio Center, and The Banff Centre. Her work has been shown at Firecat Projects, Chicago, FAB LAB DC, The Clay Studio in Philadelphia, and Page Bond Gallery. In 2015 she was a participant at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She currently lives and works in Rockland, Maine.
Henry Andersen (AU, °1992) is an artist whose projects typically centre on written text and evolve through open-ended collaborations with friends. Andersen is interested in poetry, architecture, and erotica. He has presented work in a number of festivals, exhibitions, and other platforms including kunstenfestivaldesarts (BE), La Loge (BE), Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (AU), ZKM-Karlsruhe (DE), Damien and the Love Guru (BE), Beurrschouwburg (BE), and the 2017 Pune Biennale (IN). He recently released a record of spoken text, Stanzas or the Law of the Good Neighbour, with the Belgian label KRAAK. Henry is a founding member of the Slow Reading Club, with Bryana Fritz.
Neven Lochhead (b. 1991) is an artist and curator working with video, sound and performance. He draws from the traditions of durational moving image practices, the employment of text-on-screen in early video art, and the compositional strategies of minimal music to generate states of viewing and listening that sustain the potential for commitment and collectivity. In 2016, Lochhead completed his MFA in Art Video from Syracuse University under the guidance of Tom Sherman, Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby. Residencies include the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine (2015) and Tacita Dean's Artist Research Laboratory in Como, Italy (2016). Recent activity includes a collaborative video project It Filled Our Minds Completely (2018) with artist and writer Gary Kibbins, a commissioned video and text for Modern Fuel's Syphon publication about artist-run culture (2017), and shooting and editing Tanya Lukin Linklater’s video installation The Treaty Is In The Body, commissioned by the Winnipeg Art Gallery (2017). Since January 2017, Lochhead has worked as Director of Programming at SAW Video Media Art Centre in Ottawa, where he curates exhibitions, performances, lectures and discussions by artists working in time-based arts.