Action Reaction: Video Installations


Action Reaction: Video Installations
Detroit Institute of Arts
July 3, 2009 – January 3, 2010

With the advent of video as an art form, artists began to capture the fleeting interval between an action and its effect. As time-based work evolved, art was no longer confined to the tradition of stop-action records used by painting and sculpture. Action Reaction highlights five videos that examine this causal relationship and document the evolution of video over four decades.

Video pioneer Bruce Nauman (American, born 1941) explores the body in space with Bouncing in the Corner, no. 1, (1968) contending that, “… whatever I was doing in the studio was art.” In two videos made near Oaxaca, Mexico, Ana Mendieta (Cuban-American, 1948–85) records performances using gun powder, fireworks, the human form and nature. The Swiss duo Peter Fischli (born 1952) and David Weiss (born 1946), amuse and delight with their continuous motion installation using household goods in The Way Things Go (1987). Video master Bill Viola (American, born 1951) takes on issues of immortality and the conflict between human will and the autonomic nervous system in Nine Attempts to Achieve Immortality (1996).

When viewed in the context of one to another, these works pose questions about the temporal and mysterious nature of human existence.

Organized by the DIA, these installations have been generously underwritten by the Dr. and Mrs. George Kamperman Fund.

Contact 2009: Toronto Photography Festival

© Susan Dobson, Smart Centre #3, 2008

CONTACT is an annual month long festival of photography that takes place at over 200 venues across the Greater Toronto Area from May 1 – 31. As the largest photography festival in the world, CONTACT has become a premiere cultural event in Toronto with a broad range of international programming. This includes exhibitions, public installations, films, lectures, seminars and workshops. CONTACT participants, whether acclaimed international artists or local emerging photographers, exhibit in a variety of venues, from major public museums to private galleries and many alternative spaces including subway stations, billboards, the airport and city streets.

CONTACT 2009 – Still Revolution examines how each significant innovation in photography’s evolution has radically altered the creation and consumption of images, irrevocably changing the history of visual representation.

MAY 1 – 20
The DepARTment >>

Susan Dobson’s recent body of work, Retail (2008) continues her exploration of architecture and land use in the suburban landscape. In this work, she examines the makeshift nature of retail architecture and consumer culture’s dependence on the automobile. The series of large, colour inkjet prints depict franchise retail outlets set against optimistic blue skies and vast, deserted parking lots. The structures are digitally masked with an asphalt colour. The resulting large gray boxes highlight the unimaginative and provisional designs of big retail stores, while the empty lots, stripped of cars (and hence of purpose), are transformed into urban wastelands. Dobson’s images foreshadow the future of temporary architecture and of rampant consumerism during a time of economic uncertainty and growing environmental awareness. Seen within this context, writes Robin Metcalfe, “Dobson’s ghostly big-box stores glisten like a digital mirage, prescient images of a doomed landscape.” The photographs describe the future perfect – that which will have been – an ominous future, cast back in time.

exhibitions listing on CONTACT website

** if you travel into Canada, make sure that you have the proper ID.