Ann Hamilton

ART:21: Your work has often been described as ‘installation art.’ Could you talk about what an installation is and what it means to you, personally, to work in this way?

HAMILTON: I think the form, for me, of working in installation is one that always implicates you actively within it. So that unlike an object, which we are very comfortable standing outside of and looking at, to work in installation is to work in relation to a particular place and all of the confluences and complexities of whatever it is that creates that (space). And so, as a viewer, to come in, it’s the experience the minute you cross the threshold: it’s the smells, it’s the sounds, it’s the temperature, it’s how all of those things have everything to do with the felt quality of ultimately what the thing becomes. I started in weaving, in textiles. I think that my first hand is still a textile hand in some ways, but I was very dissatisfied with the flatness that things actually had when they were done. It seemed like they were dead in some ways. And working, for me, in the form of installation in the way that I have, it’s that you’re coming in and you’re in some instances animating the space, and the process is often very social; for me, that part of it is very satisfying. There’s a way that it (the installation) has an ongoing life as it meets the public. Every moment that it’s up it’s different. It’s different from moment to moment, and somehow it’s that live time that’s just a factor of the form really, or something that is characteristic or inherent in the form is something that makes it continually interesting for me. It’s like there’s no real repetition in that time. Every day you’ll come in and every day it may be the same, seemingly, but within that there’s a difference and it’s only…I don’t know, I guess it allows that to be experienced and to be felt and registered.

ART:21: And there’s also the way in which installations are impermanent, being specific to a particular place and time.

HAMILTON: Well, certainly. It’s almost like the attitude about this space is not necessarily to alter it or deny it or erase it in any way, but to make present something that’s always here, make it more experienceable, perhaps. And part of that is its live time, and so the duration of that time means that it’s ephemeral in this form here. I don’t think it means that it can’t be reinstalled or have another iteration, but that will always be different. The experience of it will be different because of all the factors that actually give this the atmosphere that it has; it won’t be there in another situation or context. I suppose it is that live quality that is the thing that keeps it animate for me. You know, it’s that it’s never quite fixed, and so I don’t really think that it’s ultimately ephemeral. I mean, I feel like the video could be installed in a lot of different ways, and could take on different layers of meaning depending on whatever context it goes into. But it will only be like this once.

Ann Hamilton’s work is a unique blend of performance, photography, video, textiles, and sculpture. Best known for her sensual, environmental installations, Hamilton’s work often combine sensory elements of sound, taste, smell and touch. She is as interested in verbal and written language as she is in the visual, and sees the two as related and mutable elements.

Ann Hamilton is featured in the Season 1 episode “Spirituality” of the Art21 series “Art:21 — Art in the Twenty-First Century”.

Learn more about Ann Hamilton: http://www.art21.org/artists/ann-hamilton

Artist Website here: www.annhamiltonstudio.com

Kelly Richardson


Mining the aesthetics of cinema and science fiction, The Erudition presents a lunar-esque looking landscape with what appears to be an unlikely monument or proposal, consisting of holographic trees blowing in fictional wind. Is this slightly malfunctioning display a forgotten site for proposed colonization? Better yet, is this some kind of alien artwork?

“Richardson’s contribution to the genre is both a technical virtuosity and a nerdy ambivalence that doesn’t critique our mediated world so much as take it as a given. As trees flicker and crackle in and out of frame, there’s a sense of a very distant future trying, in its techno-sterile way, to recreate virtually something it never actually knew. Richardson produces a future-world that was, now not so much remembered as stored in the dull chill of a multi-terabyte hard-drive: gone, forgotten, but forever clickable.” Murray Whyte, Toronto Star

Supported by the Southern Alberta Art Gallery Intersection Residency Program

“Equal parts sci-fi myth and forest fable, dreamy nocturne and dazzling special effect—Kelly Richardson’s Twilight Avenger begins with a fairytale-worthy image of a misty, moonlit forest clearing inhabited by a majestic stag who emanates a luminous green vapour. Quietly grazing amidst the ambient chatter of other forest dwellers (the hoot of an owl may portend an imminent threat) our protagonist occasionally rears his head, shifting his gaze towards us.

Like much of Richardson’s work, Twilight Avenger poses multiple questions amidst its calculated ambiguities. The scene is at once visually convincing and obviously synthetic, peaceful and disquieting, shifting between stillness and action. As the scene unfolds, questions remain whether the protagonist is some sort of forest sentinel, as the title implies, or perhaps a victim of a man-made mishap.

Ultimately, Richardson leaves such questions unanswered, leveraging our belief in the visual document with the evocative power of the imaginary. Through painstaking application of digital effects to documentary images (Richardson filmed the deer and landscape elements in Canada and England respectively) she invites us to question the integrity of images and asks viewers to consider our increasingly mediated relationship with nature.” Matthew Suib, Screening Gallery

Supported by ISIS Arts

Leviathan, a high-definition triple-channel video by Richardson, is a 20-minute loop of footage shot on Caddo Lake in Uncertain, Texas. The video displays the area’s indigenous bald cypress trees in their swamp environment. However, Richardson digitally enhances the composite image by color grading the water with undulating ribbons hued a glowing yellow green and replacing expected nature sounds with an ominous soundtrack. Utilizing the format of a triptych, the landscape is presented from a single vantage point, like a painting set into motion.

Richardson’s manipulation of the video suggests several foreboding plot lines: the birth of primordial life, the emergence of an evil aquatic creature, or a post-apocalyptic Earth. The title itself (Leviathan) alludes to several textual references including a serpent sea monster from the Bible who is the gatekeeper to hell, Thomas Hobbes’s 1651 philosophical treatise, and a 1989 sci-fi film of the same name. These references become particularly relevant in the wake of environmental atrocities including the 2010 BP oil spill and, most recently, the earthquake and impending threat of nuclear disaster in Japan. Employing postmodern intertexuality, Richardson draws on the tradition of Leviathan as myth and metaphor encouraging the viewer to meditate on the possibilities of the implied narrative.”

Kelly Richardson Recognised as one of the leading representatives of a new generation of artists working with digital technologies to create hyper-real, highly charged landscapes, Kelly Richardson has been widely acclaimed in North America, Asia and Europe. Recent one person exhibitions include Dundee Contemporary Arts, SMoCA, CAG Vancouver, VOID Derry, Naturhistorisches Museum Wien and a major survey at the Albright-Knox. Her work was selected for the Beijing, Busan, Canadian, Gwangju and Montréal biennales, and major moving image exhibitions including the The Cinema Effect: Illusion, Reality and the Moving Image at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington, USA). Her video installations have been included in the Toronto International Film Festival as part of Future Projections (2012), Sundance Film Festival in New Frontier (2011 and 2009) and in 2009, she was honoured as the featured artist at the Americans for the Arts National Arts Awards.

Richardson’s work has been acquired into significant museum collections across the UK, USA and Canada, from the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, SMoCA and Albright-Knox Art Gallery to the National Gallery of Canada, Art Gallery of Ontario, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Arts Council Collection (England) and the Towner.

Kelly Richardson was born in Burlington, Ontario, Canada in 1972. From 2003-2017 she resided in north east England where she was a Lecturer in Fine Arts at Newcastle University. She currently lives and works as a visitor on the traditional territory of the WSANEC peoples of the Coast Salish Nation on Vancouver Island, Canada. She is Associate Professor in Visual Arts at the University of Victoria.

http://kellyrichardson.net

CHANTAL AKERMAN

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D’Est, 1993: 25 channel video installation, 16mm film (color, sound), Walker Art Center

To Walk Next to One’s Shoelaces in an Empty Fridge, 2004 is an enigmatic two part video installation that traces the content of Akerman’s maternal grandmother’s adolescent diary, a rare document of considerable age, miraculously discovered after she perished at Aushwitz. Camden Arts Centre, London UK


Interview


“La chambre” (1972) Chantal Akerman