COMMUTE


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"In compensation for the perpetual neurosis of post-industrial commodification, we sympathize with the anonymous and generic commuter who is both a victim and a perpetrator of the suburban dystopia."

Ingrid Mayrhofer from exhibition essay

In our present era, the concept of commuting raises certain societal issues. How a person commutes to work is now being questioned more and more for a variety of environmental, psychological and economical factors. Over a three year period, I documented the same time of day, season after season, viewed by a commuter through the train window between Burlington and Union Station, Toronto. The installation consists of a video wall projection and four video paintings.

My recent aesthetic investigation concerns the relationship between time and perceptual memory. Time is not a linear quality, but an elastic process, when creating memory. It fascinates me to see the human body or landscape in a different "time frame" than the one in which our eyes normally observe them. Science has explained why the human mind processes some events in slow motion. If the event is new to us, part of the brain becomes more active, and lays down extra sets of memories. These memories function in a manner similar to the addition of more video frames per second. Psychological studies indicate that the more memory you have of an event, the longer you believe that it took. I use more video footage for each second in "real time" than would normally be needed, to urge the viewer to re-examine the mundane and to perceive it anew.

Another component of my recent art practice has been to examine the juxtaposition of two media that are not usually linked. I have been combining painting and video in what I have called video paintings. A looping video is physically inserted inside the painting by using a LCD television.. The development of flat screen LCD televisions posed intriguing questions about the formal properties of the two -- seemingly disparate -- media. Flat screen televisions and paintings both appear to be two-dimensional, but they suggest or project the third dimension of the “real world”. I am exploring the spatial relationships between the shapes on the painted surface and within the video imagery. I not only explore this spatial relationship within the forms, but also the spatial-temporal relationships in some of my newer video paintings. I compress seasons, while (within the same imagery) expand the time that one would normally take in examining a location. Both media are perceptual, philosophical instruments for questioning reality and exploring the way we connect with the world.

The wall projection, Journey , is a focal point in this installation. The message is a compilation of my observations but its video imagery concentrates on one unusual day in March, 2007 on my return trip from Union Station to Burlington. The usual time of this journey is about fifty-five minutes. That day, it took three hours on the train to get home due to a snowstorm. I have configured images in a nonlinear manner to express the sights and sounds from several different journeys.