If I Could Read Your Mind
August 25 - September 25, 2005
Christina Battle, originally from Alberta and currently working on her MFA at the San Francisco Art Institute is collaborating with Ryan Glenn a Texas filmmaker also studying at the Art Institute.
This installation, especially commissioned for the film festival, will transform the main space of the Durham Art Gallery into a pseudo-domestic interior by using props depicting various scenes associated with home and sanctuary. Film projectors and video monitors will act as beacons or devices of nostalgic reflection to mesmerise and hold the viewer. As the audience negotiates the different areas of the installation, the individual elements fall into place revealing the larger picture and posing questions on the nature of retreat, security and the associative co-ordinates of time that reinforce those feelings.
Christina Battle’s degree in Environmental Science from the University of Alberta has given her close affinity to the prairie landscape, a continuing motif throughout her work. Oil wells and buffalo, industrial and romantic icons of the prairie plains, time present and time past, symbols of a natural resource — one existence expired, the other emerging, yet both presented with a visual eloquence that underscores their contradictory nature. The paradoxical beauty of industrialization is the contradiction that Battle manipulates through the romantic lens, a seduction in which we willing engage.
Both artists hand-process film in their own labs, allowing them to manipulate and transform the image long after it has come out of the camera. This stressing, stretching and overlaying of colour significantly affects the finished product and alters the nature of the content. It is this manipulation (dunking exposed film into buckets of chemicals) that so intrigues and motivates the filmmakers, propelling them to explore colours, create blemishes and, by distorting the film surface, to further enhance and alter the nature of the projected image. A link is formed between the literal nature of the recorded image and the transformative power of the magic lantern, creating a play between the real and the illusion.
In Battle and Glenn’s work, both the literal and the abstract have an independent voice on the same movie screen. They transform the prosaic into a romantic gesture, softened and made eloquent as they review the landscape through veils and anomalies of pre-computer generated collage.