Science of the Quotidian
August 2 - September 16, 2007
Both science and art are about seeing. Through careful observation and scrutiny new ideas emerge, sometimes shifting our overall relationship to life and the world, or at least to the objects and events that populate it.
In Science of the Quotidian, which features work from an ongoing series by Montreal artist Christopher Flower, this dual principle is evident in suspenseful, minute events that recast commonplace objects as paradoxical and strange.
For the past five years Flower has been looking closely at the everyday, the ordinary and the banal. His studio serves as a laboratory and stage where he puts mundane objects first into boxes and then under the magnifying glass of a video camera. To make the commonplace into an aesthetic experience, Flower had to eliminate two particular aspects of everyday rawness: use and habit. With wit and ingenuity, he uses the intimate scale and time-based properties of video to transform simple items such as beer bottles, bagels, beads, eggs and soccer balls into actors in an ironic play. Each short vignette invents a dramatic moment in the life of an ordinary thing, filled with suspense and surprise and which gives these inanimate objects a kind of body language and attitude.
Each snapshot illuminates unexpected facets of the familiar - the extraordinary within the ordinary. The objects shown are real but the things are not what they seem. Unseen forces disrupt the expected conditions, infusing the objects with life and importance. Through a metaphysical shift, bottles shatter under the impact of no apparent force, a cat is trapped in an absurd vantage point, and water pours unexpectedly in the wrong direction. In carrying out these manipulations, Flower deliberately chooses the unrefined over the polished, the do-it-yourself over technical sophistication. His low-tech videos are playful, whimsical and irreverent and he dismisses the arsenal of video tricks, the digital age has made available.
Science of the Quotidian is a series of engaging mini-narratives full of visual experimentation and play that reveal the poetry and magic in the everyday.