Mr. Edison's Ear:



This video fragment and accompanying audio belongs to a broader investigation by the artists into memory, dementia and collective forgetting, the latter in particular, as tool of and response to political suppression.

The video and audio loops serve the larger inquiry as individual and found memory, the recollection of a particularly Canadian summer landscape.

The restructured video and audio images establish formal relationships that invoke diagnostic screening techniques for assessing cognitive impairment and measure spatial dysfunction. The frame, mirror and delay in this case are key to both the aesthetic and the diagnostic.

Description of Installation and Background Notes
Hemisphere consists of a 15-minute video loop rear-projected onto vellum or other translucent material with a cycling, corresponding series of audio loops. The duration of Hemisphere can vary depending on exhibition context, but would require a minimum of 1 hour with no maximum length.

Three five-minute tableaus depict a rainy Haliburton lake landscape. The first iteration is a single shot; rain falls and leaves trails on a window, a water-marker bobs up and down in the lake, trees stutter in the wind, a child in a raincoat enters and exits the frame. The second and third iterations depict the same tableau, but the mid-point of the image slowly shifts so that at the end of each five-minute cycle, the image has become a reflection or inversion of itself. This mirroring can be understood metaphorically as the rupture point of understanding or cognition. The division line (mirror) has its origins in the Clock Drawing Test, a diagnostic tool that tests right hemisphere brain functionality following a stroke. Patients are asked to draw a clock. Patients with impaired brain function will not be able to do this, often drawing the numbers 1–12 on only one side of the circle, even though they themselves see the numbers arranged correctly.

The translucent projection surface can be affixed on the back (inside) of a street-facing window or secured in a frame in a mid-point of a darkened room. The important note here is that the viewer does not see the projector or media player.

Sound consists of a series of audio loops that play alongside the projection. Audio output will vary depending on the exhibition context.

The audio loops consist of deconstructed and reconstructed spoken word, soundscape and music cassette recordings. The recordings are reconstructed or reconstituted as they pass through a configuration of delay, synth and loop pedals and finally through one or two amps so that they can be heard. If the installation occurs on one evening (as part of an event,) audio would be more “performative,” and Paul Shepherd would effect changes on the loops throughout the evening at irregular intervals. If installed in a gallery, Paul would change the loops at irregular intervals for the opening of the installation, and then go into the gallery to change and set the loops daily. The following is a list of the types of audio recordings that might be used:
A medical text describing clock drawing test
The questions that stroke patients are asked by clinicians to determine loss of cognitive ability as related to loss of function in the right hemisphere.
A piece of poetry or prose.
A piece of music.
Soundscape memory.

Please note that the above list is representative of what I would research and draw audio material from and that Paul would use as material for the final audio loops. For instance for the more authoritative texts I would search for archival audio, and if I could not find this, I would record an actor and use that recording. Poetry/prose would be political and/or historical in nature, for example the work of poet Vincente Huidobro. Soundscape would depict a childhood memory. This component would be process-oriented, and changes in audio would be a response to the exhibition context. The sounds would be altered in order to break down linear thought and meaning. We are looking to show changing sound/image relationships and respond in an alternate way to traditional and fixed filmic sound design.

Technical, Financial, Spatial Requirements

Technical and Spatial Requirements
We would (ideally) require one day to install, and one day to de-install.

We are very flexible as to exhibition context, and feel we can make a version of Hemisphere work in many spaces, with advance notice.

Please consider the following notes to the Spatial Requirements drawings:

  1. Spatial Requirement Drawing—Gallery. Drawing not to scale, approximate dimensions only. For instance a 10ft wide x 5.6ft projection requires 8ft rear-projection throw. Top and bottom of frame would be masked by the custom-built projection frame that holds the vellum. Larger image span would be optimal, but would require greater than 8ft rear-projection throw, and reduce viewing space depending on dimensions of exhibition space.
  2. Spatial Requirement Drawing—Storefront. Drawing is based on 2011 Nuit Blanche (not official) test version. During Nuit Blanche, amp was placed outside of basement window (protected by street grate) and could be heard in the street.
    Projection width: approximately 10 feet. Projector throw: approx. 8 feet
    Amp placement: exterior if possible, would depend on space and duration of exhibit.