lights camera sound actions | time-based contemporary art

Projecting Want

In Uncategorized on November 22, 2010 at 11:37 am

photos: Bethany Scholl

I showed Projecting Want on October 15, 2010 at the 5th annual James St. Night of Art presented by the St. Catharines and Area Arts Council. I founded the event and it is one of the legacies of my years in the trenches in cultural development in St. Catharines.

For some foolish reason I did not take my camera and last week picked up these images courtesy of the St. Catharines and Area Arts Council – no long shot, too bad. I had some nervousness about the quality of the projector after news that the best projector in town was not available and was thrilled with the outcome. Many thanks to the volunteers who helped with set-up. The projection surface was a 3 storey high brick exterior wall on the vacant lot that was once the site of the Russell Hotel. I shared the site with a young artist, Tracey van Oosten. It was beside the all-ages nightclub, L3, and when I arrived on site I appeared to be interrupting a drug deal.

Projecting Want is yet another iteration of Want and I really like to see the piece morph along in different expressions that engage audience in different ways. You can track its progress on this blog – it started as a participatory, performative installation on the street, carried out 3 times in different downtown locations, culminating in a street audio installation (severely compromised by available resources). Then I postered the text on downtown kiosks. I had hoped to mount a larger-scale version of postering but this did not (yet?) come to pass. Now the video projection.

I took the 90 recorded responses to the question, “What do you want?”, and entered the text in iMovie. Each faded in and out at varying durations, most 6″. I was interested to notice how different outdoor projection “time” is to computer screen “time” – the outdoor begged for a slightly more luxurious duration. I enjoyed playing with rhythm and duration while editing the piece which I mostly did on the train commuting from work.

I would like to find opportunities to continue this type of work; interacting with the public in public places about defining, personal content and playing it back to them in different media. I was pleased that at least a few people at James St. Night of Art remembered participating in 2009 and saw their own desire projected – I wonder if anyone’s desire had been met? (That’s actually the first time I have substituted the word “desire” for “want” and I have mixed feelings about its desireability, ha ha.) I liked that projecting the wants reflects the idea that all of our desires are projections; this continues the core of my interest in the question to begin with – which is that wanting is the basis of the human condition. To be alive as a human is to want, to desire, even if only for a next breath. Wanting is an expression of being alive and its conundrum is deepened in our consumerist society.

  1. I like this work so very much. Yes, desire and want are both such loaded words, full of meaning(s); colloquially used interchangeably
    but they are different. Thank you for this art piece.

  2. Thank-you dear Lady Justice. I am so glad.

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