The Power Plant Fall 2012 exhibitions

The Power Plant’s fall 2012 season explores narrative structures and constructions involving film and the media in the work of two critically-acclaimed artists Christian Marclay and Omer Fast.

Omer Fast, Continuity, 2012. Digital film, colour, sound, 40 minutes. Courtesy the artist; ARRATIA BEER, Berlin; gb agency, Paris.

Christian Marclay: The Clock 15 September–25 November, 2012
The Clock (2010) is a unique and compelling work created by world-renowned sound and video artist Christian Marclay. The work is an ode to time and cinema, and is comprised of thousands of fragments from a vast range of films that create a 24-hour, looped, single-channel video. Marclay compiled thousands of film clips of wristwatches, clock towers, sundials, alarm clocks, and countdowns, each of which illustrate every minute in a 24-hour period.

Years in the making, The Clock examines how time, plot, and duration are depicted in cinema. Although the audience can use the piece to tell the local time, viewers can experience a vast range of cinematic settings and moods within the space of a few minutes, making time unravel in countless directions and rupturing any sense of linear, narrative sequence. The work is both an homage to film history and an affirmation of our present time.

Marclay’s fascination with the collage of sound and image dates back to the late 1970s. Marclay played music with bands in underground club scenes, often using homemade instruments such as a record turntable converted into a portable electric guitar-like device. His innovative artistic practice continues to combine aural and visual sources with a keen sensibility toward complex editing, sampling and looping techniques. Marclay’s experimental work with sound, video and film has been extremely influential on a younger generation of artists for whom the idea of digital sampling and mixing recordings is now a given.

Presenting Sponsor: RBC Wealth Management

This exhibition was organized by the National Gallery of Canada.
It was purchased in 2011 with the generous support of Jay Smith & Laura Rapp and Carol & Morton Rapp, Toronto. It was jointly acquired by the National Gallery of Canada and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Support provided by: Lead Sponsors Ira Gluskin & Maxine Granovsky Gluskin and Shanitha Kachan & Gerald Sheff; Media Partner The Globe and Mail; Lead Donors Nancy McCain &
Bill Morneau; Michelle Koerner & Kevin Doyle and Eleanor & Francis Shen; and Support Donors Dr. Kenneth Montague and Keith Thomson.

Omer Fast: Continuous Coverage 15 September–25 November, 2012 Guest Curator: Melanie O’Brian
The Power Plant presents a solo exhibition of the work of Berlin-based artist Omer Fast. Fast works primarily with video to examine how individual and collective histories interact. Focusing on narrative structures and constructions, he mixes sound and image into stories that test the line between personal and media accounts of current events and history, particularly a recent history of war. The Power Plant exhibition includes three significant projects spanning the last decade that reveal his facility with, and critique of, the languages of media, cinema, documentary, and contemporary art. In his concern with the strategies of digital manipulation and perception, Fast’s work draws attention to the permeable boundaries between documentary and fiction.

Fast uses strong visual and audio narrativity, from the collage of media footage into new narratives to the layered use of material culled from recorded interviews. In CNN Concatenated (2002), begun in the aftermath of 9/11, Fast edits clips from CNN’s “talking heads” so that each word is spoken by a different newsperson. This anxious new address demonstrates the mutability of information and language. The work asks the viewer to question media authenticity and authority and addresses the audience’s experience of news, particularly the language of fear.

Five Thousand Feet is the Best (2011) relies on montage to disrupt the relationship between a narrative and its interpretation. Told between flashbacks and interviews, the work is based on conversations the artist conducted with a US Predator drone aerial vehicle operator. The drone operator agreed to discuss the technical aspects of his job and his daily routine on camera. Off the record, he briefly described recurring incidents in which the unmanned plane fired at militants and civilians in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the psychological difficulties he experienced as a result. The narratives form a circular plot that returns fitfully to the voice and blurred face of the drone pilot and to his unfinished story.

Continuity (2012) is Fast’s most recent work. Its narrative follows a contemporary middle-aged German couple reuniting with their son, a young soldier just back from service in Afghanistan. What first appears to be an emotional family reunion turns out to be a compulsive ritual enacted by the couple who hire a series of young male escorts to come home with them, spend the night and play their son. The repeated family reunions are contaminated by inexplicable events and the disappearance of each son. Ultimately, the story slips into the uncanny, the oedipal, and finally into the zombie genre.

The Power Plant
231 Queens Quay West
Toronto, Ontario
M5J 2G8 Canada

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