You Were an Amazement on
the Day You Were Born is a visually rich
film that follows a woman through a life characterized by damage and loss, but
in which she finds humor, love, and joy. With a score that follows the span of
Lenore’s life, from her birth in the early 70s to her death in the 2040s, the
film takes us from moments of harrowing loss to those of poignancy and dark
humor. Her life is told through voice over, narrated by performers who
range in age from nine to sixty-nine, and is beautifully illustrated with
images of animals (including humans), insects and landscapes.
Film theorist Eli Horwatt writes “You Were an Amazement… conveys how the
human animal’s ineluctable death drive can be the source of both profound
comedy and tragic cruelty. In the many stories relayed across this short but
voluble film, viewers are invited into an intimate identification with the
experiences of marginalized others.”
Featuring Becca Manley, who played Shelly in Clio Barnard’s The Selfish Giant, Barbara Woodford in Shane Meadows’ This is England 86, 88 and 90 and Mary in the recent adaptation of PK Dick’s Electric Dreams for BBC Channel 4.
An exhibition at Argos Center for Art and Media Jan-April 2018.
At Argos the exhibition combines two new monumental groups of works. In the video Something Wonderment, made in collaboration with Vashon Watson, the artists explore the notion of wonder, asking questions about the relationship between the visceral sensations we associate with that concept. These include awe, disgust, and the powerful but oft-disparaged feelings derived from the cute and the cliché.
They interrogate the relationship between wonder and religion, asking if the former is a function of the latter or if the latter is a way to contain the former. Using animation, song, macro photography and micoscropy, the work invites the viewer into a world of magic and science, of empathy and revulsion, of humor and heartbreak.
The eponymous new interactive multimedia installation rounds out the exhibition. On a table there are two microscopes that enable the viewer to investigate various objects and organisms – bones, mosses, crystals, bacteria. The devices are connected to projectors that show the objects greatly enlarged.
In relation to this there are six sculptures: dioramas composed of geological crystals, minerals, and small animal remains such as whiskers, bones or feathers. As they have done with earlier works, in the exhibition, the artists draw reflexive parallels between human society and the animal kingdom.
“Bone collector Maxine Rose, a 14 year old teenage girl, is looking for validation from her heroes, amongst them the primatologist Jane Goodall, bishop Desmond Tutu and the New Zealand teen pop Star Lorde. Offering them a gift of language, Maxine Rose stands for the desire to be visible and understood, not unlike the desire of an artist. We are particularly impressed by the multilayered story telling structure, the freshness of the characterization, and the honest exploration of an artists` vulnerability."
These are some images from our exhibition Always Popular, Never Cool, which was on display this fall at the Markham Museum, a twenty-five-acre pioneer village housing thirty centuries-old structures. Our piece was part of a huge project called “Land/Slide: Possible Futures“, curated by the astonishingly smart and generous Janine Marchessault, who previously co-curated The Leona Drive Project, as well as Museum for the End of the World at last year’s Nuit Blanche. Janine also teaches at York University.
Our project is a diorama depicting a sexual assault at a middle-schoolers’ house party, which is interrupted by a kind of feral-child superhero called Ardath, who bursts upon the scene clad in animal skins and riding a coyote. It has been written about here:
The literary post-punk short movies of Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby have been tearing up the festival/gallery circuit for the past fifteen years with their blend of bedroom pop, perverse animations, and hopes for fame. In this collection of award-winning scripts, creative writings, and critical missives, scholars, video legends, and animal experts—including Steve Reinke, Sarah Hollenberg, Akira Lippit, and Tom Sherman—weigh in on why these movies matter.