The students that are part of Marcus Miller’s Exhibition Technique class have taken over the Snelgrove this week in an interesting exhibit titled PAUSE.
Based around the notion that the modern white cube gallery is a void zone that is separate from time, place, and the outside world. Inside the gallery participants have a chance to pause: to step back from busy life, slow down, and reflect. By taking a pause, people often feel invigorated, gain fresh perspectives and notice little details that they’d usually miss. The Snelgrove Gallery’s press release introduces the show eloquently:
Gordon Snelgrove closed his eyes for a moment…
THE WORLD OUTSIDE IS CHAOS.
IT’S FOCUSED ON SPEED AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS. ANY PLACE
CAN BECOME A PLACE OF PAUSE. A PLACE WHERE TIME SLOWS
DOWN AND EVERYDAY EXISTENCE BECOMES UNCANNY. A
PAUSE IS A TEMPORARY STOP: A PERIOD OF TIME IN WHICH
SOMETHING IS STOPPED BEFORE IT IS STARTED AGAIN. IT’S A
TEMPORARY INACTION, ESPECIALLY AS CAUSED BY
UNCERTAINTY. STEP AWAY, PULL BACK – IT CAN BE UNDONE;
THE ACTION CAN RESUME AT ANY MOMENT. IT DEPENDS ON
WHEN AND WHERE IT’S USED. I LIKE USING IT AS A REST
(BECAUSE I AM JUST LIKE THAT). DO NOTHING – NO
INTERACTIONS, DOING ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, JUST BEING. IT
IS THE WHITE SPACES IN BETWEEN THAT ABSORB OUR MESSY
LIVES AND LEAVE US CLEAN. IT’S THE BANAL, THE OBVIOUS,
THE COMMON, THE ORDINARY, THE HABITUAL, BACKGROUND
NOISE. IT TAKES THE SPACE OF A BEAT, BUT NO NEW ACTION
HAPPENS, LIKE “MA” OR EMPTINESS, WHICH IS USED TO TAKE A
BREAK FROM THE CONSTANT ACTION AND TENSION OF A
STORY AND ALLOW IT TO BREATHE. PAUSE MEANS TAKING A
MOMENT TO STOP AND LOOK BACK TO HOW OUR ANCESTORS
WENT ABOUT THEIR DAILY LIVES.
The Pause show was influenced by a class intervention/performance of a slow walk through the grass bowl on campus. The university walkways are usually a rushed place of hurried speed-walking. The students that spent 40 minutes slow motion walking 200m through the bowl stuck out against this busy background. People paused, some stopped and watched. There were a lot of people confused at the scene of 20 plus people slo-mo walking that they filmed it and flagged down others to talk about it. The slow walk was a disturbance to the busy university setting.
The students that were part of the slow motion walk felt a strange calming peace as it became a meditation-like activity. They felt separated from the general activity of the university grounds. As they were slow motion walking through the bowl it was easy to notice little things around you like the activity of birds, distant construction sounds, the hum of college drive traffic, the feel of grass underneath a prolonged step and the gentle breeze. But the participants also noticed more internally: the beating of the heart and the rhythm of the breath.
From this activity the PAUSE gallery show was born. The class wanted to bring the experience of the slow-motion walk into the Snelgrove Gallery. The Snelgrove looks different than usual with most art pieces looking for the viewer to become a participant so that people become part of the PAUSE experience.
Here is a few of the works found in the gallery:
^ The slow motion walk was re-created and filmed. Here it is shown in two formats: normal speed and increased speed. The normal speed shows the class in slow motion walking with everyday life going on around them. In the increased speed version it appears as if the class is walking normal speed while life around them is whizzing around them like swarm of bees.
^There are a few things in this photo:
-The geometric sculptures are meditation helmets with small holes cut into them that distort light and sound. There is a projected patterned light sequence aimed at the helmets.
-A typical gallery is concerned with the four walls. Pause has recaptured planes that are usually unused and unnoticed. Thread and geometric structures are on the ceiling and creeping down the walls, while bubble wrap is covering the floor making you aware of every step that you (and others) take.
^here is a visual of deconstructed slow motion steps.
^FoundSound booth is a place to sit and listen closely to a soundscape while being bathed in ambient lighting. What you hear is a strange yet familiar journey that is made of isolated and layered sounds recorded (or found) while walking around the university area. You are encouraged to allow your brain to mentally create the environment of what your are hearing.
^ There is also an isolation booth that has been soundproofed and light proofed (to a degree). It’s a good place to disconnect from the world and reconnect with yourself. Most people can only handle a few minutes with themselves in here, why is that?
^The Stethoscope Pause performance is a participatory performance where people are connected together via stethoscopes. The participants listen to each others’ heartbeat and breathing as they regulate and relax together.
^ Part of the exhibit is also located outside of the gallery. There is a wooden viewing chamber that silences distractions to focus closely on a patch of sky. You might see that sky differently than before.
This exhibit is up until Nov.29th, with the exhibition Friday 7-10.
So why don’t you PAUSE and check out the Snelgrove!