The most powerful image is the figure-eight
17 April 2017

curated screening presented at York University, Toronto

We follow the black line of a marker on a white dry erase board as it circles on the one side the D for department (upholders of the law) bisects us (the star in the middle, the trainee) to circle on the other side the C for contact (criminal and public alike). The figure-eight is outlined again and again and we are told that we must disappear to achieve the ‘art of representation’. Our subjectivities apparently have no place in law enforcement. We must represent the law to the public, left to right, be its vehicle and mouth piece. Black and white; point blank. Yet, somehow we can’t disappear in the middle. Every pass of the marker picks up traces of us and tags either side, it’s messier, the way dry erase ink can float on top of that white shiny surface. Each side in turn leaves its imprint on the star in the middle. Shifts in representation are occurring in this way, in this same cycle, and it feels like we aren’t in the same one place all the time. We take turns. The way fan culture allows us to re-present sources, to absorb them through fantasy, but to live them out as we chase down guarded cars filled with celebrities du jour. Our voices are connected in their focal points, and go on… Sometimes we can be so easily manipulated it can be hard to understand how it might even happen, or at least, who it would happen to. Spammers are the romantics of our times, robotically Sisyphean to match our flesh version, overcoming us with trans-national transactions. Other times we can feel lost in the images flowing over us, the overwhelming glut of ‘difficult to look at’ needs to be filed away. If we look closer at these images we can start to see the components separating out into their planes. The visual barriers that we see, the flat physicality of depicted objects, suddenly has a conceptual depth highlighting the inaccessible contextual misery affronting us. There is another glut, our confessionals shared endlessly on YouTube. Who watches? There is always someone. When the body is out of frame and we speak out into the world we are creating a unified narrative, cross-cultural and cross-contextual. We are many authors, we are many viewers, and we are many feelers. We are every part of the figure-eight.



This is Living, Gil Leung, 2011, 4:00

Magic for Beginners, Jesse McLean, 2010, 20:00

SPAM: Roosevelt E. Akers, Cressida Kocienski, 2012, 2:22

A Minimal Difference, Jean-Paul Kelly, 2012, 5:10

Insideout, Tonje Alice Madsen, 2010, 25:00


*Programme notes available here.

This is Living, Gil Leung, 2011

Magic for Beginners, Jesse McLean, 2010

SPAM: Roosevelt E. Akers, Cressida Kocienski, 2012

A Minimal Difference, Jean-Paul Kelly, 2012

Insideout, Tonje Alice Madsen, 2010