Beneath the Tower: Moving Images from Toronto is a small sampling of experimental works made in Hollywood North, by moving image artists who pursue their own personal visions. These works offer a glimpse into the formal and personal obsessions of those living in Toronto, Ontario.
Cosplay expert and visual artist Maya Ben David explores the wonderful world of vorarephilia, the erotic desire to be consumed by another creature, in We've Met Before while Jennifer Chan's Austerity offers a glimpse into another form of consumption. The rich document themselves living it up while the world burns around them. In direct contrast to the selfie, There is a Woman Texting in Front of the Dark Horse by Parastoo Anoushahpour, Ryan Ferko, Nina Könnemann, and Faraz Anoushahpour explores another form of contemporary documentation, namely, surveillance. Despite the playful and humour nature of the work, the video reveals one of the natural tendencies of surveilling, the desire to document those who are different. Looking beyond difference towards ambiguity, Lee D'Angelo's A Good Place to Hide creates an ideal garden in which sexual and gender fluidity can freely exist.
Some of the more formal experiments include Winston Hacking's The Worst in You, a music video that is guaranteed to have you scratching your head and humming along at the same time; David Jones' Temple Drone 3, an immersive audio/video experience that takes us on hypnotic journey to the centre of a VHS; and Christine Lucy Latimer's Fraction Refrain (for Loeser, Evans & Snow), a visual poem exploring a pinball machine through a hand-made lens. The pinball machine is the prize possession of her partner Mark Loeser (an amazing Toronto-based filmmaker and an avid backgammon player) gifted to him by their friend, pinball wizard Justin Evans. Both Fraction Refrain and Dan Browne's Poem are visual interpretations of Michael Snow's 1957 poem simply titled Poem. While Poem uses super-impositions to formally collapse space, the space that Browne works with is his daily environment and includes an intimate portrait of his newly born son. In contrast, Phil Hoffman's Aged is a tender portrait of his late father directly confronting topics surrounding aging and death. As poetically observed by Toronto experimental moving image icon Mike Hoolboom, Aged poses the question “how does the good son meet the end of his father?” He continues, “with golden light, and a pair of empty lawn chairs, a lone swan, long the animal familiar for this restless traveller, the body floats above the water but the head is buried beneath the surface, hunting for clues, for the mysteries of sex and death and family that are waiting there for anyone brave enough to endure them.”
Since myth can often transform into self-fulfilling prophecy, we assert that Toronto is not the centre of the Universe. As a friendly reminder, Leslie Supent and myself present works from beyond the CN tower with The Animated Heavy Metal Parking Lot, a re-make of Jeff Krulik's cult classic shot in Maryland, Ohio and with Gary Wilson and the Austin Blind Dates, a video shot in Austin, Texas documenting performance artist Gary Wilson's total onstage meltdown.
Working in a city that is home to the Festival of Festivals, the Toronto International Film Festival, Toronto experimental filmmakers are forced to wallow in a cinematic cesspool that inevitably informs their practice. These works respond by challenging the apparatus and by cleverly re-imagining it.
Selections by Clint Enns + Leslie Supnet
- Temple Drone 3 (David Jones, 2016, 5 min.)
- Austerity (Jennifer Chan, 2015, 5 min.)
- We've Met Before (Maya Ben David, 2015, 5 min.)
- A Good Place to Hide (Lee D’Angelo, 2015, 1 min.)
- Animated Heavy Metal Parking Lot (Leslie Supnet, 2008, 2 min.)
- Gary Wilson and the Austin Blind Dates (Clint Enns & Paul D. Millar, 2015, 3 min.)
- The Worst in You (Winston Hacking, 2016, 3 min.)
- There is a Woman Texting in Front of the Dark Horse (Parastoo Anoushahpour, Ryan Ferko, Nina Könnemann, Faraz Anoushahpour, 2014, 7 min.) (excerpt)
- Fraction Refrain (for Loeser, Evans & Snow) (Christine Lucy Latimer, 2014, 6 min.)
- Poem (Dan Browne, 2015, 4 min.)
- Aged (Phil Hoffman, 2014, 45 min.)