28 Apr

[Downtown: Pastimes]

Part of my practice involves using video in ways that are sometimes perceived to be proprietary to film. In my 2003 series Downtown, the images on billboards are literally positioned as ‘the thinking image’ [1] as defined by Gilles Deleuze in Cinema 2: The Time-Image. The images of people, laid out by marketers to sell condominium lifestyle, are juxtaposed with texts that speak thoughts for those future residents. The subjects contemplate existence and the videos end with the revelation that it is the voice of an image that speaks over time, in what is literally ‘ a 2-dimensional world.’ In reality, on closer inspection, it becomes obvious that some of the subjects have taken on character weaknesses closely resembling the problems sometimes associated with high-density living. For example, in Splitting Image, the young Asian male on the balcony actually appears to be more in the headspace of committing suicide than ‘Living the Dream.’ When viewing the image even closer, it becomes obvious that this character with the fully developed imagination of the protagonist is less than a full image. He had been constructed from a face and shirt pulled from a marketers’ catalogue, and yet, he has everything he needs to sell inner-city condos. Not many, if any of the GRP’s (Gross Rating Point) passing audience members will probably notice that he has no hands and no lower body. The ‘half-man’ is floating above the balcony wall. And yet, with a quick drive by, he appears complete, the man who ‘owns’ in a desired real estate market. [2]

In the same (Downtown) video series, Pastimes [3] , features a text that speaks for the thoughts of a woman seated in a coffee shop. At first it is not obvious whose thoughts are carried by the text. It could be any one of the characters we see depicted, but it is perhaps owing to the woman’s disillusioned expression, that we might come to think that the words reflect her thoughts. The contemplative words in the text question the meaning of (her) existence and a camera close-up links her expression to the bleakness of the text. As the camera zooms in, we see that she is built of dots (standard 4 colour process) mimicking the pointillism painting style of Georges Seurat. The camera pans over to a couple looking up to the balcony where the young male star of Splitting stands with his face split by a carelessly matched seam. Suddenly the camera veers left to shatter the reality of what we have been looking at. True to what we might have already suspected, we now see that the camera has framed our gaze on a marketing billboard in the middle of a construction site.

The portrayals of condo residents in the videos juxtapose the billboard messages into possible future states of mind that the 2-dimensional representational images might possess. They remain trapped in scenarios, suspended on construction site billboards. They become virtual beings locked into the framing of the marketing strategy of the billboard and the video camera’s wandering perception. They are the virtual in opposition to the actuality of the movement-image. [4]

[1] Deleuze, G. (1989). Cinema 2:  The Time-Image, translated by H. Tomlison and R. Galeta.  London, England: The Athlone Press. (First published as Cinema 2, L’Image-temps Copyright 1985 by les Editions de Minuit, Paris). (pp. 22-23).

[2] LeBlanc, V. (2003) Time Travel in This Moment: Splitting Image.  Retrieved April 22, 2011 from, http://www.timetravelinthismoment.com/bonus.html

[3] LeBlanc, V. (2003) Time Travel in This Moment: Pastimes.  Retrieved April 22, 2011 from, http://www.timetravelinthismoment.com/bonus.html

[4]  Deleuze, G. (1989). Cinema 2:  The Time-Image, translated by H. Tomlison and R. Galeta.  London, England: The Athlone Press. (First published as Cinema 2, L’Image-temps Copyright 1985 by les Editions de Minuit, Paris). 41


In Your Wildest Dreams


Splitting Image




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    About Valerie LeBlanc

    Originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia, pluri-­disciplinary artist and writer Valerie LeBlanc has worked in Canada, the United States, Europe, and Australia. Her creations travel between poetry, performance, visual and written theory. Valerie LeBlanc has been creating video poetry since the mid 1980’s, and is the creator of the MediaPackBoard (MPB), portable screening / performance device.

    L’artiste pluridisciplinaire Valerie LeBlanc est vidéaste, poète, performeuse et essayiste. Son travail oscille entre le remarquable et le quotidien. Elle a exposé ses œuvres en Europe, en Australie et au Brésil. Elle crée des vidéopoèmes depuis le milieu des années 1980 et a inventé le MediaPackBoard (MPB), un appareil de projection mobile pour la performance.

    Date : April 2020
    Genre : Vidéopoésie/Videopoetry

    Videopoetry / Vidéopoésie

    Small Walker Press

    Date : January 2021
    Genre : Poetry