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Entry into the installation — at Suyama Spacei, photo credit Brian Foulkes Transparent scrim and wall projection, both coding and physical transparency create a constantly changing and multi layered environment, photo credit Brian Foulkes Giant ivy growth 'Chaos'. South gallery wall, photo credit Brian Foulkess Glass speakers with field recordings “Colony” South gallery wall, photo credit Brian Foulkes Layering-looking through the transparent projection screen that bisects the space towards the East projection wall. With coded layering on both screens and the physical layering produced by looking through the scrim the range of image combinations is multiplied by a factor of four. Because of the number of possible combinations produced by the coding the actual number of combinations is almost limitless, photo credit Brian Foulkes The light weight transparent scrim reacted sensitively to any air current in the room, photo credit Brian Foulkes Opening night crowd, photo credit Brian Foulkes The transparency of the scrim doubled the projection, painting the walls and floor, of the gallery with projections, photo credit Brian Foulkes Scrim detail, photo credit Brian Foulkes Imagery from the transparent scrim spilled over the floor adding multiple layers to the circular 'pool'projection, photo credit Brian Foulkes Viewers were able to access another vantage point from a 'lifeguard chair', photo credit Brian Foulkes The view from the lifeguard chair, photo credit Brian Foulkes Detail of the 10' diameter 'pool, projection, photo credit Brian Foulkes I collected 100 native seed samples and archived them in hand-blown glass vials, photo credit Brian Foulkes Detail of seed archive, photo credit Brian Foulkes Another view from the lifeguard chair, photo credit Brian Foulkes The seed archive was dispersed throughout one half of the space,  Shadows became another form of projection, photo credit Mark Woods Seed archive detail, photo credit Brian Foulkes Seed archive detail, photo credit Brian Foulkes Seed archive detail, photo credit Brian Foulkes This installation combined interactive video projection and shadow play, photo credit Brian Foulkes A seed via, photo credit Brian Foulkes View across the 'pool' through the transparent scrim and to the far projection wall. Note the multiple instances of layering, photo credit Brian Foulkes Detail main projection wall, photo credit Brian Foulkes


In Psychology “generativity” is a focus on future generations. In biology it refers to structures of proliferation. For Linguists it means “using rules to generate varying meaning from underlying, abstract forms.” A generative work of New Media art is one that uses coding to create varied, evolving meaning outside the creator’s direct control. These related definitions all seemed germane to Suyama Space  and its history as an engine of creative growth. The precarious state of the natural world was also on my mind as I began work on Generativity last year. Environmentalist John Reuter introduced me to a palette of “generative” forms that appear again and again, as nature shapes itself. These “architectural” structures suggested a vocabulary and syntax with which to approach the space. In searching for a way to make work about the generativity of nature that didn’t contribute to its destruction, restoration and archiving became key studio processes. Ivy vines with their dentritic growth patterns (characteristic throughout nature) are big, beautiful and destructive. Properly removing them extends a tree’s life for many years. Vines I harvested and cleaned by hand became the big landmark gestures shaping space. Collecting native seeds and sounds, vital activities in preserving diversity, brought me into a physical intimacy with nature I hadn’t experienced since childhood. Archives of these seeds and sounds are housed in glass vials in a plethora of generative forms that hopefully evoke some of the marvel I felt collecting them. More than anything I want viewers to experience the connection to nature in their bodies. Sensual performance footage from choreographers Isabelle Choiniere and Linda K Johnson, suggest the animating principal “Eros,” and our inescapable entanglement with life’s proliferating forms. Entwined bodies fade in and out of imagery drawn from nature, at times mirroring the physical structures of the installation. A transparent scrim bisecting the gallery varies the layers of moving images visible from different positions in the space. Projections both appear on the scrim and pass through it, painting the floor and one end of the gallery with distorted echoes of the main scenes. This transparency, along with creative coding mixing the video in real time, produces an endless unpredictably, mirroring both nature’s generativity and the layering our minds produce in dreams.

Working with a mix of natural light and shadow, projections, and gallery lighting was the big challenge/opportunity of my residency at Suyama Space . Because the gallery’s characteristic daylight varies, the installation has moods. On a dark day or at night the eroticism and mystery of the projections comes to the fore; when the light is more matter of fact, sculpture become more important; and on a sunny day shafts of light can land on glass seed vials or on the scrim creating lovely unanticipated moments.

Cette publication a été rendu possible grâce au soutien financier d'Hexagram, du groupe de recherche des arts médiatiques (GRAM), de la Faculté des arts de l'UQAM, ainsi qu'à une subvention, pour une quatorzième année consécutive, du Conseil des arts du Canada (CAC).