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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I get comments - Ross Birdwise responds

Howdy!

Back in December, I wrote about seeing a piece by Ross Birdwise. I wasn't too fond of it, he wrote a comment that explained the piece. And I then wrote back to him

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Chris from Zeke's Gallery
> Sent: Thursday, December 15, 2005 11:10 PM
> To: Ross Birdwise
> Subject: Thanks tons!
>
> Howdy!
>
> For the comment, apologies if you took what I wrote personally,
> that is not my intention. Feel free to elaborate if you would
> like. Or I would be more than happy to discuss your work further
> (publically or privately) if you would like. The blog is my
> attempt at starting discussion on and about contemporary art here
> in Montreal, and to a certain extent, I feel like there is some
> change afoot.
>
> If you would like to see previous discussions public I've had try these:
> Murry Whyte
> Jerome Delgado
>
> I hope that everything else is well.
>
> Chris
> Zeke's Gallery
> http://zekesgallery.blogspot.com

He then responded

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ross Birdwise
> Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2006 5:03 PM
> To: Chris from Zeke's Gallery
> Subject: Videoportraits
>
>
> Hi,
>
> Sorry for my late reply, I get quite the onslaught of
> new mail everyday.
>
> I guess I took what you wrote about my work
> personally. I also found your description of the work
> innaccurate and reductive. You did not mention it had
> sound, or that the work was not simply loops. You
> characterized it as "Three very large video screens
> rotating looped two second headshots of people that
> then switch positions on the walls." You also said
> "Yawn". This simply is not true. If you looked at
> the work for a minute or less, or just very casually
> without much focus of attention, I can see how the
> work might come across in this way. However, if you
> listen to the sounds, and watch the images with some
> minimal concentration for awhile, you will see that
> the loops 'unloop' periodically and move onto new
> sections of the recorded footage. You are still free
> not to like the work, but to dismiss it so casually,
> without even properly describing it, is what gets to
> me.
>
> Ross Birdwise

And we were off!

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Chris from Zeke's Gallery
> Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2006 5:46 PM
> To: Ross Birdwise
> Subject: RE: Videoportraits
>
> Howdy!
>
> No problem-O! Either for the delay, or your response.
>
> Guilty as charged, I did look at your work for about a minute and
> a half. Going up against the touch screen thing-y, and then
> talking to Pierre-Francois, Mike and John, and then back to the
> touch screen thing-y, all while seeing 17 other artists, I'm not
> likely to get some discreet thing that you're trying to say with
> your work. Sorta similar to you whispering at a Merzbow concert
> and then complaining when I say I can't hear you...
>
> At the time that I saw your piece(s) and more so the week
> afterwards, what I wrote was all I could remember. While what I
> remember and what you created are most definitely two separate
> things, both are equally valid and true. And if your intention
> with your art is to get people to slow down and pay attention to
> small details then obviously from my perspective some work still
> needs to be done.
>
> My writing is an attempt to discuss visual art in the same manner
> as most people discuss films, music or books. What gets me is how
> way too many people think that all visual art demands as much
> attention as a PhD thesis and as a consequence don't go see art.
>
> Are we doing this conversation for publication? Or would you
> prefer to keep it private?
>
> Chris
> Zeke's Gallery
> http://zekesgallery.blogspot.com

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ross Birdwise
> Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2006 6:25 PM
> To: Chris from Zeke's Gallery
> Subject: RE: Videoportraits
>
> Hi Chris,
>
> You can publish this if you want to. Its too bad you
> cannot view the piece under less strained conditions.
> I think the small details would come out much more,
> and the piece would deepen in its signifigance,
> causing you to reflect. In short, it might change your
> mind about it.
>
> I find 'serious' music is in need of light criticism
> as well.
>
> Cheers,
>
> Ross

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Chris from Zeke's Gallery
> Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2006 6:39 PM
> To: Ross Birdwise
> Subject: RE: Videoportraits
>
> Howdy!
>
> Cool and thanks. Unfortunately I do not run a 'serious' music joint :-)
>
> As for seeing them in less strained conditions, unless it is a
> unique piece, or PF sells (sold? :-) it to some out of town
> museum, it is quite likely I will have another chance.
>
> Off the top of my head, one way to unstrain the conditions
> without changing the piece too much might be to consider a door
> that is not transparent next time, so that once you're in, you're in.
>
> Chris
> Zeke's Gallery

> -----Original Message-----
> From: ross birdwise
> Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2006 6:53 PM
> To: Chris from Zeke's Gallery
> Subject: RE: Videoportraits
>
>
> Hi Chris,
>
> The piece isn't unique so you may see it again.
>
> I'll consider your advice. Some people still got into
> the piece nonetheless (I actually won a couple of
> awards for it, and have seen people staring at it in a
> mesmerized way) but I may be able to make it easier,
> by making it more closed-off and immersive.
>
> I plan on doing newer versions of the piece as well,
> with slightly different set-ups.
>
> Cheers,
>
> Ross

And for the record, I do look forward to seeing it again. Let's just hope that it ain't at the National Gallery! I'd also like to thank him for allowing me to publish our email conversation.

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