new work, in progress
new work, in progress
Stills from new video work, The Thaw
Video still from new video Birds just completed. Shot in northeastern Scotland in the Toll Woods bordering Balvenie Castle, barley fields, and a pair of highland cows.
Krampus, the Austrian Christmas boogieman (via NPR), beware all naughty kiddos.
Note to self: plan Graz vacation next Winter!
I’ve been filming a new video in Buffalo, New York called Red Rum. It features a group of teenagers and me, as ghostly apparitions, in Victorian homes. And a decent amount of fake blood. Stay tuned.
…production still, above…
In Saskatoon at the moment it is minus twenty-seven degrees Celcius, a temperature that deserves more than a tiny number in order that you can savour it, contemplate it, or at least try to fathom it. Luckily we humans have very little capacity for recalling pain which is why, in the words of my undergraduate art school professor Sharon Alward, people can live in extremely cold places like Winnipeg or Saskatoon year after year without going insane*. While minus twenty-seven degrees Celcius is reason enough to evoke screams in many people, it scares neither me nor Jo-Anne Balcaen – my billboard project collaborator and friend from MontrÃ©al. Jo-Anne and I were actually born within hours of one another and grew up separately in Winnipeg**, but that aside is another story of which I will spare you the details. The daunting temperature also doesn’t scare David LaRiviere, director of Paved Arts who facilitated and helped tremendously to oversee our two-person show.
Scream opens January 16th – come see it if you dare. There will be screaming. You have been warned. The billboard is silent but it requires 3-D glasses – available at the gallery.
From the press release, “Scream is a two-person video installation and collaborative billboard presentation. While Jo-Anne Balcaen studies the scream from the perspective of ecstasy, Jillian Mcdonald approaches the same subject as a device in horror films. The exhibition project arises from the affinity that the artists recognize in each other’s work, and is thus culminated from an ongoing, long-distance creative dialog.
Jillian Mcdonald’s video work entitled The Screaming challenges the horror movie genre’s damsel in distress by inverting the power dynamics and charging the scream with a potency that overcomes any would-be menace…. Jo-Anne Balcaen’s Screaming Girls appropriates famous film images of teen-aged girls enraptured by rock ‘n’ roll performance. Stripped of sound, Balcaen’s subtle manipulation of this familiar pop adulation becomes a study of mass hysteria, oddly foreign to any kind of rationale that Beatlemania may have once produced.”
*Keep in mind these are select few people, you may not want to attempt this yourself.
**According to Wikipedia, the lowest temperature ever recorded in Winnipeg was âˆ’47.8 Â°C (âˆ’54.0 Â°F), on December 24, 1879. The coldest wind chill reading ever recorded was âˆ’57.1 Â°C (âˆ’70.8 Â°F), on February 1, 1996. I was not alive in 1879, but I’ll point out that the last winter I lived in Winnipeg was 1996.
Reversing the roles of Twilight, that other teenage romance disguised as a vampire film, comes the dark and creepy-sweet Swedish film, Let the Right One In. I saw it on Christmas Day. The new girl in town enchants the lonely boy next door with her powers – namely, she flies, does a mean Rubik’s Cube, and does not mind the cold – and he cannot resist her awkward ice-cold intimacy. They want so much to be friends that she feigns eating human food though it makes her sick and he overlooks her necessary evil.
Like Claudia in Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles our vamp Eli is frozen in the body of a pre-teen girl, her monstrousness disguised in big-eyed innocence. For a vampire, Eli seems very rough around the edges and filthy fingernails, but this isn’t Hollywood. The film has it’s share of blood, but the most graphically violent moments are not classically vampiric and only some involve the fanged exploits of our darling monster. Be prepared for a failed suicide by acid, clumsy bloodletting by an aging yet loyal companion, and a massive revenge fantasy that you smell coming without remotely sensing the magnitude of its enactment.
This is a tale of revenge and friendship, yet that icing barely covers an immoral taste of immortal pedophila.
The ice-encrusted trees and wintry landscapes are gorgeous and recall another vampire film, without the relentless horror. It’s good, and will leave you chilled.
Snowed in today due to cancelled transportation, I’ll take the opportunity to mention belatedly a few artworks seen recently. Despite the inconvenience, there’s something romantic about snow days. Perhaps it’s my inner Winnipeger who remembers the pleasures of tunneling endlessly through the snowbanks of my youth, blinking hard to melt eyelash icicles, and the sound of the most delicate puddle-ice layers breaking softly beneath muffled feet.
Here are three enchanting artworks I saw recently:
#1. Leandro Erlich’s Swimming Pool at P.S.1, image below, is a one-liner that does not fall flat once you discover the magic secret. Visit it before Sept 2009, and make sure to take the top view first. If you’re like me you’ll be tempted to slip into the clear blue, and sink deep to the bottom.
More about the artist here.
#2. BÃ¸rre SÃ¦thre’s Stealth Distortion (…must have seen it in some teenage wet dream), image below, is also at P.S.1.
This installation could do without the rooms of “smoky mirror, plexiglass, and bare light bulb” peep show palace theatrics that are disjointed from the crown jewel, but the wizard behind the curtain is a foggy creature quite sublime – is there or isn’t there a unicorn in the room?
#3. Kelly Mark‘s The Kiss, image below from Platform Gallery in Seattle, was at The Aqua Hotel in Miami during the art fairs.
Installed cosily in a closet, the quaint TV bodies glowed cooly pink from their twin bubble glass faces barely touching, and I couldn’t help but feel I’d walked in on some lucky teenager’s 7 minutes in heaven. If I peeked another minute they’d have turned like Dave from 2001, caught and blinking innocently out from his space helmet.