Gustavo Artigas at A Space (401 Richmond West, #110) to April 26. 416-979-9633. Rating: NNNNN
Judy Radul at YYZ (401 Richmond West, #120) to May 24. 416-598-4546. Rating: NNNN
David Rokeby at Goethe Institute (163 King West) to June 21. 416-593-5257. Rating: NNN
Push Play at Mercer Union (37 Lisgar) to May 17. 416-536-1519. Rating: NNN
Althea Thauberger at WARC (Women's Art Resource Centre, 401 Richmond West, #122) to April 19. 416-977-0097. Rating: NN
Siebren Versteeg at V Tape (401 Richmond West, #452) to April 26. 416-351-1317. Rating: NN Rating: NNNNN
If you haven't been turned off video and digital art by several exasperating time-wasting experiences, then you should tour the very solid Source installation program of this year's Images Festival. Get past the program's tedious if-then computer-coding-language theme and there are a number of fine works and some true standouts, though there are some exasperating time-wasters, too.
Mexican artist Gustavo Artigas's work at A Space makes a stunning starting point. His simple videos document the interactions and problem-solving abilities of children. In one, two American basketball teams take to the court at the same time as two Mexican soccer teams. At first chaos reigns, but as time moves on the children learn to play around each other, and soon goals and baskets occur in unison. It's a magnificent work in both thought and spirit.
Althea Thauberger's piece at WARC is a bit bland by contrast. The filmmaker enlisted a series of women singer-songwriters in Victoria and then shot them in scenic settings lip-synching their songs. I tried to make it through three of the eight videos and failed. Maybe my biases are at work, since my unbearable neighbour blasts Women In Song all the time.
At YYZ, Judy Radul has taken one actor, five directors, the unmoving gaze of three cameras and 12 hours of footage and woven it into a fascinating look at the process behind a death scene, played back on three hanging screens.
The woman performing is so melodramatic and the directors so precise -- "Don't drop the pen. Only have tension in this part of your hand" -- that you will: 1, lose any fantasies you might have about the glamour of the film and television business; and 2, silently wish for a speedier death.
Upstairs at V Tape, Siebren Versteeg takes a poke at the media. On a TV, the closed-captioning of a CNN broadcast reveals inane conversation. Another screen shows a supposedly live feed from an empty newsroom. In light of the gravity of recent news events, this unfortunately timed piece falls flat.
David Rokeby's Sorting Daemon continues to hum along at the Goethe Institute, capturing images from the southwest corner of King West and University. The result of all this surveillance is a kaleidoscope of visual information projected on a large screen, revealing the good and bad side of Big Brother.
On the one hand, I squirmed when an unfortunate man was captured stuffing a hot dog into his face with relish. On the other, the machine helped me keep an eye on my bike to make sure it wouldn't be ripped off.
A show called Push Play is Mercer Union's contribution to Source. In it, four artists animate their typical artistic output on video. For example, Mara Korkola takes her small bright-city-lights-in-the-night paintings and makes them into bright-city-lights-in-the-night videos. As with the other artists in this show, the videos mostly serve to undermine the motionless art. But that makes you recognize the limitations of the medium, and makes the show interesting.
The one exception is Marie de Sousa's video comprising a series of snapshots taken at 15-minute intervals during her painting process. She paints her neighbourhood park over and over again on the same canvas, constantly obscuring previous incarnations of the scene. Watching the painting progress is like watching a year unfold before your eyes -- leaves fall and snow builds over the faded memory of a man walking his dog.
If you go, then you'll see. firstname.lastname@example.org