Past Exhibitions

John Oswald

Exhibition Through May 21, 2006

Canadian John Oswald is an internationally known musical composer who in recent years has also worked as media artist. In his continuing series, chronophototics, he blurs the distinction between photography, video and painting by creating multiple projections of what he call “moving still” images. instandstillnessence, the three-part projection on view in this gallery, consists of photographic portraits of hundreds of individuals from Toronto who, at first glance, appear motionless, but are slowly revealed in the projection over time. Clothed and unclothed figures gradually appear in different layers, with varying degrees of transparency, so that the image is in a constant state of evolution. Thousands of minute changes occur every second and are only visible when one slows down to contemplate the image for several minutes: the very act of viewing becomes a time-based, process-oriented experience that is always in flux. This fact differentiates Oswald’s chronophotics from other types of projections which may be in slow motion, but are more linear and narrative, but do not “morph.” 

All of John Oswald’s work is about metamorphosis: whether composing music or producing media art, he freely appropriates from existing sound or visual images by other artists and in1990 coined the name Plunderphonics to describe his method of making sound collages made from existing music. During his career he has transformed classical and pop music by artists ranging from Igor Stravinsky to Dolly Parton, Michael Jackson and the Grateful Dead. Oswald’s works are part of the repertoire of the Kronos Quartet, the Ballet of Monaco and Deutsche Opera Ballet Berlin. His recent activities include projects with choreographer Bill T. Jones, commissions from the Ballet de l’Opéra of Lyon, the Dutch National Radio and the Canadian Broadcasting Company. He has also just completed a work for orchestra, robot piano and the sung and disincarnate voice of Glen Gould for the National Ballet of Canada.