Reflections on MOMENTA’S “Bi­en­ni­ale de l’im­age”

The McGill Daily - - Contents - Christo­pher Junn Cul­ture Writer

MOMENTA presents ‘ Bi­en­nale de l’ im­age,’ a meditation on the art of photography and film cur ated by A mi Bar ak. The ex­hibit aims to sup­port “Cana­dian art - ists by bring­ing to light the rel­e­vance, di­ver­sity, and qual­ity of their work, and by pre­sent­ing it within an in­ter­na­tional con­text .” Ul­ti­mately, it asks its vis­i­tors , “What does the im­age stand for?”

The ex­hibit seemed to de con­struct the de­cep­tive pre­con­cep­tion many have sur­round­ing the au­then­tic­ity of an im­age by ques­tion­ing its mean­ing. Per­haps the an­swer lies in the ap­par­ent para­dox that floats around the au­then­tic­ity of a pho­to­graph. How will a per­son ap­ply their knowl­edge to an im­age in or der to align its mean­ings to their be­liefs? This seems to be the “ten­sion be­tween ‘ the said’ and ‘ the un­said’” that the ex­hibit’ s cu­ra­tor, A mi Bar ak, in­ti­mates. The un­said seems to be the sub­tleties of an im­age Pho­to­graphs plainly de­pict dis­torted colors and the im­age it­self, but do we hear the sounds in the at­mos­phere and the thoughts of the peo­ple within th­ese imag - es? B arak touched upon this in her in­tro­duc­tion to the ex­hibit, say­ing, “Th­ese artists in­ter cede be­tween the state of things and their pos­si­ble in­ter­pre­ta­tions. They ar e the ‘ whistle­blow­ers .” They pre­fer to trans fig­ure re­al­ity into art rather than sim­ply repli­cate.

Th­ese whistle­blow­ers ar e de­ter­mined to pro­duce a tan­gi­ble dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion be­tween art and re­al­ity by us­ing al­le­gories as in­ter­me­di­aries . Their im­ages speak of the world in dif­fer­ent ways, but still man­age to side­step strict de­pic­tions of “the real ,” thereby cre­ative ly com­mu­ni­cat­ing their be­liefs. A cre­ative el­e­ment might trans fig­ure and trans­late one’ s‘ un­said’ ex­pe­ri­ences for an­other while serv­ing asa‘ whis­tle ,’ or a call for at­ten­tion. Fur­ther­more, th­ese artists, as put by Bar ak, seem to‘ pre­fer trans­fig­u­ra­tion to repli­ca­tion .’ A cou­ple of the e xhibit’s key pieces in­voked the fol­low­ing mo­tifs: the dif­fer­ent sen­sa­tional and men­tal ex­pe­ri­ences of per­spec­tive and see­ing the past as a ghost.

One mov­ing im­age ex­plores dif­fer­ent sen­sa­tions and men­tal ex­pe­ri­ences sur­round­ing scope and per­spec­tive by stim­u­lat - in go ur sense of sound, pro­por­tions, and move­ment. Switch­ing be­tween shots of a shadow and a mur­mur­ing sound, film ap­pear ed to be rolled in the back­ground, fol­lowed by asp ed-up view of it that seemed like a blur. The mov­ing im­age took us be­tween the dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive soft he piece of film. In do­ing so , it chal­lenges the viewer to dis­tin­guish be­tween pro­por­tions by mea­sur - ing and com­par­ing against the flash of lost mem­ory . The artist seems to ask the viewer to blur the still im­ages that con­nect the jumps in time that we can­not phys­i­cally see, while reg­is­ter­ing em­pir­i­cal mea­sure­ments of space.

This mys­te­ri­ous ‘ in be­tween ’ seems to be ex­plored in ghost­like re col­lec­tions. One im­age in par­tic­u­lar seems to en­cap­su­late the in­tense pride and emo­tion of em­pow­er­ment. It is a closeup of Martin Luther King at the Lin­coln Memo­rial with his fin­ger pointed for­ward, mak­ing a co­gent point. A vi­gnette on the photo’s cor­ners back drops the im­age, cen­ter­ing King. The photo is printed in black and white , re­call­ing a time be­fore color sat­u­rated im­ages, re­call­ing a less vivid but still painful past. The power - ful im­age stands out as a mo­ment of clar­ity in a fas­ci­nat­ing photo ex­hibit.

Run­ning from Septem­ber 7 un­til Oc­to­ber 15 , the MO­MENT A | Bi­en­nale will be fea­tured at the VOX and U QAM cam­pus along - side some in­de­pen­dent galleries through­out Mon­treal.

The ex­hibit aims to sup­port Cana­dian artists by bring­ing to light the rel­e­vance, di­ver­sity, and qual­ity of their work, and by pre­sent­ing it in an in­ter­na­tional con­text. Ami Barak Cu­ra­tor

Christo­pher Junn | Pho­tog­ra­pher

A still from the mov­ing im­age and MLK.

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