Wind blows in eerie an­tic­i­pa­tion, mys­tery

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ARTS - By Ali­son Mayes

SIX years ago, artists Irene Bindi and As­ton Coles mi­grated from Vic­to­ria to Win­nipeg.

“We didn’t know any­one. We didn’t have any job prospects,” re­calls Bindi, 34

Both she and Coles, 31, are orig­i­nally from London, Ont. So why choose Win­nipeg?

They’re avid bird­watch­ers. They were thrilled with the idea that North Amer­ica’s largest mi­gra­tory flight path fun­nels over the city.

Soon af­ter ar­riv­ing, they spot­ted a pileated wood­pecker right out­side their Os­borne Vil­lage apart­ment. “We were amazed,” says Bindi. “We thought, ob­vi­ously we’ve come to the right place.”

The pair mar­ried in 2008, set­tled in Old St. Vi­tal and are ex­pect­ing their first child. Both have day jobs in the arts. He pre­pares and in­stalls art­works at Plug In. She’s the ad­min­is­tra­tive co-or­di­na­tor at the Man­i­toba Writ­ers’ Guild.

As a sound-art per­for­mance duo called Dou­ble Hook, he makes noise mu­sic on home­made elec­tron­ics and she plays the drums. She has a mas­ter’s de­gree in film stud­ies. He’s a self-taught sculp­tor who pro­claims him­self “to­tally art-school free.”

Both had works in the early cin­e­math­emed show Phan­tas­mago­ria in 2010, hers a light­box and his a zoetrope hooked up to a re­con­fig­ured gramo- Aceart To May 25 phone.

Their joint ex­hi­bi­tion The Wind Men Are Com­ing is on at Aceart un­til May 25. It com­bines un­set­tling photo col­lages by Bindi with an in­stal­la­tion by Coles that in­cor­po­rates sound.

There’s a strong sense of eerie an­tic­i­pa­tion and mys­tery about the show. As Bindi puts it, “The po­ten­tial is key.” The ideas hinted at, both say, in­clude out-of­body ex­pe­ri­ences and de­sire for flight.

The photo frag­ments in Bindi’s col­lages are mostly from books and mag­a­zines dat­ing from the 1940s to ’ 70s. They seem to evoke Cold War anx­i­ety, 1950s or ’60s movies, dis­tress and loom­ing dis­as­ter.

“I con­sider these col­lages to be al­most like con­densed films,” Bindi says.

“There’s of­ten a feel­ing of dis­lo­ca­tion,” notes the Aceart co-di­rec­tor who goes by the name han­nah_g. “It’s this dream­like feel­ing, tied to a child’s ex­pe­ri­ence of the world.”

A child’s per­spec­tive is also part of Coles’ in­stal­la­tion. A lit­tle wooden chair sits in a pool of light in mid-gallery. In front of it is a tiny ta­ble, and on it, a sound-ac­ti­vated tape recorder.

There’s no sign sug­gest­ing that the vis­i­tor sit in the chair. But those who do, un­in­vited like Goldilocks, get a sud­den, shat­ter­ing fright in­volv­ing sound.

Some vis­i­tors scream. The tape recorder cap­tures their re­ac­tions, and that hu­man noise will be used in a fu­ture work.

Try­ing the chair also trig­gers some­thing in a stark, grey-walled par­tial room that Coles has built. It con­tains a me­tal lamp that cre­ates a pool of light, seem­ingly wait­ing for some­thing or some­one (a child?) to make an en­trance.

Coles got the in­spi­ra­tion for all this from an ap­pa­ra­tus that al­lows a bird to trig­ger a pho­to­graph of it­self. Sit­ting in the chair, he says, is like the bird trip­ping the cam­era.

The artist re­calls a pro­found ex­pe­ri­ence at the age of five or six, when his par­ents took him to a grown-up party. Some­one put on an LP that changed his life. It was by the Ni­hilist Spasm Band, a sem­i­nal, still-ex­ist­ing noise band that “plays” home­made in­stru­ments, founded in 1965 right there in London, Ont.

“I thought my brain was go­ing to ex­plode,” Coles re­calls. “That was the be­gin­ning … and that does play into this piece — hence the small chair.”

Although Bindi and Coles didn’t meet un­til years later as adults, the same band — mostly made up of vis­ual artists — blew Bindi’s mind when she was 16.


Bindi and Coles: ‘The po­ten­tial is key.’

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