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John Wood and Paul Harrison, installation view from ‘I DIDN’T KNOW I DIDN’T KNOW IT’, Contemporary Art Gallery, February 12 – April 24, 2016. Photography by SITE Photography


UBC Intern Patrick O’Neill in conversation with Jeremy Shaw | Part 2 of 3

Jeremy Shaw, Quickeners, 2014. 16 mm film to HD, still. Courtesy Johann Konig Gallery, Berling and Macaulay & Co. Fine Art, Vancouver.

This is the second installment in a series of three parts of a Q&A that Patrick O’Neill conducted with Jeremy Shaw. Part 1 can be found here.

Patrick O’Neill: The soundtrack seems to occupy a pivotal role in both films in this exhibition. To what extent has your artistic practice been informed by your experiences with Circlesquare and vice versa?

Jeremy Shaw: As far as my skill sets go, [sound design] has been a massive influence.  I spent countless hours/days/months working on Circlesquare music – experimenting with production, writing and recording, learning programs, samplers, instruments, etc.  All of this is all very useful in technical ways with how I am working now.  I used to really try and keep these two practices separate, but since disbanding Circlesquare I’ve felt a real freedom to use music in a much more present way in my art works. I brainstorm in both a visual and musical way – rarely do I think of one without the other.

PO: You seem to be quite conscious of the power of technology to inscribe or convey belief structures to the viewers or users of those technologies. Is this idea simply of personal interest, or is it something you try to explicitly acknowledge in your works?

JS: It’s a device I use as a way to lure a viewer into something via an assumed awareness.  Their personal understanding of/relationship to the technology puts them somewhat at my disposal to subvert that familiarity; to propose something new via this comfort.  It is definitely acknowledged in the works – for example, in Variation FQ, the first 3 minutes are mono sound and the antiquated 16mm image authentically mimics a 1960’s aesthetic.  If one was not to know of contemporary voguing, they could believe this was an archival work.  But at 3 minutes in when Leiomy takes her hair out, the audio switches dramatically to surround sound and an MP3 quality digital sound is introduced while she shakes her head in a way that would be difficult to believe was shot anytime before the late 1980’s.  So here the projector and media and music all come into question as no longer endorsing the initial set-up.  I like the idea of collapsing time this way.