John Massey | As the Hammer Strikes


John Massey, installation view from ‘As the Hammer Strikes’, Contemporary Art Gallery, May 6 – June 19, 2005. Photography by SITE Photography

Exhibition | John Massey | As the Hammer Strikes

May 6 - June 19, 2005

John Massey
As the Hammer Strikes
May 6 – June 19, 2005

As the Hammer Strikes is an odd self-portrait. The three part synchronized film depicts a real event from John Massey’s life, re-enacting in real time an audio taped conversation between the artist and a hitch-hiker on route from Flesherton to Orangeville, Ontario. Massey documents the conversation from pick-up to drop-off with a wide angle establishing shot. The camera is locked in this position for the duration of the film, giving the audience a view from the back seat. Massey further illustrates the conversation with point of view shots and images that cross-reference the dialogue, which are simultaneously projected in black and white on either side of the central view from the back of the van, which is in colour. The conversation between the two strangers is somewhat banal, unfolding typically with talk about where they live and work, but the interest lies in their immediate attempt to find common points of interest. They struggle to understand each other, which is exacerbated by the hitch-hiker’s speech impediment. Ironically, their social differences surface first, but it is clear that they want to communicate and work hard to find common ground.