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Stan Douglas
From April 2nd 1988 to April 27th 1988
Overture, Television Spot

The works of Stan Douglas are created in conjunction with the viewer, or more precisely, with a resituating of the viewer. Overture and Television Spots, requiring highly signifying technological frameworks, are critical statements in the artwork-receptor tradition. Is there a reversal of the subject/object dialectic as we watch the images pass before our eyes? And how is our awareness of this inverted mechanism mediatized?

As a metaphor for the position of the subject in relation to the object, Overture demonstrates the mechanics of our relationship to the artwork. It does so by means of a dialectic of consciousness (extract from Marcel Proust’s “Remembrance of Things Past). By installing projection equipment where the spectator is normally situated- here he is victim of a perspective cliché (train tracks)- Stan Douglas undermines the narrative effect. This break is accentuated by the fact that the recited text remains independent of the image. The viewer is led to the minutest point that can be represented in the course of the railway through the darkness of lost time; the subject thus becomes the object of a new-found consciousness.

Television Spots, transmitted on a television screen, is directed towards the subject as consumer of stale images. Made up of seven exceedingly brief narrative scenarios- from eight to thirty seconds each- this work scrambles the (tele)spectators perceptual habits. “Their difference invites the activity of the spectator; they initiate a comparison that illuminates the constructs of the television performance” (Barbara Fischer). The subject, in that he or she is called upon to perform as an actor in the realization of the work, signals the pragmatic nature of the work of Stan Douglas. To simulate a kind of regularity with respect to the image, the artist imposes his own conceptual rhythm composed of quasi-subliminal messages (stimulating rather than dulling the senses): the work thus sets up a powerful interference with the process of image consumption.

Although the works of Stan Douglas seem at first view to be closed structures, they open up at the intervention of each subject. They therefore merit sustained attention, as they require the spectator to invent a scenario of his own remembrance of things past.
- Hélène Taillefer (translated by Jeffrey Moore)
- Press release (Optica)


Bibliographie
Dumont, Jean, « Roméo Savoie, Stan Douglas et Jean Noël: Une oeuvre d'art n'arrive jamais seule... », La Presse, Montréal, Samedi 23 avril 1988, p.K5-K.6.