Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mike Hoolboom talks in Regina

This evening at the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina, writer/filmmaker Mike Hoolboom spoke about visible and invisible pictures. It is difficult to use words to describe Hoolboom’s presentation as it was ABOUT words, and when it comes to words, Mike has the last word. While it may be true that a picture is worth a thousand words, it does not necessarily follow that a thousand words is worth only one picture. Hoolboom regaled us with a few thousand carefully chosen words, words that he points out he did not make up himself for if he had, we would not understand them, but the images conjured by those words are inevitably different for each of us listening. Through the description of his exploration of visual imagery, Hoolboom forces us to listen, to imagine, and to remember. Blue jeans, George Bush, atomic bombs, Nashville, and the twin towers are painted for us in our minds, Mike just passes us the brush and lets us do the work. When he tells us that “adult” is the cruelest word in the English language I am reminded of Brakhage’s seminal writing on the untutored eye gazing upon the colour green, innocent of the word “green”. Reversing the psychology of the situation, Hoolboom forces us to embrace an innocent time before we had everything shown to us, when we could use words to evoke rather than limit the image, or at least the idea of the image. We are left exhausted and awakened, eyes opened wide with a renewed sense of uncertainty about the unnoticed secrets behind the images that make up the world around us.
February 25, 2009 video

clip from event shot without permission, please don't sue me Mike. Sorry about the substandard audio.