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Video Works : Plot Against Time (2007-)

Plot Against Time is a series of works that explore patterns of movement over time. They are attempts to visualize the extended present which French philosopher Henri Bergson called 'duration'... the present pregnant with the past (and future). The works effectively stretch the viewer's eye across time to offer a perceptual experience of duration.

"Plot Against Time #1" captures the traces of pigeons and pedestrians on Venice's Piazza San Marco. Each moving thing etches itself across the surface of the image in a golden hue which fades as time passes through a ruddy brown to pure black before dissolving into the background. Static objects in the scene are subtly present in a patinated green tone. The pedestrians leave slowly fading Futurist motion studies behind as they pass. The pigeons' movements create a shifting map of trajectories articulating their interactions with each other and the tourists they seek food from, diagramming the peculiar ecology of the piazza.

an excerpt of Plot Against Time #1 (2007)

The second in the series, "Plot Against Time #2 (flurry)", tracks individual snowflakes whirling in the complex turbulence created by the rigorous and minimal forms of Mies van der Rohe's Toronto Dominion Centre skyscrapers and the Al McWilliams sculpture in the middle of the complex. The camera captures the snow against the background of the sculpture and the lowest of the buildings from within the sculpture. The video footage is processed to separate the snowflakes from the background, then the material has been reworked to draw out and highlight the complex paths that individual flakes follow. The artist plays with a kind of temporal depth of field in which moving objects are in focus and things that are still are blurred, and variously reveals and hides the snow's trajectories, with the flakes sometimes apparently inscribing their path, and at other times coursing through their future path like blood cells through arteries. The chaos of turbulent trajectories is in sharp contrast to the formal simplicity of the architecture and sculpture, but in fact, this complexity is largely a direct result of the encounter between these forms and the wind passing through them.

an excerpt of Plot Against Time #2 "Flurry" (2008)

Plot Against Time #3 (Insect Sonata (after Scriabin)), a single channel video, draws out the trajectories of insects in the my shady garden as they pass through beams of sunlight on a rare windless day in spring. The work's subtitle refers to early modern Russian composer Alexander Scriabin's 10th Sonata about which he wrote "My Tenth Sonata is a sonata of insects. Insects are born from the sun [...] they are the kisses of the sun."

an excerpt of Plot Against Time #3 "Insect Sonata" (2010)

Plot Against Time #4 (Atlantic Baroque), a single channel video, draws out the trajectories of gannets as they dive for fish off the coast of Newfoundland.

an excerpt of Plot Against Time #4 "Atlantic Baroque" (2011)



Plot Against Time #1, Artissimma Art Fair, Torino, Italy

Plot Against Time #1 and #2, Plots Against Time, Pari Nadimi Gallery, Toronto, Canada

Plot Against Time #2, In Between, Confederation Centre of the Arts, Charlottetown, Canada

Plot Against Time #3, David Rokeby: Recent Works, Pari Nadimi Gallery, Toronto, Canada
Plot Against Time #1, Formerly Exit Five, Kenderdine Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Canada
Plot Against Time #2, inbetween, Doris McCarthy Gallery, Scarborough, Canada

Plot Against Time #1, 2, 3, 4, Future Projections, Toronto International Film Festival, Drake Hotel, Toronto
Plot Against Time #4, Jim Campbell and David Rokeby, Pari Nadimi Gallery, Toronto, Canada

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Copyright 2010 David Rokeby / Very Nervous Systems / All rights reserved. 11/24/10