Cheryl Pagurek

2007, 08:23 minutes, colour, English (with Yiddish)


Passage evokes several layers of time and place through video imagery and sound. Its ephemeral quality evokes the ‘present-ness’ of the disappearing past, referencing the artist’s familial history through archival film footage. Separate yet connected narratives unfold: Present-day video footage follows richly coloured light and shadow patterns appearing inside and outside Pagurek’s house throughout the course of the day, from the cool blue-purples of morning light to the warm oranges of early evening. Meanwhile, black and white archival film footage provides fleeting glimpses of Jewish life during the early part of the last century - everyday life in pre-World War 2 Eastern Europe, and the immigration of some to ghettoized urban life in North America. Amongst these fragments of an earlier era we recognize women at market, hands sewing, immigrants disembarking from a ship, street scenes. At the same time, the accompanying soundscape situates us simultaneously in the past and present, in domestic and public spaces. The rhythm of the daily activities and interactions of Pagurek’s contemporary family unfolds through sound, while the passage of time through the day is tracked from the song of birds at dawn to the late night chirping of crickets. A past era is made more immediate through the sounds of horse-drawn wagons, marching troops, spoken Yiddish and traditional melodies. By interweaving multiple, coexistent narratives Passage contemplates present experience in relation to the past.

In addition to the screening version, Passage can be presented in an installation format, projected onto the gallery wall and looping continuously. The large scale engulfs the viewer in shadow, light, and sound, accentuating a sense of immediacy and intimacy with the imagery that includes haunting larger-than-life faces, while the repeating loop emphasizes the cyclical nature of the passage of time through the day.

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