Water's Edge

Jim Riley

2010, 05:30 minutes, colour


Water's Edge speaks not only of the connection between land and water but a conceptual metaphor of location and time in our perceptual memory. The installation uses land and water as a metaphor about barriers and how differences may be resolved.

Humans spend time at the water's edge, but, as land creatures, we tend to visit only the surface edge and not to wander too far inside the watery world. We peer through a portal opening and gather what we may, as if we were visiting a new location. We dip into various aspects of the community, and then we leave. We perceive and retain certain memories that combine in our minds perhaps with other memories to create a new reality – a reality that may not always match the resident's way of perceiving the same location. Gulls may act as conduits between land and water worlds. They are more at home at the water's edge than are humans. In this installation, gulls exist as a realistic representation within the video, and as painted, interpretive imagery outside the video portal. The spirit of the gull can transcend the cold, concrete community barriers that separate us. A linear drawing of a gull's spirit floats across the painted and video surfaces and unites the two realities. Gulls represent those positive forces that may transcend difficulties in understanding between communities, countries and people. They are capable of uniting differing perspectives. The audio consists of meditative sounds of gulls and waves lapping at the shoreline. Possible variations on the site specific installation may include three cut out, painted gulls in various stages of flight hung on a painted wall surface. The video is projected on to the painted surface and appears as a portal. A found object beach chair sits within the installation space inviting the viewer to sit and ponder the moving images through the portal. The video may also be projected as an installation on its own.

Looped single channel installation (5:09) or single channel screening (5:30).

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