Sculpture & Installation

Weighting Light, 2015
Weighting Light, 2015, Stereoscopic Video Installation, 5 min

A stereoscopic projection of a figure that seemingly carries the weight of its own existence above its shoulders. Inspired in part by the art nouveau designer François-Rupert Carabin’s motif of women providing structural support in decorative furnishings, Weighting Light creates the illusion of the video’s content supporting the actual weight of the emitting technology. A CGI animation of a woman, standing as a mercurial caryatid, holds a shelf above her head, which supports the very source of her likeness, the projector itself. The projection aims outwards, towards a mirror that reflects the image back to the wall, producing the figure’s image.

Arms Reach, 2015
Arms Reach at Centre Bang, Installation Detail, 35 minute animation displayed on 20 MicroTiles
Installation Detail, 35 minute animation displayed on 20 MicroTiles

Arms Reach depicts a haptic labyrinth, specifically created for a custom configuration displayed on Christie Digital MicroTiles. Pain, tactility, and thermoception are guides in this maze that can only be solved through touch, accompanied by a haunting score by musician Bry Webb.

Jenn E Norton: Dredging a Wake
On view June 28, 2014 to January 4, 2015
Dredging a Wake activates video art, projections and sculptures in magically interactive ways. Norton’s immersive installation works challenge visual perception, asking viewers to suspend their disbelief via illusionary images that move and reflect in enigmatic ways.Precipice is a round room that visitors can enter to find a virtual office space, a projection of swirling water and swimmer circling the perimeter. The swimmer displaces the virtual objects in the room, sweeping them up in the flow of the water, inciting disorientation and synesthesia in the viewer. Doline is an arrangement of mechanical sculptures made from severed office fixtures that turn slowly in a darkened room, to the soundtrack of stories about dreams and the sensation of falling. Doldrums uses mirrors and a projector to experiment with 3D stereoscopic views and an infinite reflection of the viewer.
Jenn E. Norton is an early career artist based in Guelph. This is her first major exhibition in a public gallery. She has been described as “a wizard of simple but magical video compositing, creating brilliant collage spaces,” by award-winning filmmaker, curator and critic, Chris Gehman. Her video work has been described as “kinetic, totally charming, magical, [and] emo-conceptual” by Border Crossings art critic Lee Henderson. Her recent works have decidedly delved into the intuitive, imaginative and emotive process of image making.
This piece was commissioned within the Interactive Digital Media Incubator program at the Art Gallery of Hamilton, which was made possible with the generous support of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport and the Museums and Technology Fund.
Mirador, is an aerial voyage across a pastiche landscape, borrowed from the rural southern Ontario countryside and the route from Whitehorse to Dawson City, stitching these disparate vistas together with the composite glue of post-production. Architectural structures of leisure displaced from Western culture creep up on the horizon, strangely at home in this hybrid lieu, blending in with the manmade scars of mining and agriculture. Proposition or foreboding vision, the view is simultaneously eerie and whimsical in its disjunctive state.
Mirador-Carpet.jpgMirador 4
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Mirador 2Mirador
Les Soeurs du 21e ciècle/21st Century Fox Sisters
21st Century Fox Sisters_poster
     The installation the 21st Century Fox Sisters is an interactive space where the Fox sisters, famous mediums of the 19th Century, are re-imagined as producers and directors of a multi-media spectacle. The Fox Sisters were influential mediums that arguably spearheaded the Spiritualist movement. Margaret and Kate Fox were young girls when they began performing séances under the guidance of their sister Leah. They wielded a power over their audiences with their phantasmagoric skills that earned them international celebrity, a place amongst Victorian socialites of Europe and North America. The girls were subject to the consequences of fame. Upon pressure from her Catholic fiancé, Margaret publicly decried their practice as fraudulent, and the sisters fell from favour. Margaret and Katy died penniless.
       The installation Les Soeurs Fox du 21e siècle re-imagines the sisters as producers of multimedia productions. Characters representing the sisters tell their story to a small audience within the installation space, through a pre-cinema illusion called Pepper’s Ghost. A two-way mirror separates the video projection and the viewer, creating two rooms: one that the viewer occupies and a hidden room that provides the illusion. In the reflection, it appears that the viewer is in a shared space with the Fox sisters. This illusion is pushed further by a second mirror that is positioned behind the viewer, creating a mise en abyme. This is a disorienting aspect that causes a visceral experience when in the room. The lighting of the viewer and the lighting in the video are similar, blending the characters and the viewers in silhouette, making everyone a character upon a cinematic stage.
      The video triggers a device that bangs on the walls of the installation when the sisters describe the technique to create convincing ‘rappings’. By imposing the past upon the present with women who lend their bodies to spirits in order to hold a captive audience, parallels are drawn between covert feminism of the Victorian era and 3rd Wave Feminism.  Pairing pre-cinema technologies used in phantasmagoric displays with contemporary interactive video, viewers find themselves within a mise en abyme structure where the virtual and actual appear to share a single space.

Kinetic sculpture activated by the viewer’s presence.

The two sided embossed card of a bird spins, revealing both the innards and skeleton as well as the plumage of the bird in a single, ephemeral third image.
This work references the 19th Century thaumotropes, an pre-cinema example of the persistence of vision.
This work is a collaborative effort of Christy Langer (sculptor) and Jenn E Norton (interactivity, electronics).
Les Poupées Russes

Les Poupées Russes is a two channel video installation that utilises a mise en abyme structure. On opposing sides of the gallery space are video projections of a film set. One side is the image of the subject from the point of view of the camera; the other projection is the equipment used on film set. Side one is the image of the subject from the point of view of the camera; the other is an image of the camera and camera person from the point of view of the subject. The subject is the artist sitting in a chair, waiting for “Action” to be called. Save the film equipment, there is no detail of the space. All subjects and objects inhabit a white void; there is no horizon, no foreground or background. The camera person, also played by the artist, traverses from one wall to the other (from one projection to the other) to adjust equipment. The footsteps are audible through surround sound. The simulated environment creates a virtual/psychological space within the gallery suggesting this ‘void’ inhabits the space of the viewer. There is a continuous zoom throughout the entirety of the loop: the zoom distances itself from the subject and the mirror and into the monitor’s feed. In one continuous shot, the loop is structured in a Mobius Strip, traversing from one projection to the other, timed to reflect each other as the loop overlaps. Action is never called.

Driving In
A video installation created specifically for ‘The World’s smallest Art Gallery’ in Elora, Ontario. The gallery space, a parked Chevrolet Caprice Classic, becomes a reverse drive in movie-theater. The rear window of the station wagon is the projection screen that one would normally see through the windshield of a drive in. In this the Caprice is transformed from a stationary car into a prop within a traveling narrative comprised of scenery and eerily devoid of human characters. The scenery, reminiscent of footage that would traditionally be used as a backdrop to a plot line for b-movies of the Golden Era Hollywood films, is featured in ‘Driving In’. The fantastical landscape is created through the use of nostalgic cliché film effects, once a magical spectacle, no longer has the ability to evoke the suspension of disbelief. In the rear view mirror the reflected image is unaffected, using the rough footage that of the fantastical imagery seen through the windshield. Through technological hindsight the spectacle becomes transparent, the curtain comically pulled.

Teetering on the Void
Referencing the striking Yves Klein photograph, Teetering on the Void is the hesitation at the decisive moment which separates danger and safety, risk and the known. Unlike Klein’s resolute grand gesture, there is a self-aware apprehension, displaying the awkwardness of indecision. Version 1 of “Teetering on the Void” exists as an installation specifically created to be adaptable within an urban landscape. The rectangular frame of the projection is obscured by spun glass placed near the lens of the projector, creating the illusion that the illuminated body exists without a video frame. The image of the teetering body intended to be placed at the edge of a building, window ledge or any surface that creates the illusion of precariousness, in which the projected body could fall onto the street below.

Video Projection, Public installation and gallery version

Teetering on the Void Version 2 places the body into the original Klein background of a quiet street in Paris. The background has been altered in “Teetering on the Void” as the sun sets, stars replace the stark overcast sky as the wind gently rustles through the leaves. The passer-by, a casual cyclist, is now in motion and occasionally makes an appearance cycling through the frame. After a time, the sun rises again, but the artist continues to teeter on the windows
ledge. The passage of time within the loop occurs in a fraction of our own, yet the sensation for the viewer is that it is somehow expanded, as this physical mantra of hesitation is seemingly infinite. The push/pull sensation of the these two realms, the actual compression of time and the psychological expansion of time, are punctuated by the occasional ‘doubling’ of the artist’s body. Version 2 is projected as a portrait, rather than landscape by turning the projector on its side. It should be projected slightly larger than actual size (to scale) and the bottom edge of the frame touches the ground level.
Losing Sheep
A kinetic painting in which sheep are born and eaten in an arching comic and tragic gesture, as though the viewer was counting sheep that are doomed for the slaughter house.  The bucolic, American folk character, Little Bo Peep hardly seems to mind sending her flock into the wide jaws of a hungry wolf. (DC motor, power supply, wood, guitar strings, acrylic paint, frame)
Student in a Locker
Student in a Locker is the implied existence of a physical person, through video and electromechanical devices. What the visitor initially believes to be a real being trapped in the locker is in fact a mechanical construction imitating the characteristics of a physical person – a voice, physical appendages and the expression of anger and desperation. Eventually, after unsuccessfully trying to aid the being in its emergence, the visitor gives up and separates from the locker. On one channel of a stereo audio track that the viewer cannot hear, timed tones trigger a solenoid to pound on the locker’s door. Upon the quick realization that the ‘student’ is video, there is a disjunctive sensation between the presence that physically shakes the locker and the ephemeral voice calling for help.
Memory Trunk, 2012
Soft Sculpture, Needle Felting & Memory Foam

Confined to a small a box resembling a diary under lock and key, a squashed elephant pops out when released by the viewer, and slowly retains its original shape.

There are markers and pens within the school bag to draw and write in a sketchbook. As the exhibition travels, the schoolbag becomes full of memory and messages shared by the viewers.

A special project by Daisuke Takeya. Traditional Japanese school bags were transformed to mobile exhibition spaces. Over 30 Canadian artists made work for the modified school bags that children bring to public spaces to display the works in areas of Japan affected by the 2011 tsunami and earthquake.

Bear Chair, Kangaroo Pad
Mixed Media, 2001
Sculptures mechanically embrace viewers when seated and entered, Bear Chair holds an individual viewer when seated and releases when the viewer rises to stand.  The seat warms the viewer with an internal heater and vibrates.  Kangaroo Pad‘s pouch provides an illuminated leopard print shelter/lounge area large enough for two average adult sized viewers.