There’s always a fair amount of process when it comes to photography. Immony Men’s exhibition currently on at Gallery 44 is no exception to this. In fact, one might say it’s all about process. I booked a lunch with him in the space where he’s been working in what looks like a mirco-office set up in the gallery’s secondary enclosed space. I asked him to share some ideas about his work to better understand it.
Tell us about the current installation at Gallery44
The current installation at Gallery 44 is titled "Taking Care of Business." It is a time-based performance that parallels the work cycle of a 9-5 office worker. I have been spending the last 27 days constructing a mural composed of ten thousand digitally printed post-its. The image that is being composed is of an office space located by John and Queen. (Toronto, Ontario)
How has this installation evolved over time?
This exhibition has been installed at several different artist-run centres in Canada. Over time I began to realize that the work process resemble that of an assembly line worker, rather than that of an office worker. Within the last year I have decided to provide a live-video feed in order to give online viewer access to the space and allow them to witness the process in real-time. At first my main focus was the physical production of the mural and to keep daily quotas, my interest is now placed on the process and the performative aspects.
How do the materials play a part in the work?
All of the installation material can be found within a typical office: Post-it notes, a consumer ink-jet printer, double sided tape, a laptop computer, etc. When I first started experimenting with digital printing and post-it, I was using images of friends and family to create portraits. Using images that I have taken of office space suited the material, and the tedious work process that is required to build this body of work.
Has the work impacted you at all?
It has definitely change how I think of routine and re-created environments. The last couple of weeks have been exhausting, I have had a lot of time to think back when I first started this project. This project has definitely changed my lifestyle and livelihood. During my undergrad I placed a lot of time working multiple part-time jobs and had very little time to devote to my art practice. I came home one evening exhausted from a shift at work, I began to wonder "What would happen if I devoted all this time and effort towards my art practice? Where would I be?" Everything has worked out fine, and I am currently a full-time studio artist.
What’s the role process plays in the work?
The process itself is a 35-day installation, where I individually print ten thousand post-it notes to construct an image. The performance is the fore front of this body work, the mural itself possess an ephemeral quality; it only exists through the duration of each exhibition. The construction of these murals are time-consuming and labour-intensive, therefore the process is important to place emphasis on the amount of work and time that is present within the exhibition space.
There are video elements to your work. Tell us about that.
There are two forms of video in this body of work. 1. The live-video feed act as a way that I can present the work to an online audience. 2. I have used photo/video time lapses as a form of video documentation for the installation. It allows people to view a four week install in three minutes.
Does location change the work?
The last couple of installs I have been shooting photographs of office spaces located in the same cities that the galleries are. I've developed an interest in the personal souvenirs that we leave behind in our working environment, and the notes we leave for ourselves. There are common threads/items that I have found in each office such as: vacations photos, language books, family photos, childhood toys, and oddly enough way too many Dilbert comics.
How are you documenting your process and also the final product?
I have been using Canon DSLR for the past six years to shoot these office spaces and to document the work. I usually have it on a tripod beside my workstation to create a time-lapse of the installation. I've used several different video camcorders in the past for the video documentation...
What have been some of your favourite reactions to the work?
My favourite reactions are usually those of curious gallery goers who wonder how long I have been working in the space, or how I came up with the idea. I love sharing stories with people, so I am quite pleased when people with questions approach me, They are usually willing to share their own interests/memories which is always great.
Looking into the future, what are some ideas you might want to build on?
I am currently collaborating with Maegan Broadhurst, we are working with the notion of collecting stories and memories, and have been exploring different approaches on how we can begin sharing them.
In addition to finding out about Immony's exhibition, I asked him ten rapidfire ART+TECH questions:
Favourite exhibition from 2011: Julie Lequin's Top 30 at YYZ.
A future technology you are most excited about: I shoot a lot of digital photographs and videos... so I'm a huge dork about DSLRs right now. I'm pretty amazed with AR Drone Parrots.
An Artist using new technology you think is interesting: Miranda July is a favourite. I enjoy her collaboration with Harrell Fletch: LEARNING TO LOVE YOU MORE a web-based project comprised of work made by the general public..
A tech gadget you would like as a gift: I would probably like a Novation Launch Pad or any midi controller. I'm not too picky...
Given an unlimited budget, an art project would you like to initiate: I would create a series of micro-grants to aid local artists fund short-term projects.
Favourite social media platform for personal use: Facebook & Instagram
A social media trend or behaviour you find irritating: Probably emoticons & frequent status updates.
The first command you would give to a personal assistant robot: Can you please get me a lamb/bacon panini. Oh! And a coffee, while you're at it.
Coffee or Tea: Coffee!
Three things you love about your job: Doing what I love to do, working with other people who love what they do and being in full control of my job.
Immony Men: Taking Care of Business is on at Gallery 44, 401 Richmond Street West, Toronto until Saturday, March 31st.
While the exhibition is on, Immony can be seen working live here.
James Fowler worked in public relations with organizations in various industries to achieve their communications goals and streamline their media messaging, monitoring and metrics. James currently maintains a fulltime studio practice in Toronto and has taken a keen interest in social media and eMarketing. He joined Akimbo last spring as Social Media Director.
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