Near Fields (2017) is an amorphous environment that belies the solid materiality of the building's architecture, positioned in the heights of the gallery space above the viewers, where the illusion of pooling luminous, liquid and gaseous substances is created. Projecting video onto the surface of massive inflated plastic forms simultaneously calls to mind the weightlessness of clouds, and the weighted pull of stalactites. The projected video content is a combination of shot footage, hand drawn and 3D animation, to create a mercurial substance that draws upon celestial, molecular, oceanic, synaptic and neural imagery. The inflated forms are modular, positioned at different vertical levels. The structures are formed with a lightweight plastic, inflated by 12V DC computer fans. The fans are controlled by an inaudible audio signal that is embedded within the video content. The fans turn on and off throughout the duration of the video, causing a gentle undulation that allows the environment to change shape throughout the event, as though breathing. The synchronization of the multi-channel video signals and fans create the appearance of the substance filling a cloud like form, overflowing and spilling into another form at a lower height, as a tiered structure.

A collaborative work by Norton + Yates (Jenn E Norton and Steph Yates) commissioned by the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery. Thank you to the Ontario Arts Council for their exhibition assistance support.


Photo credit: Robert McNair