TL;DR is an interactive, kinetic, electronic media installation that tracks and plots movement on light-sensitive surfaces. In the simplest of sense, TL;DR mimics a radar screen in both function and appearance. Motorized arms sweep light sensitive surfaces and make temporary marks on surfaces as related to viewer’s position. The plots are ephemeral and fade quickly leaving only a trace residue of activity. Continual physical presence is required to keep one’s record active. TL;DR is experimental work that is, for the most part, constructed and installed in-situ so as to consider the physical environment and nature of the exhibition space.
We live in an age of immediacy and brevity where everything from the important to the mundane, and the emotive, is instantly conveyed through abbreviation, within character limits, and most often via the discarnate. Our virtual selves are buoyed in sea of algorithms that auto-correct our dearest thoughts, geolocate our movements, and endlessly construct our extended personas. TL;DR seeks to find an intersection between abbreviation, the virtual, and the digital as that which has replaced the considered, the physical, and the inter-personal —or the actual.
Themes about surveillance and control are implicit with TL;DR. In a sense, the work could be interpreted as a Huxleyan warning. TL;DR is presented as a sort of entertainment that if left unquestioned suggests some sort of compliance. As written in the forward of Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death, “… in Huxley’s vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think. […and] that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism.” As former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya put it when speaking at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit in October 2016, “I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of … society. The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works.”
You are not here is a series of works that explores the possibilities of place or what it means to be somewhere, actual or otherwise, and then the complexity, perhaps impossibility of how this can be determined and acknowledged.
Some of the motivations for You are not here are drawn from Northrop Frye's observation on the problematic of Canadian identity as less of a question of “Who am I?” and more so that of “Where is here?” By questioning physical location, a sense of identity can be linked to geography and then subsequently to landscape. A contemporary view of place or location is then complicated by digital and virtual landscapes and the infinite variations of identity within these environments. In order to contend with these discarnate possibilities, You are not here considers algorithms as steps to approach the problematic; whether this is accomplishing a simple task, transiting locations, or the complex digital patterns that govern our every-day.
In keeping with the approach of steps, the works in You are not here are numbered and titled one through six, with the exception of "You are not here". The returning image of the lone caribou is a sort of memento mori: the reminder of mortality, or simply an acknowledgment of the hand-rendered nature of each work. The drawing "You are not here" is in some sense akin to a large plastic panel mall floor-map with a dot and caption that reads: You are here. The negative read in: “You are not here” questions location and is a reminder of the gap between producer and public, and even between the artist and the completed work. “You are not here” also plays with the title of Rene Daalder’s documentary, Here is Always Somewhere Else about Dutch artist Bas Jan Ader. The intent here is a further reminder of mortality as Daalder deals with the untimely passing of Ader, and if nothing else, the all too common end of relationships.
Market Price - NBYXE16 (Nuit Blanche) Saskatoon SK - 2016
Saturday, October 1st, 7pm-Midnight
Weigh yourself and friends on an industrial livestock “single animal” scale. Pile on as many people at a time in hopes of reaching the weight of a single cow: 2400lbs. Determine your personal market price in the context of Nuit Blanche YXE. Supported by Paved Arts.
Curated by Wayne Baerwaldt, Nuit Blanche Saskatoon 2016 (NBYXE16) will explore the theme ‘CREATIVE CUISINE AS AGENT OF CHANGE.’ Artist projects will encompass a wide range of unique approaches to the subject of food. Staged throughout Victoria Park and the river landing, the event is free of charge and open to all ages. Visit the Nuit Blanche website for a map and further details.
Site, Sight, Cite
Site, Sight, Cite - Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina SK, 2017
Bruce Montcombroux’s exhibition considers what it means to be somewhere – how we inhabit, observe, and describe a place. His drawings and sculptures depict cobbled-together structures that combine elements from physical, textual, and digital realms. Motivated in part by Northrup Frye’s statement that Canadian identity can be summed up in the question “where is here?” Montcombroux’s works explore identity, geography, landscape, and place-making in the 21st century.
Curated by Blair Fornwald, Assistant Curator
No Overnight Camping
No Overnight Camping, Hamilton Artists Inc., Hamilton ON (two-person) - 2013
Catalogue excerpt —Irene Loughlin
Bruce Montcombroux’s ‘merzbau’ related works, feature (as Kurt Schwitters defined) “the combination, for artistic purposes of all conceivable materials”. Each sculpture consists of three parts which are read in descent along a strong, vertical axis. The upper third of the sculptures feature nautical references to sails, rigging, etc. ensconced within industrial and communication artifacts reminiscent of satellite and radar dish components. These amorphous sailing instruments are perched atop small, faux polygonical landscapes composed of synthetic turf, wood coverings and miniature model trees. Model train diorama and video game elements traverse the compromised terrain of the sculptures’ central axis. The sculptures’ subterrain is invoked through the addition of a final section containing what Montombroux describes as “add-ons or meta-stories, keels, rudders etc.”
Montcombroux has grouped five such sculptures – The New Babylon Satellites - which hang tenuously from the ceiling with fishing wire. It is as if each piece was sculpturally set to sail knowing that their predetermined destiny is an encounter.There is still, however, the feeling of arrested surprise in this meeting. The sense of surprise is somewhat analogous to the fact that despite many years of warnings, the actual effect of global warming will arrive as a shock. The diorama assumes the kind of contemplative stillness of a phantom ship assemblage, a configuration of the ill-fated search for a utopia within nature which culminates in a confrontation with arrested expectation. The construction and materials of the work particularly reference the exploratory visioning of the artisan, craftsman and architect, who first imagined the technology of launching their utopian proposals upon the waters and land of the world. The sculptures further indicate the failure of utopian desire by the contemporary elements of industrial and communications waste embedded within the sculptures’ constructions. Such industrial interventions within the sculptures “allude to ideas of the synthetic and natural, and about our incursion into nature and the sustainability of that disruption.” (Montcombroux, 2013)
Performing Sculpture: SubArctic Improv & Experimental Arts #12, Edmonton AB - 2017
Each month at SubArctic, the artists improvise together into uncharted territory across their respective media. The result is an artistic alchemy unique to each show, every month’s show different from the last. A treat for anyone who thinks that they have seen it all!
Co-curated by Jen Mesch and Allison Balcetis, these unique events combine forces of local and visiting artists, who share with the audience to a melange of dance, visual art, music, and text. A treat for anyone who thinks that they have seen it all.
February 18th, 2012 - Lake Nipissing, North Bay ON. co-produced by the White Water Gallery, Near North Mobile Media Lab and Aanmitaagzi
Ice Follies is a Festival that celebrates art by presenting a series of arts installations on Lake Nipissing. Over the past decade Ice Follies has become a signature event for both North Bay, and the North-Eastern region as a whole. Ice Follies appears to the visitor as a strange assemblage of dwellings and structures placed across the ice along North Bay’s waterfront. This eccentric community of artworks and architectural creations echo the community of ice fishing shacks found elsewhere on the lake. Ice Follies 2012 will be the fifth biennial of site specific multi-disciplinary artwork to take place on Lake Nipissing.
Participating Artists: Brian Bertrand – North Bay, ON Bruce Montcombroux – Saskatoon, SK Peter Hargraves – Winnipeg, MB Michael Allgower – Hamilton, ON Laura Hale – Regina, SK
Les Choses Sont Contre Nous
Les Choses Sont Contre Nous, AKA Artist Gallery Inc., Saskatoon SK - 2011
Initially working via virtual collaboration with two invited artists from national and international destinations, Montcombroux will explore ideas and methods towards completing a collaborative installation using a combination of sculpture, interactive kinetic elements, and architectural intervention. Moving from the limitations of virtual activity to the compilations, and complications of actual activity, Montcombroux and his collaborators will seek to create a visual translation of their various experiences by engaging the gallery as a space of social interaction with all of its implied support structures and systems.
Harbourfront - York Quay Centre, June 19 - September 19, 2010
COMBINE situates the works of 18 artists throughout York Quay Centre. The title joins two iconic references – the image of the mighty prairie farming machine and the assemblages first created by Robert Rauschenberg – a hint to where the artists are from and what they are up to. Participating artists were selected for their mutual understanding of how the amalgamation of disparate objects and images can create new stories and meanings.
Featuring works by Joi T. Arcand, Amalie Atkins, Tyler Brett, Ian Campbell, Bruce Montcombroux, Clint Neufeld, Alison Norlen, Paul Atkins, Wally Dion, Clark Ferguson, Robert Froese, Erin Gee, Michelle LaVallee, Nancy Lowry, Julie Oh, Stacia Verigin, Serena McCarroll and Lee Henderson. - Curated by Patrick Macaulay.
Unplanned Architecture, Neutral Ground, Regina SK - 2012
Andreas Buchwaldt Dagmar Genda Bruce Montcombroux T + T (Tyler Brett and Tony Romano)
Within artistic production, architecture is a discussion about society and interactions, while within the discourses of capitalism, architecture is a commodity, whose production rises and falls according to periods of growth or recession. "Unplanned Architectures" looks at artists' representation of the architectural plan in our current state of global instability and uncertainty.
Kenderdine /College Art Galleries, Saskatoon SK - 2009
Reconstruction explores the possible interpretations of invention and fabrication. Bruce Montcombroux looks at how ideas can be materialized into tangible objects, while simultaneously evoking more ephemeral notions of fiction or deception.
Reconstruction sources news stories, current events, conflicts and the flux of relationships. The narrative potential is about second-hand information, memory fragments, or types of mnemonics whose original reference has been lost or obscured. In a do-it-yourself, home-built version of high technology, the mechanical and the body are pushed together in an uneasy relationship.