The Singing Encyclopedia

  • The Films of Sharon Cook
  • Wednesday, April 15, 8pm $2 members/ $3 non-members
  • The Red Head Gallery 96 Spadina Ave. 8th Floor

Part of Spring 1992

Presented by The Red Head Gallery & Pleasure Dome

In conjunction with Sharon Cook’s current exhibition Recent Brush Work at the Red Head Gallery, PleasureDome is pleased to present an evening of films by this muti-disciplinary artist. In addition to her visual art, Cook has produced performance pieces and musical scores, as well as a unique and unconventional collection of super-8 films. Like her other work, her films ironically reinvent folk and popular culture representations of ‘wilderness’, and the whole ‘Nature versus Culture’ dichotomy. Cook’s approach to filmmaking is often closer to the visual arts tradition of tableau than to the cinematic convention of time-based narrative. “What she is foretelling and retelling is not a narrative, but a dis-narrative: the splinters and ruptures which weave a cinematic fabric that takes as its challenge not the illusion of reality but the reality of illusion” (D. Tuer, Parachute) Cook’s films range from short vignettes – often utilizing pictographs, dioramas and cut-outs – to longer ‘live action’ works presenting open-ended series of surreal or comic tableaux that explore the mythic forms of nature and art.

Evinrude Outboard 2 min, 1982.
Footage of an outboard engine is re-shot against the northern landscape presenting an early examination of Cook’s play with representation. A vocalized imitation of a motor boat adds to the epistemological game.

Forever Yours 6 min, 1983-5.
Forever Yours is composed of a number of 3-D greeting cards of cats overlaid with a choral composition of voices which recite the banal poems that accmpany these cards. The voices join in unison to mark the occasions of death, birth, marriage and illness which prompt the use of these absurd images…” (D. Tuer)

Vesuvian Vamp II 3 min, 1985.
Lulling, mysterious short-wave transmissions, set against curling smoke and fleeting hieroglyphics, create a quiet and quixotic contmplation.

Manganese! 10 min, 1989
Manganese! is the ‘story of a struggling painter set in 19th century France, in which the painter/model relationship is ironically played out with comic jest. In the silent film tradition, live accordion accompaniment is played by the filmmaker.

Computer Notes 3 min, 1987.
Three tableaux of animals created through computerized animation that stretch the nature/culture dichotomy to its furthest limits.

The Encyclopedia of Natural Defects 35 min, 1986.

“I wanted to create a kind of singing encyclopedia, an imaginary, illogical, reference material that looks at the ‘defect’ as a positive force of nature with its ability to transform, re-create, and evlove. The film centres around a six-armed ‘oracle’ sitting in a sea-cave who ‘hosts’ a variety of vignettes, including a re-enactment of Ingres’ Odelisque. The music was composed in a traditional ‘film musical’ style with recurring musical motifs”.