Connections and Positions

Visual Artist David K. Ross Explores Space and Perspective

  • The European Rooms was shot with a slow-moving camera that takes the viewers into bedrooms, dining rooms, and hallways. Photo courtesy David K. Ross

In the quiet and dimly-lit space of the Dazibao Gallery, large projection screens show video footage; photographs and drawings are installed in their own niches—all showcasing images of largely disregarded perspectives.

Positions, presented at the Dazibao Gallery, is a collaborative collection featuring artist David K. Ross, containing three moving-image works, two of which require the use of headsets to listen to accompanying audio, and a set of sketches done by Ross himself.

Ross has been working in film and photography for seven years now, but only began the Positions collaboration a year ago.

“But at that point,” Ross said, “I had two of the films finished.”

Each piece plays with camera perspective, toying with perceptions of space in both of the films, and how sight and sound can manipulate this.

Through the use of customized lens-based tools, Ross gives his audience insight from locations that would normally be inaccessible to audience viewership, such as the wings of a theatre’s stage mid-performance, or the strange rooms of a foreign house.

Each piece of the collaborative exhibition is connected by an interest in the space being filmed, how we observe space and how it’s created.

“I tend to work with people that I know, or even with friends,” said Ross, chuckling. He was in charge of editing and post-production. “So how it went, collaborating, was good because I know what I’m dealing with.”

Every piece presented depicts something different; Théodolitique, completed sometime in 2015, is a video documenting a group of student surveyors conducting fieldwork from the point of view of a theodolite—a surveying instrument with a rotating telescope for measuring horizontal and vertical angles. Another piece, Horologica, is a set of drawings—12 in total—that show the movement of a zoetrope—a cylinder-shaped optical tool with photos inside that gives an illusion of motion when spun.

“One thing I liked about that piece was how, depending on the configuration or the orientation of the device, it either looks like a zoetrope or, in other angles, it starts to look like a telecommunication satellite,” said Ross.

“Depending on the configuration or the orientation of the device, it either looks like a zoetrope or, in other angles, it starts to look like a telecommunication satellite.” — David K. Ross

“It kind of references both the past, the present, and the future.”

Another film piece completed in 2014, The European Rooms,_ was shot with a slow-moving camera that takes the viewers into bedrooms, dining rooms, and hallways, each room boasting finely detailed interior design. These rooms are really just miniatures, courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago’s _Thorne Miniature Rooms collection.

Finally, Parados is a dual channel production—two screens display dancers during a play, shot from the left and right wings of a stage.

Certain styles of filmmaking, particularly structuralism and experimental films from the 70s, inspire Ross’s work.

“People like Michael Snow’s early work from the 70s were very influential,” Ross said. “But I wouldn’t say there is one particular person that stands out.”

The way the dancers are represented in the Parados piece share a strong connection to artists like Caravaggio, who use very strong sources of direct light in their artwork.

In addition to Positions, there is a compilation of video footage from the artists that helped Ross complete his own production called Connexions. This piece, edited by Ross, serves as an extension to Positions —a homage to said helpful artists—and is part of the Festival de Nouveau Cinéma lineup.

“The thing is, when you work on film projects, you end up having to collaborate, just because there’s often a lot of equipment to move around,” Ross said.

Dazibao plans to travel with the exhibition to a university in Texas sometime next year, according to Ross.

“That’s a kind of physical expectation that I have for it,” he said. “But my expectations are mostly around the fact that I hope that it resonates with some people, maybe shift the way they see the world.”

Positions // Dazibao (5455 Gaspé Ave.) // Ends Nov. 7 // 12h-17h // Monday to Saturday // Free

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