Many Moving and Still Works by Two Torontonians

An exhibition featuring work by Michael Snow and John Oswald that reconsiders the nature of perception, time, and temporality


Fields of Knowledge
  • Artistic legacies
  • Public culture

Organizing Institutions

International House Philadelphia, Slought


Jesse Pires

Opens to public



4017 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104


75% Formal - 25% Informal

Slought and International House Philadelphia are pleased to announce Many Moving and Still Works by Two Torontonians, an exhibition of recent work by Michael Snow and John Oswald, on display September 29-October 29, 2010 in the Slought galleries. Please join us for the opening reception on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 from 6:30-8:30pm, which will include Snoswald, a public conversation between artists Michael Snow and John Oswald beginning at 7pm. The exhibition is presented in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of International House Philadelphia and organized by Jesse Pires, Film & Music Program curator at International House.

The exhibition at Slought joins two artists of different generations whose work has explored film, video, sound, photography, and digital technology. Although this dialogue at times crosses divergent disciplines and media, the artists are in fact united by a common concern. Both Michael Snow and John Oswald offer contemporary meditations on time and temporality, through experiential works that invite us to reconsider the nature of perception.

In Many Moving and Still Works by Two Torontonians, Michael Snow, a pioneering figure in conceptual art, reinterprets his seminal work from 1967 entitled Wavelength with WVLNT: Wavelength for those who Don't have the Time (1967-2003). Responding to widely circulated, low-quality digital representations of the original film, this "rewrite" of the original version of Wavelength presents a compressed, layered version that has been reduced to one-third the length of the original. Condensation. A Cove Story, another recent video by Michael Snow featured in this exhibition, employs time-lapse photography in a similar act of compression and experiments with the viewer's temporal displacement from the passage of time. Additional works by Snow that are included in the exhibition return to installation and sculpture in exploring the material limits of video. They acknowledge the ephemeral presence of the audience in the gallery space and evolving notions of narrative.

John Oswald, an experimental artist and composer particularly known for works of appropriation, is featured in the exhibition through a series of works that join photography and video. Multi-channel projections such as stillnessence confuse the viewer's perception of time and physical space through the combination of still and moving images. Other works featured in the exhibition include The World's Smallest I-MAX Presentation, a work that reinterprets Stan Brackage and deconstructs the cinematic experience for a contemporary media landscape. It does so through an innovative appropriation of Brackage material, and in this sense can be understood in relation to Oswald's prior project entitled Plunderphonics, which was a practice of collaging found or "plundered" pieces of popular music that he developed in the late 1980s.

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Michael Snow (born December 10, 1929) is widely acknowledged as a seminal figure in structuralist filmmaking. He has also worked as a painter, photographer, sculptor, filmmaker, musician and writer since the 1950's. Scott MacDonald, writing in Film Quarterly, has remarked that "Few filmmakers have had as large an impact on the recent avant-garde film scene as Snow." Film works such as Wavelength (1967) and Back and Forth (1969) are often cited as among the most important examples of structuralist filmmaking. An elder statesman of the avant-garde, he continues to influence today's younger artists.

Although primarily known as a composer, dancer, musician and sound artist, John Oswald (born May 30, 1953) has recently exhibited numerous photographic and chronophotic works that employ various methods of movement and illumination. One of Oswald's most recognized works is Plunderphonics, an innovative and controversial example of how copyrighted audio material can be re-appropriated to create new works.