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‘Flow’ show, reconstructed sci-fi films at Surrey Art Gallery starting Saturday

SURREY — What does a machine see when it goes to the movies?

Artist Ben Bogart explores the head-scratching question in “Watching and Dreaming,” among three new Spring 2018 exhibits opening Saturday (April 14) at Surrey Art Gallery.

The evening reception also celebrates the opening of “Flow: From the Movement of People to the Circulation of Information” and White Rock-based artist Elizabeth Hollick’s “Body Politic,” starting at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free.

• RELATED STORY: Elizabeth Hollick’s ‘Body Politic’ revealed at Surrey Art Gallery.

Bogart’s work, featured in the gallery’s TechLab, is based on his efforts to program computers to “watch” classic sci-fi films by breaking them apart and reconstructing them.

“The resulting cinematic experience challenges viewers to consider the role science fiction plays in how we think about artificial intelligence and the constructed nature of our own perceptions,” says an event advisory from gallery staff.

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As an artist and programmer, the Vancouver-based Bogart bridges the fields of art and science. His exhibit at SAG employs three projected videos and three light boxes.

“Using complex software algorithms,” the gallery states, “his machines break the frames and sounds from three popular science fiction films into millions of image and audio fragments: Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982) and Steven Lisberger’s TRON (1982). The computers group the fragments according to similarities in size and colour to reconstruct a resemblance of the original using this data. The results are abstract tapestries or collages where the viewer may be able to pick out familiar forms, characters and props from the films, such as the silhouette of a figure walking through a darkened streetscape or sitting on a bright red couch.”

Meanwhile, the gallery’s new “Flow” show features paintings, sculptures and ceramics from its permanent collection, to highlight how “our world is marked by the ever-increasing movement of peoples, products, and ideas over vast distances and at rapid speeds.”

The more than two dozen artworks shown address themes such as transnational migration, the exchange of information and data, the force of waterways and weather systems, the physical movement of human bodies, and the transportation of materials and products to market by rail or by foot.

“Some works, like Val Nelson’s painting ‘Rush Hour 2’ (2014), draw attention to the flow of people in our cities,” the gallery says in a release. “In particular, Nelson’s work examines the relationship between the congestion of our roadways with our culture’s enthusiasm for grand detached homes and single-occupancy vehicles.

“Delving more into the movement of goods, Sara Graham’s ‘Thornton Railyard, Surrey #4’ (2015) uses miniature filigreed collage techniques to depict the contours and history of freight movement of one of British Columbia’s largest rail yards.”

Other artists featured in “Flow” include Sean Alward, Mary Frances Batut, Edward Burtynsky, Brian Howell, Haris Sheikh, Meera Margaret Singh, Jer Thorpe, Paul Wong and others.

Saturday’s opening reception at SAG includes a performance by Montreal-based visual artist Chun Hua Catherine Dong, in partnership with local collective AgentC Projects, called “Undocumented.” Dong’s performance is said to evoke “the experience of migration, the regulation of borders, and aesthetics of administration.”

• READ MORE: Phantasmagoria’ animates Surrey’s UrbanScreen after dark, until April.

Later this month, on the evening of Friday, April 27, the gallery will host an artist talk and demonstration with Alex McLeod, whose “PHANTASMAGORIA” digital-art piece is currently shown on Surrey’s UrbanScreen, on the west wall of Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre.

Beyond that, a tour of “Flow” led by SAG curator Jordan Strom will take place on Saturday, May 5, from 2:30 to 4 p.m.

Surrey Art Gallery is located at 13750 88th Ave., at Bear Creek Park. For venue and exhibit details, visit surrey.ca/artgallery or call 604-501-5566.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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'Flow' show, reconstructed sci-fi films at Surrey Art Gallery starting Saturday

Sara Graham’s ‘Thornton Railyard, Surrey #4’ is featured at Surrey Art Gallery this spring, as part of the exhibit “Flow: From the Movement of People to the Circulation of Information.”

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