Time, Space & Light: The Photographic Memories of Jason Britski & Ian Toews

WNDX: Winnipeg’s Festival of Film & Video Art
Thursday October 4, 2007

  • Curated by Cecilia Araneda and Solomon Nagler

Traveling around the world with their films and yet remaining in their prairie hideaway, Jason Britski and Ian Toews initiated their filmmaking exploits when the both enrolled in the Univerity of Regina’s Film Production program. Though they work independently of each other, their work collectively has come to define an aesthetic that has been recognized as distinctly from the Canadian prairies, where landscape is the starting point is a starting point for the evolution of photographic memories. Sharing a distinctly prairie concern for the texture of their images, their award-winning shorts are shot on various formats, including Super-8, 16 mm and pixelcam.

Trans?xed | Jason Britski – SK | 2 mins | 2001 – 16 mm, optical sound
“Trans?xed” is a meditative ? lm that celebrates the beauty found within the small details of existence.

Ripples in the Snow | Jason Britski – SK | 8 mins | 1999 – 16 mm, optical sound
“Ripples in the Snow” is a ?lm that deals with the issue of remembrance. Memory, in its various interpretations, is the focal point for the ?lm, which is supported for a concern for structure and photography. In addition, the ?lm is on a basic level a document of my in?uences (the prairie landscape, ?lmmakers Michael Snow, Richard Kerr, David Rimmer, Bruce Elder, and also my family).

Four Corners | Ian Toews – SK | 6 mins | 1998 – 16 mm, optical sound
A structuralist ?lm evoking the terror and confusion that the ?lmmaker experienced when within the invisibly radioactive landscapes of the Southwestern United States. “Without using words or sensational imagery, this ? lm makes a powerful statement in communicating the horror of environmental pollution” – 30th Tampere International Short Film Festival

Japan: Kesei Line Single Take | Ian Toews – SK | 5 mins | 2001 – DV
This ?lm is part of an ongoing series of 16 mm ?lms simply called Japan. “Kesei Line Single Take” is a visual poem; its imagery of passing Japanese landscape, at times like that of an Abstract Expressionist painting. The entire ?lm is comprised of one take – there are no cuts, no camera moves, and no exposure, focus, or shutter adjustments.

Negation | Jason Britski – SK | 3 mins | 1996 – Beta SP
“Negation” is an attempt to create an abstract document of my immediate surroundings in my home – Regina, Canada. During production there was one restriction while shooting – everything had to be shot in a 10 block radius from my house. The use of negative B/W imagery was utilized in an attempt to “look” at my familiar surroundings from a different perspective, and I felt that this formal choice would provide a more accurate representation of the location being documented.

Shoulders on a Map | Jason Britski – SK | 4.5 mins | 2004 – 16 mm, optical sound
“Shoulders on a Map” is a ?lm about travel, form, and essentially my thoughts at the time towards Canada as a nation. It is the third part in a series of North American landscape ?lms that I have been shooting since 2003. The central aim of the ?lm is to formally examine the Rocky Mountains on Super 8 ?lm. Simple formal devices are utilized in creating this portrait.

You would make a good lawyer | Jason Britski – SK | 4.5 mins | 1999 – 16 mm, optical sound
“You would make a good lawyer” is a ? lm that deals with issues of being employed within our social construct. The nature of employment often seems to con? ict with basic desires that cannot be met without such an obligatory arrangement. Within the workplace I found a way to rediscover myself, despite my obligation. In photographs, I found a way of successfully dealing with my “captor.” The Tiger cannot escape, and neither can we. It all depends on how you deal with your own particular situation. The title itself is taken from a fortune that I kept receiving from fortune cookies, which seemed to capture the irony of my predicament perfectly.

Hot Under the Collar | Jason Britski – SK | 3 mins | 2007 – Beta SP
“Hot under the Collar” is an experimental video that examines the imagery of the Kodak “Shirley” test patterns. An examination of the “male gaze”, the evolution of ? lm and video, and obvious formal considerations constitute the foundation for Hot under the Collar. The “Shirley” test patterns are disappearing as ? lm and video evolve, and this video is a homage to all that these iconic women represent to the history of the cinema.

Fragile | Jason Britski – SK | 4 mins | 1997 – Beta SP
“Fragile” is a video that deals primarily with theories of remembrance through a simple formal examination of the texture, rhythm, and color of a city at night. Shot on HI-8, this video deals primarily with the relationship that is created between the abstracted imagery, and the linear soundtrack that records my mother reading to my sister and myself as children.

Opening of Japan | Ian Toews – SK | 18 mins | 2006 – 16 mm, optical sound
Shot, edited and ? nished on 16 mm over a 6 year period, this image-driven ? lm examines the history of Japan since American trade contact began in 1843.