[Invitation text for Switzer's exhibition at Red Head, Toronto, 2001.]

 

Notes on Sharon Switzer's Time-Out

 

1. The photographic image hovers between motion and stillness.

2. Every image contains a blur, or blurring, whether perceptible or not. This blurring may be caused by movement in front of the camera, or movement of the camera itself.

3. Since photography we’ve tended to conceptualize time as a series of moments strung together. Past, present, future: the present being impossible to apprehend as it has always already become the past.

4. We cannot be in the present because the present does not exist, except in old photographs (and grammar).

5. Photographs are always old; the future can be discounted completely.

6. The enchantment of childhood derives from the possibility of magical, miraculous discovery and escape. Escape from what? The tyranny and powerlessness of childhood.

7. If nostalgia is always false, misplaced, it is nonetheless comforting.

8. Are comfort and anxiety the same thing? Only through repetition.

9. A tiny moment of transcendence repeats and repeats itself. But a transcendence that repeats and repeats is like a little death which repeats and repeats, or a partial birth which repeats and repeats (always the same part). So really there is no transcendence, only the teasing possibility that we exist in a state that might, at some moment in the future, be transcended.

10.  Is there a particularly Canadian view of the sublime? Yes. It is to look at one who is gazing into the abyss. Stand a few metres back and shrug.

11. Grammar is wrong. Nostalgia is wrong. Children may not always be wrong, but childhood is. Photography’s okay, I guess, if it's well-composed and well-exposed. Cartoons are good, and often correct (in the sense of being true and right and repetitious).

12. Every image contains a shadow, or shadows, whether perceptible or not. These shadows are premonitions that the future may indeed exist (come to pass, and pass in front of a light source).