Last Days of Snow
Last Days of Snow is inspired by the impending death of analogue television broadcasts and the snowy static that goes with them. Within the next year, all analogue television broadcasts will come to an end, and will be replaced by digital television signals. For those who do not have a digital conversion box, this means that their old TV sets with antennae will no longer pick up decipherable signals – the only thing left for them will be static and snow – a ghost of transmissions past. For those with the new digital TV conversion boxes this means that they will no longer get static or snow – the channel will either be on or off.
For the performative aspect of this installation, Christie has been walking around various public places with a battery powered portable black and white TV picking up a mixture of snowy static and TV channels; an activity that will no longer be possible in Canada after August 31, 2011 – after that you will either only have channels, or you will only have snow, never again will the two be mixed together. There will be “useless” TV sets that get nothing more than snow for the last of their days, and then there will be the modified TV sets that either get clear broadcasts or nothing at all. Gone will be grappling with ambiguity – the sometimes frustrating albeit familiar struggle with the antenna to sift signal from noise.
We are entering a binary age of black and white; an age of signal “or” noise rather than signal “and” noise. One could argue that the shift to binary options is in fact a regression that will no longer allow for happy accidents when two channels overlap, or the signal cuts at a surprisingly synchronous moment. The unintentional overlap of multiple channels and snow were once sources of frustration, possibilities and surprise. Channels fading to snow and static introduced noise and ambiguity into preplanned transmissions that opened them up to unforeseen thought, and possibility. This shift to digital technology replaces the unexpected ambiguous interventions of analogue noise and interference with binary options of clear signal or noiseless void. These are the last days of ambiguity. These are the last days of snow.
Last Days of Snow: the performative loop aspect:
From June 2010 until August 2011, Amanda Dawn Christie has been documenting herself in various public spaces with a portable, analogue, black and white TV set. She has wandered about various locations in New Brunswick with this TV set, picking up mixed signals and noise – channels and snow – in various spaces and situations, including, but not limited too: bars, diners, train tracks, bridges, and highways. The documentation of these performances is in High Definition black and white intended to be replayed on old cathode ray monitors which could be either neatly stacked on plinths or piled haphazard in a pile on the gallery floor. The documentations can either be compiled into one single channel loop, or ideally divided up with one loop per monitor, depending on the gallery’s resources. The final exhibition format is mutable and open to discussion with the curator depending on the venues size and resources.
Last Days of Snow: the collaborative documentation aspect:
Signal to Noise:
After this moment, those sets without digital conversion boxes, will only ever play snow and nothing more.
Exhibition History :
as an installation in progress
as a performative installation