Amanda Dawn Christie


Last Days of Snow
Various locations in Atlantic Canada 2010-2011.
Video Documentation of Television Performance and installation


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:
Amanda Dawn Christie is seeking artists from across Canada with analogue TV sets and video cameras to document the last few moments of analogue broadcasts.  She is asking participants to set up a camera on their television at 11:30pm on August 31, and to vidotape (ideally with time and date on the image) until 12:30 am Sept. 1.  She hopes to collect samples from each province and territory and to then edit them into loops for gallery installation displaying the exact moment that the signals went out all across the country. Imagine a series of television sets turned on and all suddenly cutting to snow, one after the other after the other.

After this moment, those sets without digital conversion boxes, will only ever play snow and nothing more.

Amanda Dawn Christie is also seeking artists who are willing to aim their televisions out the windows playing snow to to videotape and document them as a part of the installation as well – these snowy sets aimed away from the private space stand in as signifiers for the ghosts of transmissions past.  So often we see the blue glow of a television set inside a home, and we never know what the person is watching in their private space.  Once the analogue transmissions have stopped, we will know that whatever the source of their blue glow, it is not snow.  Noise will have been removed from the private space.  The noise from the private space has been directed into the public space in one last lament for the loss of ambiguity.   One last hoorah for snow.

Production Credits
Performed, Edited and Directed by: Amanda Dawn Christie
Videography Assistant: Ainslie Moss

Exhibition History :

as an installation in progress
2010 Struts Gallery, Sackville, NB (Canada)

as a performative installation
2011 Confederation Centre Gallery, Art in the Open, Charlottetown, PEI (Canada)

















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