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00:00 : A white “X” appears against a black background.
00:15 : The camera rotates as it moves along different axes. It shows rocky ground covered in ochre grass, and then a pale blue sunny sky dotted with clouds. From time to time, the sun and the shadow of the apparatus that controls the camera come into view. Faint, high-pitched pulsating noises punctuate long, fairly loud sound waves.
02:32 : The camera movements continue. The sound waves stop, leaving only the high-pitched pulsating noises.
02:48 : The rhythmic sounds and the camera movement slow.
03:07 : A white “X” appears against a black background.
(b. Toronto 1928)
La région centrale (excerpt)
[The Central Region]
16mm film, colour, sound, 180 min
Purchased in 1974
National Gallery of Canada, 30983
Courtesy of the artist
© Michael Snow
La région centrale [The Central Region] depicts a deserted landscape north of Sept-Îles, Quebec, filmed at different times of the day from varying angles at fluctuating speeds. Mounted on a rotating robotic arm, the camera swirls in ever-changing movements that disorient and dizzy the viewer. The soundtrack is composed of intermittent mechanical sounds that recall a far-off train whistle. Exploiting the technical and creative possibilities of the camera and editing in La région centrale, Michael Snow produced a new take on a staple of Canadian art history: the landscape genre.
Toronto-based Michael Snow is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice is characterized by a variety of mediums and techniques that span the visual arts, experimental film and music. Snow uses the mechanisms of each means of expression to create self-referential works, in which the making of the piece becomes the subject. A pioneer of multimedia art, Snow is best known for his experimental films and videos, which are widely shown and hailed on the international art scene.