Nomadic Noise Residency Collaborators

James Gardner - Artist


Toronto, Canada


James Gardner makes things. Sometimes by himself, sometimes with people cavorting around calling themselves VSVSVS. (this doesn't exist) twitter: @VS_VS_VS facebook: V S V S V S  



road trips, paintings and aporiasNomadic Residency Adventure #2

I have been looking at paintings of JF Lauda, in the VS Gallery right now.–pimps-and-fishmongers

He also just had a book made; a well constructed document from hong kong or something -but its title is Aporia.

This was one of my favourite words when I was younger, and have not thought of it much recently. I remember writing it a lot, kind of, or drawing it I guess. Sitting in class in high school filling the margins with its proportions and curves. Meaning aside, I just thought it was an aesthetically great form-for a word-and the meaning wasnt to bad either:

(although I still wouldnt know how to use it in a conversation)

Anyway, looking at his paintings in the gallery, I was thinking of how they were made, as I often do, picturing the artist in a room, generally on his own and making these certain marks and actions.

Today I drove to Cambridge and had sometime to think about it a bit more, but specifically related to being in the world, and the difference between the motions and actions we do all day in comparison with the motions and actions we do while we are making things. The difference between them seems somehow more of a sanctification of space then physically discernible movements. Our gestures are allowed to become more meaningful, because we designate the space to the making of things that mean, which is different from filling up a van with gasoline. But when we do demarcate the space, whether by a door to a studio, or a certain poise that comes from making art in relational or public spheres. Our actions mean more by a simple act, an altered way of being, allows us to imbue objects with more and more meaning. It seems to me that when this demarcation is made, our consciousness is somehow altered, and the space of the physical plane is changed, thinned, the first veil lifted.  I think this is why in magical operations, or procedures for casting spells, or whatever you want to call it, it is tradition to draw a circle around the area in which the operation is to occur. It is a certain, and simple way, to modify our everyday consciousness. A momment of demarcation to sanctify space.

What this leaves me with is a certain feeling of Aporia, if i’m using that word correctly. It makes me somehow question the validity of my ideas. Which made me think about this in relation to my last post, and the idea of accidental magic. I suppose that if it is possible  for this idea about magic to work, a certain demarcation is needed. Maybe if cannot be just street noise mingled with gibberish and a low hum. The space needs to be sanctified. The consciousness of the doer need be in the right place, and the observers to need to have a certain level of credulity present in their experience of these moments.


I wonder I wonder

Thoughts on Noise and Accidental Magic.Nomadic Residency Adventure #1

Put this knowledge in your brain:

Watch it all if you have the time, but for a bit of focused context try 2:54.

I have been into some weird topics of research lately. As a result of my face being buried in esoteric books, it seems hard to have the space around me not tinged with occult colourings and ideas of cosmic correspondences, even if I take these notions with a grain of salt, and am distanced by critical rigour and scepticism.  Walking around strange spaces in downtown Toronto, in silence, was of course not an exception. I found ideas that I had only been applying to visual culture (and in my research, paintings specifically) colliding with thoughts about the city and the seemingly chaotic mess of noise it produces.

I came to these topics through painting mostly, and a desire to understand some images I had found in some books, but my reading has deviated…or rather I have slid into an abyss of occult knowledge and ways of thinking.  Recently I have been trying to understand ‘magic’ – not rabbits out of hats, or

but ‘magic’ in an occult sense, in a ancient mythological sense.  Like

that (I know, I know, a little hokey..but you catch my drift).

More specifically I have been trying to understand its mechanisms and how these cosmic influences were understood by adepts, initiates, alchemists, philosophers, and the like and how they were thought to function through forms of representation -spells, talismans, sculptures, paintings, and yes, even in music – on a mundane level to affect change, or to at least have some sort of agency.

I was just reading a chapter from Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum (fiction, I know,   but relevant):

“…It is known that the Chaldean priests operated sacred machines by sounds alone, and the priests of Karnack and Thebes could open the doors of a temple with only their voice-and what else could be the origin, if you think about it, of the legend of Open Sesame?” (Page 242)

Magic can be enacted in many ways and  sound is no exception. The mythology of Orpheus comes to mind:

So. What about noise, what about the city?

The workings of magical practices (or so I am coming to understand them – prove me wrong please) are largely grounded in precise actions that rely on strict observation of number, astrological placements, and proportion, as Donald Duck gave you a taste of with Pythagoras’ divine proportions. But what if an unceasing tumultuous cacophony of sound, as I keenly observed in the dirty alleys and parking lots of Toronto, accidentally brought some proper proportions together in the right place at the right time? A car horn bleats over the the sputtering buzz of a radiator in the key of A sharp and Saturn just so happened to be in Aries conjuncting with Mercury while the drunk drinking Sherry behind a dumpster is spouting gibberish over the deep base of some hip hop track.  smoke and lights and he just changed the structure of the universe with his ramblings, but no one notices.

More to come from these silly notions, but on an end note:

(turn your speakers up)