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David Rokeby

Machine for Taking Time (Boul. Saint-Laurent), 2006-2007

David Rokeby, Machine for Taking Time (boul. St-Laurent), 2006-2007
Machine for Taking Time (boul. St-Laurent) was commissioned by the Daniel Langlois Foundation as part of its tenth anniversary celebrations. It was on display from September 2007 to April 2009 in the lobby of the Ex-Centris complex in Montreal (3536 Boul. St-Laurent).

Two surveillance cameras positioned for more than a year on the Ex-Centris roof captured images of the area surrounding the complex and stored these images on a computer disc. The artist’s software edits the shots and merges the images seamlessly together but in a random time sequence. In the space of a few seconds, we pass from spring to autumn or from summer to the end of winter. People and cars appear and disappear as do the leaves in the trees; the light changes in an unsettling manner. As the title suggests, Machine for Taking Time is much more than a machine to record time; it is a dream machine. Here, the present does not tick away with the seconds on the clock; it is instead a moment where images of the past are fused into a reconstructed memory. From the deconstruction of time is built a present where expectation is enriched with illusion.

Jean Gagnon © 2007 FDL