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Brian MacDonald : Video Art Therapy #1: Journey to a Distant Planet

Sat. March 6th 2010 - Wed. March 10th 2010
multimedia work by Brian MacDonald

We will be having an opening for this work on Saturday, March 6 at 9pm. The exhibition will be up from March 6 to March 10.

Video Art Therapy #1: Journey to a Distant Planet is a self-help video for those wishing to escape the stress of menial employment and day-to-day living. It is metaphorically about my journey of becoming an artist, (and the project is a collaboration with other artists who have inspired me.) By presenting the video as art therapy, I am mocking the self-help insdustry by playfully attempting to generate a therapeutic dependence in the public for my art products. In this way, similar to the character in the video, art would allow me to escape my own dependency on stressful menial employment (a common video artist's pipe dream).

However, I do believe the video can be genuinely therapeutic, partly because it has all the escapist qualities of movies and television (story, characters, music, special effects), which by distracting us from our daily worries, provide a form of relaxation. The narrator promises to take the viewer on a meditative journey, which the viewer may or may not choose to follow, but either choice will produce a psychic response, in that the person may in some small way be changed by the experience. Viewing the video without following the narrator's lead (my primary intention) may create an inner struggle that provokes critical thought, whose very nature defies passive acceptance and feelings of futility. By dispensing with the authority of a therapist, the video can either initiate a relaxation response or a change in thinking.

Ultimately, by proposing therapeutic benefits, I am questioning the value of art in relation to other experiences, especially those that offer quantifiable rewards. While art has not made me any promises or guarantees, it has greatly improved the quality of my life by giving me a sense of purpose and a community of peers.
Presented by: The Ministry of Casual Living
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