Glide

When: Friday, February 4, 2011 from 5pm to 8pm Where: Springer Market Square, Kingston ON Admission: Free

Modern Fuel’s New Media Workspace, in collaboration with both Feb Fest and artignite, is proud to present a free outdoor screening of Aubrey Reeve’s film/video installation, Glide, in Market Square. Glide is a looping side-by-side dual-screen installation that meditates on ice-skating as a personal experience of alchemy. It is a perfect match for Feb Fest activities and the skating rink at Market Square. Glide contrasts the scientific with the poetic, asking the viewer to grapple with logical explanations of a physical experience or to surrender to its unknowable mystery. The right-hand projection is an animated loop of a lone ice skater. Over 300 drawings with India ink on watercolour paper were created to produce the animation. The fluid strokes of the skater’s motion echoes the watery brush strokes and the pools of dark glistening ink. The left-hand projection is a loop of text, which begins by describing the dispute among modern scientists over how to explain the physics of skating. The text suggests that the physical experience of going around and around the oval ice enables the skater to experience time as an infinite cycle.

Glide has a running time of 3:40 but it will be looping all Friday evening from 5pm to 8pm, so stop by any time and check out the other Feb Fest activities in the square. There will be Beaver Tails, free wagon rides, public skating, live music and much more! Coinciding with Feb Fest, artignite offers the art lover a chance to experience an eclectic mix of shows, exhibitions, concerts and art activities.

Aubrey Reeves is an artist, curator and arts manager based in Toronto, Ontario. From 2004-2008, Aubrey was the Programming Director at Trinity Square Video, one of Canada’s oldest artist-run media art centres. She has exhibited her film and video work across Canada and internationally. The 16mm film projector version of Glide has recently been exhibited at the Kasseler Documentary Film and Video Fest in Kassel, Germany, and at Ed Video in Guelph, Ontario. It will also be exhibited at the Art Gallery of Hamilton in 2012.

Artist's Statement

Glide -- Installation version The fastest way to travel on the surface of the earth by one’s own power, is by skating. Unlike running, where the front foot slows down the runner’s momentum each time it hits the ground, when skating the rear skate pushes while the front skate glides. How it is that skates can glide on ice has been a conundrum to scientists for centuries. Some theorize that pressure from the skate blades cause the surface of the ice to melt, creating a thin pool of water which acts as a lubricant to glide. It requires an extremely high pressure to melt ice but it has been proven that the amount of pressure from the weight of a skater’s body on the blades is insufficient to do so. The other theory proposes that kinetic friction from the blades raises the temperature at the surface the ice, thereby, forming the required pool of lubricating water. While scientists have found that the thickness of the pool of water is ideal for gliding at -7°C, the heat from kinetic friction is inadequate to melt the ice at all when the temperature is below -20°C. Despite this, one can still skate smoothly when it is that cold. So neither explanation is correct. Skating simply seems to defy physics. How then is skating really possible?

When it was first invented in those dark unknowing ages, people were willing to accept the inexplicable. Perhaps through the centuries, skating has continued as a vestige of our more primitive beliefs. Could it be merely a delusion that we go on believing because skating is so beautiful? How can we deny the seductive whispering of swish, swish? The gentle swaying of arms in counterpoint to the rhythm of legs? The rush of cold wind against flushed cheeks? And the calm that grows with each rotation around the oval rink. Since modern physics has so far failed to explain this mystery, we must instead allow a more primordial, instinctive science. To skate, is to simply believe in alchemy. To the alchemist, skating is a magical reality. Mined from the earth, then forged in fire, the steel blades are the elemental opposite of the ice. A union of polar energies occurs with each gliding motion. Thorough their joining, the skater undergoes a transfiguration. From a base human that once plodded heavily across the ground to become a higher body that can now fly over the surface of the ice. It is motion distilled, refined, purified.

Image: Aubrey Reeves, Glide, Looping, dual-screen projection with hand-painted animation (detail), 2009.