There is a first time for everything

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This week we continue to feature Kelly Richardson’s work in conjunction with Kelly Richardson: Legion. According to Richardson, the impetus behind A car stopped at a stop sign in the middle of nowhere, in front of a landscape, 2001, was “arresting this moment in a sci-fi B-movie called Circuitry Man when a car, being driven by a cyborg through an otherwise empty desert landscape, stops suddenly at a stop sign, the placement of which has no function other than to serve as a one-liner within the film sequence.” Instead of merely editing the film clip and presenting it in a different context, Richardson created a video work that not only makes the filmic moment last forever, but carries the viewer through a number of conflicting sensations ranging from humor and confusion to serenity.

Sometimes, one idea can have significant impact on the course of an artist’s practice, as is the case with Richardson’s idea for A car stopped … . In order to capture and extend the moment from the film, Richardson had to combine the still image with a moving image, the sky, and the sound of an idling car. At the time, she did not own any equipment that enabled her to edit video at such a sophisticated level. But, where there is a will, there is a way. About that time, Richardson recalls: “I went to a production house in Toronto to have them quote for the job, which was $5,000. During the same time, Apple had just released computers for the home market which were the first pro-sumer machines capable of editing video. The cost to invest was a little less than $5,000. I chose to invest in my practice rather than a singular idea and set about learning basic tricks of the trade to produce this work.” And, just like that, Richardson’s ability to visually manipulate moving images was born. You can almost hear all the doors opening.

Next up: The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

Image: Detail of Kelly Richardson’s A car stopped at a stop sign in the middle of nowhere, in front of a landscape, 2001. Standard-definition digital video with stereo sound, edition of 5. Running time: 30-minute loop. Courtesy the artist and Birch Libralato, Toronto. Image courtesy the artist.

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