Black Maria – Scott Billings

Opening April 27th 7-12pm. Exhibition Runs April 27th – May 18th, 2012

TOPDOWN BOTTOMUP is pleased to present Black Maria, a video installation by local artist Scott Billings.

Gallery open Wednesday to Friday 12 to 6pm

Inspired by early film and the protocinematic devices of the late 18th century, Black Maria consists of a custom video apparatus that projects a crawling figure circumambulating the periphery of the gallery. Centering on issues of mobility and animality, Billings’ work often engages with the mimetic relationship between the technological apparatus and the somatic figures it propels forward. Constructed from an overturned carousel slide projector and a hacked digital camera, Billings’ idiosyncratic machine functions as camera, projector, and motion rig all in one. The repetitive crack and flash of the apparatus enacts a cinematic experience akin to war films, placing the spectator directly in the line of fire, while the indexical body in the projection—a 1:1 literal inscription of the artists spectral body in the actual space it was recorded—is dragged through the ‘mud’ of the gallery cube.

Black Maria draws its title from Edison’s first film studio.  Built in 1893 on a large turntable to maximize sunlight through the roof, Edison’s assistants nicknamed the studio the Black Maria (aka police paddywagons) due to its dark, cramped, almost prison-like working conditions.

TopDown BottomUp is a studio and artist run center founded by four UBC graduates seeking a playful environment for perpetual learning.