Under the Rainbow: The Films and Videos of Michael Robinson

Friday July 13th, 8:00pm – 10:00pm

SAW Courtyard, 67 Nicholas Street


Community partners: Inside Out Ottawa LGBT Film Festival & Dorothy’s Closet


The films and videos of Michael Robinson evoke the surreal and hallucinatory terrain of dreams, which can suddenly and unexpectedly turn from gorgeously opulent to grotesquely terrifying. His work pulses with surges of luminous, exuberant colour; streaks of neon and eyeliner like an inverted acid rainbow. Robinson imbues these hypnotic visions with a rich materiality in both his lush 16mm film work and his textural digital videos, blending original material with a bevy of reappropriated images, sounds and written texts. His films and videos are characterized by a looseness of time, space, cause and effect, giving them a sense of endless possibility and magical invocation that makes us feel as if we are always on the verge of conjuring the impossible. His work takes us on a trip through psychedelic virtual landscapes, haunted nature scenes, depictions of the underworld and the afterlife, and our own pop culture memories. Robinson also explores the aesthetics and the implications of decay, both in terms of picture degradation, investigating the emotive and psychological effect of using old, worn-out images, and the decay of physical objects and places, turning his camera onto ruined spaces and questioning the connotations of power these sites originally held. Ideas of colonialism and imperialism run through his work, as do related fantasies of immortality, reincarnation and reaching for the infinite that beckons from the horizon.


Line Describing Your Mom (2011, 6 min.)
This is the new choreography of devotion, via the vlog of southern nightmares. This is the light that never goes out. This is the line describing your mom.


If There Be Thorns (2009, 13 min.)

A dark wave of exile, incest, and magic burns across the tropics, forging a knotted trail into the black hole. Three star-crossed siblings wander in search of one another as a storm of purple prose and easy listening slowly engulfs them.


Light is Waiting (2007, 11 min.)

A very special episode of television's Full House devours itself from the inside out, excavating a hypnotic nightmare of a culture lost at sea. Tropes of video art and family entertainment face off in a luminous orgy neither can survive.


Victory Over the Sun (2007, 12.5 min)
Dormant sites of past World's Fairs breed an eruptive struggle between spirit and matter, ego and industry, futurism and failure. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory; nothing lasts forever even cold November rain.


The General Returns from One Place to Another (2006, 10.5 min.)

Shaping a concurrently indulgent and skeptical experience of the beautiful, the film draws an uneasy balance between the romantic and the horrid. A Frank O'Hara monologue (from a play of the same title) attempts to undercut the sincerity of the landscape, but there are stronger forces surfacing.


These Hammers Don't Hurt Us (2010, 13 min.)

Tired of underworld and overworld alike, Isis escorts her favorite son on their final curtain call down the Nile, leaving a neon wake of shattered tombs and sparkling sarcophagi.


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