selected by Leah Gilliam
Video acts as a screen on which to play out ideas, to organize knowledge, and to understand how one’s attempt to universalize always falls short on the particular. While memory is a primary aspect of my work, it does not formulate itself as a temporal, diaristic history, but rather a spatial configuration in which knowledge is articulated. To situate this method, I have drawn largely on the mnemonic tradition that Frances Yates traces in The Art of Memory. Originally the practice of Ancient Greek orators to memorize their speeches, the concept of a “memory space,” in which one could organize one’s thoughts spatially, evolved until the 17th century and was a central aspect of a number of Hermetic projects.
Since 2000, I have been making works primarily concerned with the representation of place, often including two or more countries within one work. While most landscape films that attempt to cover a great deal of ground tend to depict a universalized world, I have chosen to break up each strand of my videos (through combinatory or iterative programming techniques on DVD) to reveal how the editing process furthers the author’s own preconceptions. As each screening may produce a different set of videos, or re-order those videos to create new juxtapositions, the viewer is invited compare his reading of the work to others or, through multiple screenings, how his conception of the work changes cumulatively through new iterations. As with The Art of Memory, such a process aims to organize thought and to engage with the world, but to do so dynamically, from a number of shifting and contingent perspectives.
Leah Gilliam writes: Sometime in the future perfect, one of your cyborg friends will ask you a simple question, such as “What’s up?” or “Where have you been?” and you’ll be able to playback your response on your own personal mind screen. Instead of words, you might opt to download a flow of images from your brain, and screen it for them across your forehead or glasses. Zachary Powell’s work seems like one of these downloaded personal video mind streams. The images are curious, suspenseful, and tenaciously about the act of looking. They are his thoughts rendered visually, a time-based replacement for mundane conversation that nudges you and says, “Hey, look!” or better yet, “See?”
Zachary Powell was born London , UK and currently lives in Ghent NY . He is a 2002 graduate of Bard College ’s Film and Electronic Media program. He serves as the IT Director and LAMP Programmer for the UK-based firm Nomad Information Concepts. Currently, Powell is working on a DVD entitled Suture / Sutra, shot in Bangkok , Thailand , and Columbia County , NY .