Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Morning Has Gold In Its Mouth

Tonight I'm presenting a new work at the Walper Hotel in Kitchener as part of an exhibition there, put on by Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener+Area (CAFKA). The show features Laura De Decker, Manuela Lalic, Tor Lukasic-Foss, Ellen Moffat, Janet Morton, Daniel Olson, and Stephanie Vegh. The works will be presented throughout the hotel's large winding hallways. For example, Ellen Moffat will turn the brass hand rails into live sound boards by outfitting them with contact mics and amplifying the processed sounds of their use.

There are rumours that the hotel is haunted (and a few site visits did little to dispel this) so it seemed a good time to return to some writings I was collecting about Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. It's proving somewhat topical, between the recent release of the documentary Room 237, and the explosion of interest in absurd conspiracy theories (Glenn Beck, Alex Jones) since the Boston Marathon Bombing.

The work features several 'live continuity errors' within the hotel (a lenticular mirror, movable light switchplates) as well as a four-volume bookwork which features essentially every frame of the movie, fan annotated. The accompanying texts are from you tube clips, blogs, fan forums and amateur film sites. They primarily point out background details and inconsistencies that only multiple viewings would unearth, and use them to bolster arcane theories such as that Kubrick intended the film to be played backwards, that he intended it as a parody of the Stephen King original, that the movie features thousands upon thousands of images of bears, and that the film is the director's confession for faking the moon landing.

The comments range from somewhat insightful film criticism to wildly preposterous claims. The proponents of these theories maintain that Kubrick is a genius (and therefore no error is intentional) and the suggestion is that, by association, they are too. Kubrick was a masterful film maker and they are the only viewers who truly understood his intentions. Incidental information (the number of frames of a scene, for example) is taken as evidence of some larger numerological scheme, and all contradictory information is ignored.

The title, The Morning Has Gold in Its Mouth, is taken from the translation of one of the international versions of the film. Kubrick shot alternate typewriter scenes for at least five different languages and the Italian version had Jack typing "Il mattino ha l’oro in bocca". It also refers to one of the theories, which argues that Kubrick's film is about the Gold Standard.

The exhibition opens at 7pm this Thursday, and continues until August 11th. For more information, visit the CAFKA site, here.


The books in situ, magnetized lightswitch faceplates which change colour and move around to various locations throughout the hallway, and a lenticular 'mirror' which misreflects a stack of books across the hall.

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