Stan Douglas

Stan Douglas, Nu-Tka (installation view), 1996

Stan Douglas, Nu-Tka (installation view), 1996

Stan Douglas (b.1960, Vancouver, Canada) uses film and multiple projections to create slippages in our perceptions and memories. Working in either film or video as installation, he recreates the look, style and parlance of past periods in cinema and television, often with a heavy dose of irony.

His film installation Der Sandmann dealt with a specific history of garden allotments in Germany. Two versions of the film were set up to run slightly out of sync, joining in the middle to produce the complete garden. The effect was of split attention. In Liverpool and for TRACE, Douglas showed Nu-Tka (1996), a video projection with two separate soundtracks. He actually used two films of the same landscape in British Colombia, this time running simultaneously.

The images were interlaced by alternating the lines of each video version. They resolved into one seamless image when the two films were synchronised. Sometimes the films were pulled apart, blurring and doubling the picture. The soundtracks recreated two versions of an actual historical moment. A British naval officer and his Spanish counterpart give their versions of a contested colonisation. At certain points – when they talk about the island and the mosquitoes, for example – their narratives merged and became as one. But when they argued the case for their respective nations as prior claimants, and accused each other of acting illegally, their narratives became discordant and diverge. The sound and image convergences were timed to correspond.

Stan Douglas at Liverpool Biennial 1999

Nu-Tka, 1996
Single channel video projection 
Courtsey of the artist and David Zwirmer Gallery, New York