Karin Kihlberg & Reuben Henry: Waiting Room


August 31 – September 29, 2007
Karin Kihlberg & Reuben Henry with Bernard Falaise on Friday September 7 at 9pm

Project Description

In the context of the 10th Mois de la photo à Montréal, Skol presents two works by video artists Karin Kihlberg (Sweden) and Reuben Henry (United Kingdom). By transposing the language of film into real-life situations, structures are revealed or shifted. In the gallery, Waiting Room (2006, 30 min.) is about the “unavoidable circumstance of waiting.” Created with the participation of members of the public during a residency at the New Art Gallery Walsall (England), the video is presented with storyboards and production footage to reveal the hidden processes and original interactions.

On opening night, the performance entitled Within the Chaos there is CHNS (A Demonstration of the Classic Hollywood Narrative System) will be played back live at the entrance of the Belgo Building but performed in the gallery by guitarist Bernard Falaise, who will improvise the music soundtrack of the screenplay for a Hollywood thriller written by the artists. He will interpret all the emotions and incidents characteristic of narrative devices designed to rivet the viewer’s attention from start to finish.

In our ongoing desire to create opportunities for artists to work together, some members of the programming committee have been invited to play an active part in the exhibition process. Thus video artist Patrice Duhamel has teamed up with Kihlberg and Henry to explore their shared interest in narrativity. In September, Duhamel will give a talk about the narrative process in the work of Kihlberg & Henry. The following is a foretaste of his talk.

Leaving room for uncertainty

“What we call narrative is the result of a sequence or chain of events, a particular relationship linking cause and effect. When we go back from an effect to its cause, that is called suspense. In the case of independent series of causes or effects, as in the lists characteristic of Sei Shonagon* and Georges Perec**, we are still talking about narrativity.

In the work of Kihlberg & Henry, the links of causality are out of order. We have to pull the threads together. The narrative strategies alternate or combine. The video Waiting room uses absurdity to reveal the emptiness in which waiting plunges us. For example, the artists use the plot device Hitchcock called a MacGuffin, whereby an object becomes the vector of suspense and a link between the characters. For example, the protagonists’ behaviour in space reveals their territories and when they are off-camera (in the wings) as intersecting spaces that escape the conventional linearity of the story. These artists, in various ways, are dedicated to defining the participative challenges resulting from productions and narrative devices through works that often include an element of performance.”

* Sei Shonagon (清少納言), (965-1010s?) was a Japanese author and a court lady who served the Empress Consort Teishi around the year 1000, known as the author of The Pillow Book (枕草子 makura no soshi). The Pillow Book is a collection of lists, gossip, poetry, observations, complaints, and anything else she found of interest during her years in the court, during the middle Heian Period. (source: Wikipedia)

** Georges Perec (7 March 1936 – 3 March 1982) was a 20th-century French Jewish novelist, filmmaker, and essayist – a member of the Oulipo group and considered by many to be one of the most important authors of the post-World War II era. Many of his novels and essays abound with experimental wordplay, lists and attempts at classification, and they are usually tinged with melancholy. (source : Wikipedia)




1. Le Mois de la photo à Montréal