In Waiting, the artist uses super-imposed video projections of himself writing text on a chalkboard. The layers of images and sound construct sentences that express feelings of love, loss and regret.

Owen Eric Wood (Canada)
performance, 2012
video, 2013

hiding in the dark
between layers of undecided
I picture you sleeping
or is it morning
where you are now?

I should have stayed
until the last moment before the plane
you can cry when you get back
though I know the tears
are not for me

I remember lazy wasted days
breathing in your warm hair
it is cold here
can you think of these things
where you are now?

I cannot breathe or sleep or cry
not like before
the air is thick
with things unsaid
lost in a dialogue of dreams


Description of the Performance

Viewers enter the gallery space as they would an exhibition of paintings, sculptures or other art objects.  The performance has already begun.  The room is dark, with the only light being that of the projector.  Video of a chalkboard is projected on the same chalkboard.  As the artist performs the act of writing words, his live body is overlapped by layered video of himself performing the same task. The real and digital selves merge to create the sense that the live person is not physically present.

Each layer of existence contributes different parts of a text, which gradually forms cohesive passages. The real and virtual selves co-ordinate to erase the text before moving on to the next verse.  There are four verses in total, with the video lasting about 12 minutes.  When it reaches the end, the video loops, as does the performance, to suggest an endless or futile attempt to express sentiments of loss, regret and eternal love.

Technical Requirements for the Performance

The ideal conditions for the presentation of this performance would be an isolated room or area within a gallery, which can be darkened without disturbing other works. The piece is quiet, except for the sound of the chalk writing on the chalkboard.

Adequate distance (about 20-25 feet, depending on the projector's technical specifications) between the projector and chalkboard surface is required so the video images of the artist are life sized. The artist will bring a laptop to play the video, but asks the festival to provide a projector.

The performance requires a chalkboard or chalkboard surface that is green not black. Understandably, it will not be possible to find a chalkboard like the one in the video, so a similar substitute can be used. Short of this, a wall or vertical surface can be painted with chalkboard paint.