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For This is Not a Test, two theatre curtains, each 12’ high and 8’ wide, displayed the SMPTE colour bar test pattern well-known to videographers since the SMPTE test pattern is the first image seen before a video begins.The viewer was hit immediately with a sense of arrested agency as the installation stepped beyond a simple technical signal. This test video image came to life as Hoicka cut and spliced various fibres for each rectangular section: vinyl, lace, cotton, wool, rubber, sequins, polyester, satin, terry cloth, fun fur, corduroy, yarn, velvet and pvc. These many different textures pull the viewer’s attention into the installation as they desire to touch it, exploring its various sensory and tactile aspects.
The curtains invited each viewer to step beyond the screen into another reality and enjoy the different ways that people can interact and play with video. A spotlight centred on the SMPTE test pattern reminded viewers of curtains being used to introduce a more traditional show, paralleling the use of SMPTE colour bars to introduce a video. And chroma key green paint oozed out onto the floor from behind the curtain. Comparing video to theatre or life, the viewer was left to ‘key in’ what they imagined the chroma key to be. It was left to the viewer to dream up what adventure this ‘video’ would take them on and what experiences were dripping out.
Finally, the curtains breathed in and out, giving even more life to the piece (with the help of Andrew Lovett-Barron and Interaccess). The viewer had to make the choice of either moving forward to seeing other videos or was left to imagine what came next.
This is Not a Test was an installation welcoming the audience to VIDEODROME (2012) -” an exercise in televisionary excess, a media frenzied indulgence in the all-at-onceness of seeing, of hearing, moreover of experiencing”. Its goal was to encourage viewers to step beyond the passive consumption of video and more traditional media, by recognizing the role they could have in imagining they were creating their own content.
The installation was then developed into a short video, which has screened or been installed from San Francisco MoMA (2013), to the Images Festival (2014), Oakville Galleries (2015) and on all Air Canada Flights through the Images Festival (2015.) The video is available at Vtape