Michael Snow

Born in Toronto, 1929.
Lives and works in Toronto

 “In the Way” can have varied meanings. If something is in the way it is an obstacle. A way also fundamentally describes a path or road, as in the word highway. In another usage one may say “I do something my way,” meaning “my personal method.” In the Way urges the spectator to look at the results of a camera moving this “way” or that “way.” It also invites the spectator to stand in the image, in fact to be “in the way” (in the road). The imagery was shot from a structure I built for the back of my truck. The image consists of constantly panning views shot from directly above at varying speeds, over a very rocky and very muddy road. While there was no structure governing my driving, the footage pans all four compass directions. I have intimate knowledge of these cottage roads that I have been driving on for thirty years. The pathways become gradually grassy, so that in addition to the rough road images there are also passages looking down and moving over flowers and grass. The visual plane dramatically changes from hard and soft, austere to lyrical. In In the Way I am interested in the physiological and psychological effects of panning (trucking) images. Seeing the movements from above (as they were seen by the camera in real life) will cause new physical and mental experiences in the viewer. It is all a product of seeing what passes through – or in this case underfoot – a series of framed scenes.

Builders: Canadian Biennial 2012 exhibition catalogue
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa