Sun Ship Machine Gun - Metallurgy I
Mixed media installation: video, audio, bronze sculptures, performance
Sobey Art Award Exhibition
National Gallery of Canada
October 6, 2016—February 5, 2017
Curated by Josée Drouin-Brisebois
Video & sound: 24 min 56 sec
Sound composition: William Robinson & Joel Waddell
Sound production: Joel Waddell
Improvisational saxophone performances by Nick Dourado were recorded in 2016 at Fort Massey United Church (Halifax NS) and added to the installation's video/sound component. Dourado also performed in collaboration with Sun Ship Machine Gun at the Sobey Art Award Gala.
Sir Jacob Epstein, Bust of Ellen Ballon, 1938, bronze, 60 x 56 x 67 cm (23.62 x 22.05 x 26.38 inches), Courtesy of McGill University Visual Arts Collection
Plaque I - Take Away the Bells, 2016, bronze, 99.3 x 49.8 x 0.6 cm (39.09 x 19.61 x 0.23 inches)
Plaque I - Take Away the Bells (2016) contains a Ekphrasis poem
by Erinn Beth Langille entitled Take Away the Bells (2016)
In the multimedia piece Sun Ship Machine Gun - Metallurgy I, which features an audio and a video installation, Robinson investigates a historical tale of the fate of church bells melted down to produce arms during the Second World War, followed by their reconstitution as saxophones in the postwar period. Here sounds and images become echoes of a wider history in which the destiny of materials is presented as an oblique narrative of aesthetic decay, sacrifice and redemption. In a further twist, this presentation reunites the video with one of its subjects: Jacob Epstein's bronze portrait of renowned Canadian pianist Ellen Ballon.