A Suitable Den
rear projection stop-motion animation, interactive software, sensors, audio, vinyl wall mural, stop-motion puppet, furniture, carpet, plexi-glass, metal, wood
Inspired by an ongoing obsession with urban wildlife, Graeme Patterson has created an interactive multimedia installation that acts as a durational character portrait of a raccoon displaced in a high-rise ofﬁce. A Suitable Den deviates from his previous narrative-based work by staging an interactive situation that will be a unique experience for each viewer.
Entering the Project Room, the visitor is inside a small lobby with chairs and a table placed opposite a glass barrier. Beyond the glass is a virtual construction of a 1970s-style ofﬁce occupied by a stop-motion animated raccoon. Its reason for being there is unclear, as is its routine and relationship to the viewer. The raccoon is inﬂuenced by our presence in the room but remains in control of its random computer-generated patterns. Through the use of video game-based software this animated environment is responsive in real time, engaging the viewer as a simulated performance.
For the duration of the exhibition the artist will have remote access to the virtual space and its occupant. While interfering with the raccoon’s behaviour the artist will be unaware of the viewer’s presence. The viewer may or may not be cognizant of this daily occurrence, depending on how the behaviour of the raccoon changes when the artist takes control. The relationship between the viewer, the raccoon, and the artist lacks direct communication, even though they are all active participants in this exchange.
As time passes the raccoon will become more familiar with its surroundings. Evidence of the relationship between the raccoon and its adopted environment exists in the animal’s apparent displeasure with its cage-like situation. As it scratches, tears, and stains the walls and the ﬂoor, the false nature of the virtual space will be exposed along with the raccoon’s behaviour.
Graeme Patterson (born in 1980, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) graduated from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 2002 and now lives in Sackville, New Brunswick. Initially self-taught in his development of stop-action animation using mostly miniature ﬁgures, in recent years he has focussed on the construction of large installations that integrate animation, video, sculptural models, robotics, sound, music, interactive elements, and performance. Graeme’s inspiration comes from a desire to develop an alternate reality that stimulates reﬂective engagement with universal themes of longing, loss and recovery. His work has been exhibited and screened internationally, including national solo tours of Woodrow (2007–2009) and Secret Citadel (2014–2016) and shows at the National Gallery of Canada, MASS MoCA, the Art Gallery of Hamilton, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, and Galerie de l’UQAM. His recent accomplishments include the 2012 Canada Council for the Arts Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award (media arts), ﬁnalist for the 2010 Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award, and Atlantic ﬁnalist for the 2014 and 2009 Sobey Art Award. Graeme Patterson is represented in Canada by Galerie 3 and Trépanier Baer.