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A still from one of Viewing Method Group's videos.

A still from one of Viewing Method Group's interactive video art pieces.

B.Ed. student’s video art group performs with symphony at Winnipeg New Music Festival

Accompanied performance of Christopher Rouse’s 3rd Symphony

February 6, 2015 — 

Teacher candidate Brian Longfield is a visual artist who aims to bring his talents in the art world to students the classroom. The busy year one Bachelor of Education student program was selected to do an interactive video art piece with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra during Winnipeg’s recent New Music Festival.

Longfield, along with his collective, Viewing Method Group, did a performative video projection to accompany   a performance of Christopher Rouse’s Symphony #3.

“Our work explores the relationship between visual perception and video,” says Longfield.

VMG Sequence 02_5

A still from VMG.

“We shoot with three video cameras simultaneously and we take the footage and synchronize it. We layer it so you can see all three at once. What happens is when you watch it your brain and your eye naturally starts picking things out of the footage.

“Most of the time this happens naturally and unconsciously and creates a sort of participatory editing of the video.”

During the symphony performance on Feb. 4, Longfield and the other two group members, Thor Aitkenhead and Greg Hanec, shot the Rouse symphony using three cameras at once. The cameras were synchronized and the footage was shown live and in real time to the audience on a screen above the musicians.

The idea, says Longfield, is to “document a moment in time in a particular place and document the visual phenomenon that you might have seen if you were there when we were there.”

The group practised before the performance by setting up chairs with instruments on them and rehearsing where the cameras and tripods should be set up, he says.

One of his instructors in the Faculty of Education, Pauline Broderick, said the fact that Longfield’s group was selected to be a part of The New Music Festival is a big deal in the arts world.

“This is a big accomplishment.”

A still from Viewing Method Group's work.

A still from Viewing Method Group’s work.

Longfield has been working with Viewing Method Group since 2013. They have since produced 43 videos—all shot in the same format—with three video cameras shooting simultaneously and with the videos layered on top of one another. They have screened several at a Graffiti Gallery show last year and are hoping to have another show later this year.

While Longfield already has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the U of M and a MFA from Western, last year he decided to go back to school to take his B.Ed. so he could share his knowledge of art with young people. He first developed a taste for teaching while teaching a Drawing for Non-Majors class at Western.

“I loved teaching art. It seemed obvious [to go back to school]. It’s a subject I care about.” He’s in the Senior Years stream and was able to teach art during his practicum in the fall—even having the Grade 9 students do a video art project.

When he graduates, he hopes to get a job as an art teacher, and will continue to work with the Viewing Method Group.

Broderick, says Longfield is “a fine example of the talented and knowledgeable people who are drawn to teaching.”

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