|Paul Litherland's work explores states of losing and regaining control, examining vulnerability and the risks of losing control. The underlying connection to identity is highlighted by the use of role-playing in a spirit of masquerade, a word associated with costume balls and trickery. In Force majeure, the characters on the five screens suspended from the ceiling of the gallery depict this borderline state between control and lack of control.
These suspended bodies literally appear to have been parachuted into the void, into an aerial nowhere, and are engaged in simple gestures, the kind we sometimes forget to notice so much are they a part of our daily lives. Yet, in such an extreme context, this physically fascinating situation leads us to see these same gestures in a new light as they reveal the facade of each moving character. In their association with costumes, these banal, even blotted out acts also recall the ease with which we identify people by their appearance. The bricklayer, the pilot and the man shaving are caricatures that reveal our tendency to limit others to their surface appearance.
“Do we feel empathy or do we reject someone at the point of losing control ?” This question, posed by the artist, brings us back to one of the central issues raised by this work: the connection between our judgments of and actions towards others.
Aseman Sabet [trans. Timothy Barnard]
Paul Litherland - Force majeure Credits
Sound Composition: Nancy Tobin
Drums: Jackie Gallant, Paul Litherland
Performers: Johanne Blanchette, Bertrand Cloutier, Julie Dufresne, Olga Kuznetsova, Jacinthe Labelle, Claude Limoges, Paul Litherland, Marie-Pier Lizotte, Agläe Racine, Guillaume St-Hilaire, Sebastien Wolfe
Video Camera: Claude Limoges, Paul Litherland, Jenna Maclellan, Jean-Philippe Thibault, Karen Trask
Video Editing assistance: Frédéric Lavoie
Still Camera: Valérie Pelletier, Karen Trask
Contributors : L'Espace Aerodium, Bidibidi (Jean-Francois Le Gruiec), Patrice Coulombe, Guillaume Lemay-Thivierge, Citi Mobilité, Pierre Mayence
Paul Litherland wishes to thank the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec for its financial support.