what’s in a name?

Lois Andison: what’s in a name
November 6 – December 18, 2010

Text by Sarah Wilkinson

Gender has been perceived as a sign of subordination for women, most notably in conjunction with discussions of the gaze. The idea that women are meant solely as objects of admiration much like a flower, cast in the role of an object of beauty to the gaze of the beholder(s). Multi-media artist Lois Andison playfully prods the problematic aspects of the gaze, and the concepts that form this convention of visual harassment in what’s in a name (2010). Andison utilizes word play as a catalyst for exploring these relationships.

what’s in a name is the second in a series of performative motion studies by the artist. It is a video trilogy that explores lived temporality through the dimension of everyday social relations. Each video features the same actress in varied appearances, riding a bike through a residential neighbourhood as a camera follows her journey. The appearance of the actress, bike and flowers in front or side baskets, vary between each clip. The flowers featured include: tiger lilies, roses and morning glories. Andison’s choice for the title of the piece and her clever choice of names used by the actress including Lily, Rose and Glory, highlight the association of flowers and feminine identity.

The bike and flowers act as simple visual markers that offer evidence of the prominence the gaze continues to play in our everyday lived experience. The movement of the bike through the urban space of the city, combined with the conversations as a result of the actress’s encounter along the chosen route, are interesting aspects of this work. The artist illustrates how such elements provide testament to the ability that fluidity of movement through space and time can possess in the dictation of the present moment. However it becomes clear that these elements are also simultaneously emerging only from where our projected future becomes folded back into the past; a past that appears to be irrevocably entangled with the act of looking.

The actress in the videos has the opportunity to express herself through exchanges of wordplay, although the main occupation in the three video clips remains the act of looking and what that encompasses. This time based media piece presents the viewer with stereotypes, innuendo and clichés associated with beauty and feminine identity. It harkens the viewer to consider how everyday interactions reflect on the space in which they take place, informing the relationship between space and human interaction, identity and temporality.