The International Step by John Chrisstoffels

The International StepThe Auricle Sonic Arts Gallery
Opening event: Tuesday 4th February 6-8pm
Artist talk: Saturday 8th February 5pm
Final performance event with the Laid Baxters and Misfit Mod: Friday 21st February 7pm
Showing 4-23 February, 2014

The Auricle is proud to present John Chrisstoffels’ The International Step – a mesmeric and enveloping quadraphonic, audiovisual installation, within which one encounters a veritable chorus sounding the tension between, variously, the aural and the visual, reality and illusion, time and being, transience and permanence, place and non-place, difference and repetition.

The aural component of The International Step comprises two separate sound recordings of travelators and ambient noises captured in malls and airports that, via post-processing, are transformed into a dynamically shifting, four-channel presentation. The visual component, which is periodically faded for the purpose of aural immersion, comprises a trance-inducing projection of travelator steps passing through the camera frame. Chrisstoffels describes The International Step as part of his doctoral research into the idea that, through time-based art, it may be possible to reveal an immanent, Bergsonian, Élan Vital or ‘vital impetus for change’ underpinning what Marc Augé refers to as the ‘non-places’ of the present-day world.

In Chrisstoffels’ work, there is a particular interest in the non-places of waiting areas in airport terminals. Here, modern architecture, with its relentless litany of repeating forms and motifs, creates a sense of changelessness and normality, and yet, in so doing, frames a human experience that is, literally, transient. The International Step translates the experience of ‘non-place’ into the space of the art gallery (the seemingly changeless ‘white cube’ that transforms with each new exhibition mounted) and, indeed, provides an opportunity to reflect on the current non-place status of a post-quake Christchurch-eternally-under-construction.

Chrisstoffels is a Senior Lecturer in Film at the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts and is currently pursuing doctoral studies through the Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland. In his various capacities as a filmmaker and cinematographer, as a technical advisor for various funding bodies and art institutions, and as a member of legendary music groups like The Terminals, Chrisstoffels’s diverse and numerous contributions to the cultural life of Christchurch and, indeed, New Zealand as a whole, now extend over more than twenty years.