Oakville Galleries in Gairloch Gardens
"We all have time machines. Some take us back, they're called memories. Some take us forward, they're called dreams."
– Uber-Morlock: from the 2002 movie Time Machine, based on the novel by H.G. Wells
British artist Janet Hodgson is intrigued with notions of copy and displacement in architecture. In her preliminary research, begun in 2001, Hodgson learned that Oakville Galleries in Gairloch Gardens (built in 1922) was actually a copy of a home in Toronto—both homes owned by Lt. Col. W.G. MacKendrick. MacKendrick modelled these homes on plans quite similar to those designed by the 19th century British architect C.F.A. Voysey. In particular, one Voysey home in Surrey, England, bears a remarkable resemblance to the two Canadian homes. Called Spade House, it was commissioned by the author of The Time Machine, H.G. Wells.
What Hodgson finds so fascinating is the obvious "wrenching of one architectural context to another" and how it creates tensions between different circumstances, traditions and assumptions. So, too, the shifts of time and space inherent in the copying of these buildings are, coincidentally, central to ideas also found in Wells's The Time Machine.
For her exhibition at Oakville Galleries in Gairloch Gardens, Hodgson confuses time, location and history of the three homes in Oakville, Toronto and Surrey. Using a combination of projected video, sound and sculptural installation, she conflates and layers one home on top of the others. This approach reveals the built environment as a series of interwoven relationships, rather than looking to the traditional discourse of form and function. By opening up the ability to view the homes in multiple ways, Hodgson, like Wells, also lays bare ideas around social issues and class.
The central figure who strolls through Hodgson's video operates in many ways like Wells's Time Traveller, who can transport himself back and forth in time with the aid of a machine. The artist uses innovative jump cuts and the properties of film to "defy" time and space. Like The Time Machine, Hodgson's work oscillates between different temporalities and spaces—creating a reactive experience brought about and mediated by the very walls of Gairloch.