Edward Maloney


Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain project space, February, 2013

Initially conceived for World Event Young Artists 2012 during the Cultural Olympiad in Nottingham, England, Edward Maloney’s immersive video installation, Figments of Reality, is exhibited for the first time in Montreal at pfoac221.

Projected life size onto the gallery’s wall is a 7 minute video of a small, Little Italy restaurant, Dinette Triple Crown, seen though the glass of its storefront window. As visitors approach, they see their own reflection appear simultaneously on the windowpane. Mingled with the occasional passage of car lights, the movements of their bodies overlay those of the employees inside, who go calmly through their final workday activities. Clients come in and leave their dinner baskets, then step back out of the frame, as if walking past the viewer watching on the sidewalk, into the tranquil evening beyond.

The use of technology to create unique encounters with each participant viewer has become interactive art’s signature feature, productively incorporating the audience into the work’s completion. What is important are not the elements of the work itself, but what happens when we come into contact with them. “What interactive art can do,” explains theorist Brian Massumi, “is to take the situation as its ‘object.'”[1]

In Figments of Reality, the visitor’s reflected silhouette becomes a part of the restaurant activity, dissolving both temporal and spatial boundaries between them and the moments in the video. Clients and employees come and go, and their exits and returns expand the original space into a fully immersive installation. This seamlessness generates Massumi’s situation, out of which each viewer enacts his own figment. Ultimately, it is the viewer’s imagined presence on the sidewalk, peering into this small restaurant, being framed.

Vancouver artist Stan Douglas’s practice is influential to this piece. With video and photography Douglas often reimagines past events and locations into the present. His works unsettle linearity and context, as well as notions of history and objective truth, in order to expose, question, and examine the past.

With Figments of Reality, Maloney brackets 7 minutes of quotidian, neighborhood life in Montreal. The looped video draws out their atmosphere of familiarity into a kind of perpetual experience. Visitors are present and part of an evening at a local eatery where they stumble into an interaction with figments of reality.

– Yaniya Lee


[1] Massumi, Brian. “The Thinking-Feeling of What Happens” Inflexions 1.1 (2008). Web. 22 Jan. 2013.

Copyright © Edward Maloney. All rights reserved.