Project 71

Cabin Fever: The Devil is in the Details

Still from Metamorfoza by Martha Colburn.

Prolonged cold and darkness drive northerners indoors, and often, into themselves. The resulting feelings of listlessness, confinement and irritability are known in northern latitudes as cabin fever. This state of mind can be complex and extreme, sparking creativity or triggering despair.

The museum's Cabin Fever program is a way to explore, combat and celebrate our associations with winter. Cabin Fever takes the form of an exhibition in this iteration of our series, which presents non-narrative films as a single-channel installation.

These four experimental films and one sound recording stretch the boundaries of cinema and poetry through northern artists and filmmakers who delve into the varied expressions of cabin fever, ranging from melancholy to amusement.

Works included in the exhibition:

Bruce Baillie, Port Townsend, Washington, USA
All My Life (1966)

Guy Maddin, Winnipeg, Canada
Sissy-Boy-Slap-Party (2004)

Martha Colburn, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Metamorfoza (2014)

Alexandre Larose, Montreal, Canada
Brouillard Passage #14 (2013)

Eva Saulitis, Homer, Alaska, USA
The Far Off Place I’m Writing to You From (2013)

Experimental Film

Experimental film and its play against conventions is an appropriate medium for exploring the moods of cabin fever. Experimental film was once on the margins of the art world. Beginning in the 1960s, it began to be shown in museums and galleries and was celebrated for its role in re-inventing and overturning expectations popularized in commercial, narrative-based films.

Single-channel Format

Single-channel video and film involves a single electronic source presented on one playback device and exhibited using a single display mode, such as projection. Single-channel art includes analog film and video experiments of the 1960s to digital works today. New technology allows museums to present moving image art from film to video as single channel installations.