The landscape of Monument Valley, Arizona, recognizable from its frequent use as a backdrop in western movies, TV commercials, magazine ads and on postcards, is explored in the first person singular by the video camera-eye. It is joined by another set of media-saturated images : footage from the Apollo moon shots. Layers of voice and sound mediate these two territories of image recognition, narrating and locating them in a mythic past of public and private memory. There, and only there, can the experience of these places and events be re-entered and authenticated. Sirensong premiered in Halifax in the fall of 1987 as a video installation work at the Centre for Art Tapes. The following year the installation was shown at Maryland Art Place in Baltimore, and the single channel videotape premiered at the Images Festival in Toronto.
Commentary by Nicole Gingras, Curator
Filming the Arizona desert and recalling the first images of the first steps taken by a man on the moon. Listening to the weather report on the radio and recalling a child who believed everything she heard. Jan Peacock’s piece is not so much a nostalgic representation of memory as an immersion in the experience of the present and its mobilizing effects. Sirensong invokes a series of visual, narrative and auditory associations.