Janet Cardiff was born in 1957 in Canada. Since 1991 she has designed numerous audio works which sometimes take the form of a walk around a particular area, often in collaboration with her husband George Büres-Miller. She lives in Alberta, Canada.
In this work we are mentally propelled into a miniature cinema, where we become enmeshed in a web of narratives, both on and off the screen. As with all Janet Cardiff’s pieces, a ‘3-D’ soundtrack is used to generate physical and psychological sensation.
Cardiff is particularly concerned with the structures of narrative. Here, numerous plots are set in motion. The title, referring to a lake in the artist’s native Canada, may represent the name of the movie that plays on the tiny screen, or the events that unfold in the model auditorium. Via headphones, we hear the film’s soundtrack and find ourselves sitting in the cinema with a female companion. Not only does she share our popcorn, but she also relates her dreams and anxieties, which eerily coincide with what is happening on screen. Generic movie characters and cues - a dancing woman, a cowboy, a ringing telephone - heighten the suspense. Catharsis eventually takes place, not on the screen, but through a sinister event that seems to unfold in the seats around us.
Using literary and cinematic forms, Cardiff explores ‘the relationships of people: to their own bodies, each other, their environment, their memories and to historical and contemporary cultural rituals and myths’. She plays with the conventions of viewing by situating dramatic scenarios in real time and space, generating a disturbing synchronicity between art and life.