Michael Snow
Clothed Woman (In Memory of my Father) 1963
oil and lucite on canvas
152 x 386.2 cm
Purchased 1966
National Gallery of Canada

Red Dice. An installation by Media Artist Bill Seaman on view at the National Gallery of Canada, 15 July - 9 October 2000

Ottawa, Canada - July 10, 2000


 « Dés chiffrés. Une installation multimédia de l'artiste Bill Seaman présentée au Musée des beaux-arts du Canada du 15 juillet au 9 octobre 2000 » 
Red Dice is Bill Seaman's homage to the innovative 19th century
French poet Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-98) and his poem Un coup de dés jamais n'abolira le hasard (Dice Thrown Never Will Annul Chance). Commissioned by the National Gallery of Canada and shown for the first time, Red Dice is an interactive installation of poetry, musical compositions and moving images. It is on view from 15 July to 9 October 2000. Admission is free.
The media are invited to schedule interviews and guided tours of Bill Seaman: Red Dice with Bill Seaman or Janice Seline, Associate Curator, Media Arts, National Gallery of Canada, by calling the National Gallery of Canada's Communications office at (613) 990-6835.

The videotape upon which the Red Dice installation is built was shot in June 1997 at several natural and industrial sites in the Ottawa area. The mechanical loom, the mill, the player piano, these recurrent images belong to another century yet persist into our own time, as technologies still in use or in radically transformed states. Their relatively simple mechanics or punched paper controls are the ancestors of today's computers. Bill Seaman layered French and English spoken text and music over the images, tightly editing the hours of original footage into a fifteen-minute production, a work of art in its own right.

Approaching Red Dice, the viewer will find an electronic tablet and pen. On the tablet, Mallarmé's poem will appear, arranged to faithfully match the original layout of his words. Mallarmé revolutionized poetry when he wrote Un coup de dés jamais n'abolira le hasard in 1897 since the poem challenges the reader's sense of order. By spilling the lines of his poem over the centrefold of the pages, separating them by irregular spacing or breaking them up over a number of pages, Mallarmé was ahead of his time. The reading experience bears a distinct resemblance to today's non-linear way of reading on the World Wide Web. Viewers of Red Dice can digitally page through the entirety of the poem on the tablet or they can touch the poem with the pen and activate Seaman's images, words and music. Other viewers in the room will be able to watch the actions of the person navigating the work via a second projection that will show what is on the tablet. Seaman describes the experience of navigation in Red Dice as floating, skating over or flying between images, words and sound, in a choice of two languages.

Meet the Artist
On Saturday 15 July at 2 pm, Bill Seaman will present a public slide lecture in the Lecture Hall, followed by a reception and viewing of the installation in Video Gallery B 209. Admission is free.

On Sunday 24 September at 2 pm, Lucie Bourassa, Professor, Études françaises, Université de Montréal, presents Un coup de dés: le double vol de l'image et de la voix, a lecture on Stéphane Mallarmé's poem "Dice Thrown Never Will Annul Chance". Adults: $5; Seniors and full-time students: $4; Friends of the National Gallery of Canada: $3; Visitors under 18: free. In French, with simultaneous translation.

The National Gallery of Canada is open every day from 10 am to 6 pm. Thursdays to 8 pm. Admission to the permanent collection is free for everyone, every day.
General Information
National Gallery of Canada
tel. (613) 990-1985

380 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, On