Video Art in Canada VtapeVirtual Museum of Canada
homeexhibitionartistseducationforumcontactfrancais
Media Settings

This site requires either Quicktime or Windows Media Player. Click one of the links below to download the software.


Quicktime Download
<br>link
Get Windows Media Player

Ask an Artist

Send your question to a Bell Canada Award in Video Art artist through the Video Art in Canada forum.

Serge Murphy and Charles Guilbert

About the artist | Video clips | Printer friendly

Video still from <b>Sois sage ô ma Douleur/Be Good Oh My Sorrow</b> by Serge Murphy and Charles Guilbert

Serge Murphy and Charles Guilbert, Sois sage ô ma Douleur/Be Good Oh My Sorrow, (1990), 5:17 min. excerpt from the 58:00 min. original, French with English subtitles

Video still from <b>Au verso du monde/Outside Looking In</b> by Serge Murphy and Charles Guilbert

Serge Murphy and Charles Guilbert, Au verso du monde/Outside Looking In, (1994), 5:22 min. excerpt from the 25:00 min. original, French with English subtitles

view the clip
Quicktime: Low  |  High
Windows Media: Low  |  High

view the clip
Quicktime: Low  |  High
Windows Media: Low  |  High


About these works

Sois sage ô ma Douleur/Be Good Oh My Sorrow (1990)
Distributed by Vidéographe.

To a remarkable degree these are true stories, fragments of lives lived. In Sois sage ô ma Douleur, a sequence of vignettes is constructed from the dialogue of friends as they look for new topics of conversation. After an on-screen quotation from French historian Jules Michelet, we see a young woman carefully ironing her books, gently smoothing out their covers and interiors. A woman speaks of herself as a drowning soul. Another woman heats up a dish in the microwave while listening to a sad song. Bright red mitts caress the upright leaves of a succulent potted plant. Twelve characters (eleven writers and a painter)-acrid, tender, funny-rebel against the banality of human experience and against words: those words that always fail, finally, to express true feelings or reveal deep meaning.

As writer Daniel Carrière remarks in the Montreal newspaper Le Devoir, "... Murphy/Guilbert lead us through the antechambers of a certain Montreal society, where poetry has a place of prime importance, where the visual is secondary but always meaningful, and where the most extraordinary conversations take place ..." (Carrière 1992)


Spontaneous and unrehearsed, this video is nonetheless carefully structured, accomplished through the editing phase. Some of the visual elements appearing in the piece include sculptures by friends and participants, just as the stories that are related spring from personal situations, speculations, and recollections, a form of "found" dialogue. Evidence of the lively interaction of friends and colleagues over an extended time, Sois sage... is a high point in the collaborative work of Serge Murphy and Charles Guilbert, a glimpse into their complex interaction and engagement with the world.

Awarded the SOGIC Prize for Best Video at Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois (1991), Sois sage ô ma Douleur was included in the ten-part series Video Art Vidéo, which was commissioned for broadcast on TVOntario, and shown on La Chaîne/TV Ontario and on SCN (Saskatchewan's public broadcasting network) in 1993 and 1994.

Au verso du monde/Outside Looking In (1994)
Distributed by Vidéographe.

Au Verso du monde (Outside Looking In)-a videographic quilt composed of short scenes, sung poems, contradictory truths-shows us a young woman and man fed up with living in a society so rigid and ossified. Uncertain where to turn and unhappy with their situation, they try conversation as a means of escape. Outside Looking In is a plotless narrative of vignettes with dialogue at its centre, the portrait of a moment. He and she argue about ideas, about grammar, speak of hopes and observations, in a conversation sliding through exasperation and delight, petulance and charming imagination, all strung together in search of a solution. Like Sois sage ô ma Douleur (1990), the work was assembled from conversations in "real" life, played out by friends of the artists.

The script for Au Verso du monde (Outside Looking In) was published in By the Skin of Their Tongues, edited by Nelson Henricks and Steve Reinke (Toronto: YYZ Books, 1997), along with "Au verso du monde, with Blaise Pascal, Jeanne Moreau and my friends" a related text by Charles Guilbert. "Outside Looking In" has also appeared in Public 14 (Toronto, 1996).

©2006 Vtape. All Rights Reserved.  Credits  Terms of Use  Your Feedback