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Present was made in collaboration with Gemini Gymnastics Club, Oshawa, during an artist residency at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto and first shown for the Canada Summer Games as part of the Espace [Im] Media festival, Sherbrooke, Quebec, 2013
"The video installation Present is the most recent incarnation of Longhurst's project Other Spaces. This vast enterprise explores the rigors of training and competition to which elite gymnasts subject themselves, and the physical and emotional states they experience along the way. Elite athletes are well aware: the aesthetic of their prowess is judged by unpardoning criteria: the quality of their performance is calculated not only by degree of commitment and technical ability, but also by how immaculately they perform on a particular stage at a particular time. Longhurst draws on diverse historical influences, creating artworks as a response to her immersion in the regime of today's elite gymnast. Other Spaces includes photographs of athletes in full flight taken by the artist; appropriated photographs from diverse sources grouped together in installations; hybrid sculptural works inspired by Plato's perfect solids and by the Constructivism of Popova and Rodchenko; and, finally, performance and video elements, including the video installation Present. Created in collaboration with the Art Gallery of Ontario during an artist residency, this pared-down installation shows side-by-side, simultaneously, five elite gymnasts. The work seeks to convey the intensity of the moment before a performance, when the gymnast, at the height of her concentration, salutes the members of the jury evaluating her. As the gymnasts prepare for action, their disciplined minds and bodies are presented to camera, revealing moments of slippage between private introspection and public display. The repetition of the same motif within the image highlights the singularity of the work's protagonists. The installation's loops and stutters in continually changing combinations evoke both the anticipation of competitive action, and the arduous training regime of the gymnast."
Screened at Sport, Sport, Sport, Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image, London, 2015; Sport, Sport, Sport, Transmission Gallery/ Kinning Park, Glasgow, 2014
Exhibited in New Order, Other Spaces, Threshold artspace, Perth Concert Hall, 2018 [part of the cultural programme for the Glasgow 2018 European Championships]; Jo Longhurst / Present, Sporobole, Sherbrooke, Quebec, 2013
Published in AGO Artists in Residence 2011-2016, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, 2017; Espace [im] Media: Arts et cultures numeriques, Sherbrooke, Quebec, 2013