Unseasonal Events Change Hands / timeSpacePlace (installation view), 2013
Unseasonal Events Change Hands (a summer prism mix) collaboration with Nathaniel Bartlett, 2013
2 fragments of motion (self-surveillance), 2014
Toby Kaufmann-Buhler works primarily in sound and video and occasionally constructs installations that utilize both elements. He connects concepts of time and space with the personal, using the idea of “self surveillance” as a time-based exploration of the convention of the self-portrait–except more of thoughts than physical self.
Watching the “summer prism mix” excerpt of Kaufmann-Buhler’s Unseasonal Events Change Hands is hypnotic. More interesting is figuring in the experience of watching the excerpt in full-screen on a computer and then comparing that to what the installation was like, in the top-most video, when the work was displayed in Madison, WI. One could open that big bag of theory and talk about how the presentation, context, and installation of the same piece affects viewer experience and therefore what the piece is. But perhaps for now it’s enough to just note that I’m thinking along those lines, as I always do when viewing video and installation work, and how, for that reason, the possibilities are fundamentally endless.
The artist also explores the physical nature of film, through which he conveys messages or thoughts–not through the traditional reel-to-reel method of projection, but by using the film as an image unto itself. It is particularly well-executed with a rhythmic sound component in 2 fragments of motion (self surveillance) in which the words align and misalign, appear and repair, multiply and deplete. The rhythmic interplay of the sound with the alternating words completes the piece; it could easily be two or three times longer, and projected large in a darkened room, it would be mesmerizing.