|THE OPENING is all about delving into the fascinating, quirky and wonderful visual arts in Vancouver. Each week we’ll feature an artist, cover an exhibition, discuss a lecture and everything else in-between to delve deep into who and what makes art happen!|
Zebulon Zang isn’t an artist. He’s an editor, a collaborator, a filmmaker, a labourer — at least, that’s what he’ll likely tell you at first. Indeed, the way in which he goes about his business seems contrary to the usual model. At the time of our interview, he didn’t have a website, a business card, or a Facebook account. His blogs are either password-protected or completely wiped of entries. He’s obsessed with production, often planning long-term, labour-intensive projects with no end product in mind. And most of all, he’s keen to collaborate, freely allowing others to change the course of his ideas entirely.
Zang’s remarkable lack of ego and almost saintly dedication to his work certainly doesn’t bar him from public acclaim. You’ll see his name attached to projects at institutions such as UNIT/PITT, where Zang curated a show around the silly but poignant idea of opening a store at the end of the world, and the relatively new Avenue, where his upcoming exhibition with Logan Sturrock and Scott Kemp, entitled [???] and opening this Thursday, offers only a paragraph of moody prose in lieu of any formal press release.
I met Zang twice over the course of a month to discuss his artistic process. Though highly complex at first glance, his film-based projects tend to come to into being around a set of self-imposed instructions — a premise that first became a possibility with the rise of conceptual art in the sixties. Speaking quickly and excitedly, Zang was keen to impart the intricacies of his most recent undertaking: a film whose script is composed entirely out of snippets of incidental dialogue he’d record in the ‘field’ — on the bus, at work, at parties with friends — and populated by amateur actors. He seemed most thrilled by wild cards and the unpredictability of working in such a manner. And though he shies away from the label, Zeb Zang is certainly an artist of the most enigmatic and intelligent kind.
VIA: So tell me about what you’re working on these days.
ZZ: Right now, I’ve finished shooting some preliminary stuff for the first scene of the movie that I’m writing the script for. I’m doing walk-outs with shots. I’ve started working with non-professional actors, because I like working with people who don’t necessarily know what they’re doing, so they don’t feel the pressure to stick to the métier of acting. They don’t have to deliver in a specific way — it’s more naturally enacted.