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The Art of Fugue: A Polyphonic Instrumental Video Featuring Five Women Working in Trades, 2019
Five-channel Synced HD Video + Textural Stereo Sound
16'16" (seamless loop)
by Emilie Crewe


The Art of Fugue is a multi-channel video featuring five women working in trade industries. The artwork is a chorus of female performers telling stories through the repetitive actions and movements of skilled work. Edited using the traditional musical structure of a fugue, each screen acts as a singular voice contributing to the artwork as a whole. Arranged and composed using a metronome set to 80 beats per minute and a 4/4 time signature, the framework and timing of each video component is highly intentional.

Similar to a musical composition, the videos harmonize in tone, texture, colour, rhythm and contour. The artwork is polyphonic, meaning there are multiple "melodies" that are simultaneously present. Highlighting women in trades is both an aesthetic decision and a symbolic choice. There is strength and resilience to be found in a performer whose work is in a typically male-dominated field. This contributes to the spirit of the video, with the intention of authentically capturing the tenacity and power of the female voice.

[For reference, The Oxford Dictionary’s definition of a fugue is, a polyphonic composition in which a short melodic theme, the subject, is introduced by one part or voice, and successively taken up by the others and developed by their interweaving.]

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.
Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien.


With sincerity and gratitude, we acknowledge our location on the stolen, sacred and ancestral territories of the sḵwx̱wú7mesh, sel̓íl̓witulh & xʷməθkʷəy̓əm nations.