Parastoo Anoushahpour, Faraz Anoushahpour, Ryan Ferko: If All That Changed Quickly

1st-28th February 2021

If All That Changes Quickly takes as its starting point the first full scale house burn tests from 1958, conducted by the National Research Council of Canada. Several years ago the artists acquired the original 16mm colour film of these tests from the National Archives of Canada. This began a trajectory of domestic fire safety research, following its shift from burning houses in situ, through to laboratory tests, and then into the psychological study of how people react in fire emergencies. This new film combines the 1958 NRC archival material of the burn tests, archival documentation and case studies from the 1960s and 70s psychological field of “empathy studies”, and more recent neurological research on the same subject, along with original material shot in studio. The resulting film starts with a specific location – Aultsville, Ontario – where these first burns were conducted but then finds itself concerned with a more broad political context of insecurity and its manifestation in reactionary populist politics. (Chris Kennedy, TIFF)