The five-gallon bucket. A metaphor for “from” in relation to words, concepts, and images – Snyder explores the way in which such a container can carry the content, if not burden, of a message.
Snyder is a not-so-surprisingly verbose speaker who engages the audience powerfully with the content of his own message: that art is the result of value. Without value in the message, how else can art be defined? Snyder seeks to answer this by “emptying the bucket” and create oppositions of content and derived meaning.
His work, Night Conversations with None Other (2011), depicted above, perfectly embodies this notion of destabilizing content and value assumptions. The visual disarray of edits from a cabin on fire to the lot which contains the cabin, overlaid by a narrative not unlike a life coach’s cassette tape plays into the ambiguity of messages and values within the offsetting work.
Going through his thirty videos on his Vimeo account, one starts to understand a fuller picture of the man behind the works. Snyder does not seek to entertain or even provide comfort to the viewer. He instead looks to catch the viewer off guard. What ever expectations you might hold as the viewer, quickly they unravel and unravel until you are left with disarray – attempting to extract meaning from the work. What goes unspoken, however, is that this meaning one searches for is not necessarily in the work, but of the work. One must ask why Snyder performs as he does – once this question is validated and answered, some truth may be understood.
Admittedly, for this viewer, I have yet to fully answer the question and understand fully the genius that is David Snyder.