e-scape v: autonomous edition
The Cherry Creek Arts Festival partnered with 2013 Festival sponsor Arrow Electronics
in the Arrow Five Years Out Art Challenge, a national challenge to inspire artists to take
the concept of innovation and express what five years out looks like in the art world,
translating ideas into their artistic medium.
Through a competitive and collaborative selection process, a jury of regional artists and
at professionals chose seven finalists out of an application pool of over 120 artists. Each
finalist received a $5,000 commission to create a forward-thinking piece to be displayed
at the 2013 Arts Festival
My work for the Challenge was e-scape v, a short video series that examines the
presence of technology in nature. A full statement follows the video stills below.
e-scape v explores the presence of technology in open spaces, revealing
with a sense of magical realism the ways in which electronics—portable
devices, infrastructure and refuse—alter our perceptions of the outdoors.
Interwoven for single-channel display, this assemblage of ambient loops
illustrates a series of abstract narratives: Nature revives a discarded TV,
then consumes it; a window both divides and duplicates our view of a
mountain landscape; an electric fence supplies power to electric sheep,
the kind androids allegedly dream of; and kabuki beacons stream festive
data into an otherwise stagnant swamp.
I shot every frame of the e-scape v series on one camera, subjecting it to
conditions that well exceeded its environmental ratings. I edited the
footage using experimental techniques that often crashed my laptop. The
results were usually far from inspiring, yet on rare occasion an image
surfaced that was too lovely to attribute to a technical glitch. This led me
to contemplate what ghosts resided in my machines, and what might
happen if a virtual entity manifested itself in the physical world. (Given
recent advances in additive layer manufacturing, it's not such a stretch to
imagine a rogue virus hacking a 3D printer, materializing itself and
escaping into the wild.)
With that in mind, I modeled a Trojan virus to resemble its namesake
horse, then set it loose to document its interaction with the real world. I did
not anticipate that it would attack my kabuki beacons. Nor did I expect
nature to unleash her vengeance upon the creature and its offspring. In
my attempt to develop symbiotic relationships between the environment
and technology, I created a monster. Perhaps it should serve as a
cautionary tale for innovators who build machines intended to enhance
our outdoor experiences.