Thursday, February 8, 2007

SILENT RUNNING Installation complete

Silent Running

Silent Running is an investigation of the patterns that occur organically and biologically in nature. It is also a comment on man's depiction of nature, what man longs for and is allured to in nature and man's desire to emulate it to the point of complete control.

Some patterns are technical, such as the Max/MSP patches that simulate clams, deer fur and peacocks by using simple equations on the television screens. Some are conceptual like the connection between butterflies fluttering around flowers for food and fish swimming around coral reef for protection and food. Also shown is shoot footage of India Point Park, Providence, that is put in the loop in the videos so the viewer has "down time" to digest what he/she is seeing.

There is an irony in the installation. The "outside" is fake. All the flowers were bought at a Michael's craft store in Warwick along with a 3" by 12" spray painted astro turf rug. But the televisions (often associated with just showing projections and thus, ultimately false images) are the only devices showing scenes that are real; fish, landscapes, equations. This illustrates my own person disconnect with nature.

As the class comes to a close and my installation is over (are these things ever over?) I want to offer the class a few questions on "Silent Running":

1. What is the most beautiful "scene" (be it on a television or in the installation itself) in the installation?
2. Are the butterflies beautiful or crappy?
3. When was the last time you had an experience/run in with nature? Does this installation emulate a pastoral scene or a meadow?
4. What is missing, aesthetically, from nature that is not illustrated in the installation?

Here are some links to artists who inspired this project. - Werner Herzog grew up on a remote village in Bavaria. He never watched movies, television and hardly ever listened to recorded music. He made his first phone call at the age of 17. As a result, he is a cultural "outsider" film maker (although he went to an academy) with strong connections and ties with nature. I was influenced by his cinematic landscape shots. - The film in which this project takes it's name from. Silent Running is a 1972 low budget science fiction film that aesthetically may be the polar opposite to a Herzog film. It is the story of an ecologist on a space ship attempting to save the only remaining plant life in existance. I was turned out by the film maker's "winging it" approach to special effects, such as putting amputees inside robots to save some cash. Conceptually the movie inspired me as well as aesthetically. - Kevin Bewersdorf's photos are not afraid to the "craptastic". He is interested with fake lawns, paint ball guns, shopping malls, American houses that were built to only last fifty years and essentially just investigating the current day American human condition. Like my installation, his gear tek corporation project investigates what happens when people do a low budget job to try and make something look pretty. : One day, ostridges will be more expensive then Picasso's.

process photos:

peacock drawing: Painted with gauche, put into photoshop, overlayed with finalcut on Max/msp patch.
deer drawing: ditto.

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