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2006, A three screen, digital media installation
|This Installation is an ‘expanded’ version of “Trees
in Winter” and was developed specifically for exhibition
in the 2006 Gwangju Biennale in South Korea. The description was
written for that specific location and attempts to draw parallels
between western science and the Buddhist cosmologies of Asia.
Combining the speed and versatility of modern technology with
the strength and spiritual significance of the tree, the installation
suggests an environmental model where technology can work collaboratively
with natural forces.
The combinations of imagery and sound generated in real time
is unique at any given moment and is part of a continuously evolving
process fueled by the operating system’s interaction with
the planetary weather system. In the sciences, this generation
of image and sound is often described as an “emergent” property. “Emergence” is
a term used to describe self-organization in all living systems
and on a planetary scale this is recognized as the dynamic origin
of biological life, cognition and evolution. The weather systems
which track across the surface of the planet are likewise described
as emergent and are the driving force which fuels all biological
life and an integral part of the cosmologies of both the ancient
and modern world.
The ‘shape’ of the work, at any particular moment
in time, will be governed by the weather systems, which are constantly
circling the planet. Just like the trees in the landscape, the
representation will change its form and appearance in response
to input from the weather. The flickering ephemeral nature of
the projected image will combine with the changing winter light
to create an uneasy equilibrium between the power and presence
of the tree, the transitory nature of the light and the clouds,
and human presence in the landscape. The over all feeling of
the work will reflect the vulnerability and transitory nature
of all living systems.
Drawing on the ancient concept of the earth as a living system,
combining the traditional Eastern concept of Yin and Yang and
the systems theory from contemporary science the work will suggest
a new post Romantic form of landscape art with relevance to the
issues of our own times. The installation will use modern high
speed communication systems combined with customized soft ware
and computer technologies to harness the energy produced by the
rotation and tilt of the planet and transform that energy into
an open, self regulating and interconnected system. The system
will monitor weather data from four different continents, Australia,
Europe, North America and Asia, and use this real-time information
to edit three files of pre recorded movie footage of a tree seen
against the background of a stormy winter sky.
Chris Welsby — June 2006
|Video Documentation (4.2 mb)
Financial assistance: Simon Fraser University, British
Columbia Arts Council. Science and Humanities Research Council, Canada.
Sound Composition: Mark Brady and Chris Welsby.
Software Programming: Mark Brady
Thanks to: Binghui Huangfu, curator. Slade School
of Fine Art, UCL London, UK. University of Technology – Creativity
and Cognition Studios, Sydney, Australia. University of British Colombia – ICICS
(Institute for Computing,
Information, and Cognitive Systems) Vancouver, Canada.
Special Thanks: Mike Leggett, Susan Collins, Kim Lear, Mark Brady.