2010 | mowing...mowing...mowing... | 4 minute 43 seconds
Artificially Constructed Nature: In this piece, the process of mowing lawns becomes a representation of a larger notion of artificially constructed “nature”. When we landscape our yard or urban areas, we direct or truncate the growth of grass and plants, transforming the organic into ordered constructions. In a sense, we artificially construct elements of a real living, organic species. In doing so, we might begin to question at what point our interventions into the growth patterns of natural species transforms the plants (grass, in this case) from “nature” to “artifice”.
Aerial Landscapes: Aerial photography and videography provide unfamiliar, awe-inspiring perspectives of the real world. The fact that we can simultaneously view the top of our house on Google Earth, while sitting inside our home looking at a computer screen, elicits a contradictory sense of space and time—we feel at once dwarfed (giving us a sense of humility) and omnipotent (giving us a sense of the sublime). These contradictory notions might prompt us to question how we can feel both at the same time. Which perception is real?
Unlike the awe-inspiring views of the earth from space or sublime photographs of the earth’s urban or rural areas, I capture the mundane activity of mowing one’s lawn. The birds-eye-view of the video (and the projection onto the ground) likens the human figures and their movements to that of ants, an illusion that is reinforced by the buzzing sound of the lawn-mowers. In doing so, I hope to elevate the commonplace, Sisyphean work of the everyman. Maybe I am suggesting the possibility that the quotidian can be sublime?
Digital Technology: Aerial imagery flattens 3D objects, transforming them from real places to visual constructions—2D blocks of color, line, and texture. In my piece, digital manipulation allows me to collage replications of the same video to push this illusion even further, making them coalesce to form larger patterns, or “greening” quilts. At a macroscopic view, these quilts appear to be ordered, morphing landscapes. At a microscopic view, each video shows the repetitive, banal process of suburban lawn-mowing. The interplay between the macroscopic and microscopic allows the viewer to alternate between experiencing each individual video as reality and then seeing the larger collage as a constructed reality. Digital video manipulation, in this piece, conflates realism and abstraction.