Exemplary presentation of "Western Skies" by Jim Ovelmen. All rights reserved; image and music: ©Jim Ovelmen 2014/2015. This performance at PØST Los Angeles was December 12th, 2014. "Western Skies" first premiered at the International Fringe Festival In Taipei, in August 2014.
"Western Skies" -the (exactly 27-minute) video and animation work is divided into four sections. The four segments contain vibrant, expositional visions of four kinds of planetary destructions, with glimpses of the aftermath. Loosely described: This first part includes, “natural destruction” from cataclysm (asteroid/Late Cretaceous); the second: constructed destruction through industrial, military, and institutional complex collapse; the third: metastasis, toxic degeneration, and dormancy; and the fourth part: domination of space by intelligent earth satellites cum medieval torture devices. Ovelmen’s format and aesthetic takes a cue from the special effects dramatization in science fiction media, both informational and entertainment oriented. There is intended sublime humor in the way movies and programming represents places we have never been: (outer space). The work addresses the lack of public interest in “humanitarian” exploration, by matching to fear of environmental crises that we feel no control, i.e., the absolutism of environmental destruction, the anonymity of daily post-modern warfare, and the ongoing deterioration of meaningful social discourse. The work Western Skies calls out both the poetic pleasures and cautions when indulging in science as daydreams, over scientific inquiry and individualistic participation or involvement with outcomes. -HKZ