Documentation of installation at Recitation Gallery, Art Department, University of Delaware, 2014. “Cloud” is simultaneously political commentary and a formal investigation of color, light, and the forced intersection of three-dimensional objects within the two-dimensional plane. It is photographic exactitude mixed with a bit of fabrication. I use a collage approach in order to make tangible one of the earliest photographic visual effects—compositing clouds into an otherwise blown-out white sky, the blending of two separate photographs to achieve a new visual experience. My version of the visual effect uses a three dimensional sculptural object and LED lights to replace the sky that has been digitally removed from the two dimensional video plane. It is architectural play with the dimension of a flat screen video projection, thus making the manipulation evident.
In “Cloud” I use the idea of artifice to consider contemporary concerns about control. It references the mediated stories that we tell (and are told) via the cinema or the news to expose how much of our beliefs are shaped by constructs over which in actuality we have very little influence. “Cloud” toys with the concept of Control in its different forms: Government control. Control of the weather. Control of data. Control of people (surveillance devices) and Control of patterns (data storage). Embodied by this omni-pervasive metadata structure looming unseen above our heads it aims to blur the divide between who is watching and who is being watched, who and what is being controlled.
The video projection screens long shots of landscapes photographed on location at The Wilhelm Reich Museum, an historical site where the homonymous psychoanalyst / natural scientist claimed to have discovered orgone energy, an omni pervasive form of subtle energy at the base of life. He believed it to be especially potent in Orgonon, Maine (where the museum is located) and was convinced he could harness it from thin air and use it to heal people, control the weather, and make contact with UFOs.
Regardless of the exactness of the science behind his research, cloud control became the most tangible symbol of Reich’s aspiration to influence Nature. In order to manifest this obsession I digitally removed the sky from the video portion of the installation and replaced it with a sculptural object. Made from hardware cloth cubes stuffed with cotton and polyester fiber filling backlit by LED lights, this cloud-element is a minimalist inspired “stand in” for Orgonon’s cloudy skies.
On this stage, unidentified and identified objects intermittently fly through the landscapes. Both UFOs and IFOs are sourced from found footage. The UFOs are cut from a film made in 1956, a decade marked by McCarthyism, the cold war and an increase in regional revolution, ground warfare, and sputnik. The IFOs (or drones) are lifted from present day YouTube videos, establishing a continuity link between past and present anxiety about what is looming in the skies above.
"Cloud" is part of a larger body of work titled 'Happiness, Free, for Everyone."
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