I made this video on the course I took this semester called NGWN 410: High Desert Installations. It was entirely shot using a Canon A560 hacked with a scripted intervalometer. The title comes from the device which is used to demonstrate the rotation of the earth.
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
The desert was a new and unfamiliar environment for me to explore. For 12 days we escaped the mountains, the forests, our daily obligations and responsibilities, and the monotony of structured life. We fled away from constraint into a prolonged period of artistic thought. The idea of art combined with adventure was at first fresh and novel to me, but now to me it is the obvious conclusion; it is the ultimate exercise to be released from all other concerns and to focus purely on an artistic experience. I find in this context a barrier between art and life is dropped. Not to say that the two are not connected before, but art is simply a part of life, and now art becomes life; they integrate wholly.
To the casual observer the desert is the embodiment of nothingness. When I told people about this course and where we were going I would usually describe it as "the middle of nowhere." But even as I would say those words I knew in my head the ignorance of them. I believe this idiom is a symptom of urban life, in which we are under such constant bombardment of stimulus that we become conditioned to filter information out. We begin to filter so heavily that in the desert we interpret the experience as nothingness, but there is something there, we just don't let it in. When we take the time to focus our whole self on art in the desert we begin by focusing on understanding the desert itself, and slowly we realize that there is no "nothing". This process is tremendously slow. Only as we spend more time in the desert to we become less numb to the experience, and as we experience the desert more and more our art becomes more responsive to it.
I describe this process as becoming or merging with the desert. It would be truly difficult and highly demanding to complete this process, and our twelve day trip was but a short initial exposure. Even still, by being introduced to and then understanding this sort of assimilation we can begin to apply it to other environments: forests, plains, farms, cities, even the cosmos beyond our pale blue dot.