What effects has self-isolation had on your practice now that we are confined to our homes and have limited interaction with others?
The pandemic has intensified some of the things I was already trying to work through. Firstly it’s intensified the time I spend outdoors, in parks and gardens, simply observing nature. There’s not much else to do right now, so ‘going out’ means going outdoors. I felt like I’ve observed the changes brought about by this spring more-so than at any other time.
Simultaneously, the pandemic has intensified my screen use— it’s the principal way to connect with friends and family. So it’s these two seemingly contradictory tendencies that are intensified. The third intensification has to do with being alone with my thoughts more. There’s not a pressing urge to fill all of my time up *doing* things. So I have more space and time to observe my own responses to the natural world and to the intensification of screen life. So there’s a funny overlap between these things that I’m trying to work through: technological or screen based pictures of nature and how I respond to them, emotionally, intellectually, and bodily.
One clear difference is the way in which a screen demands attention but a garden does not. And yet I can spend much more time in observing a garden than being on-screen without feeling completely drained, and tired, and often slightly buzzed and annoyed. It’s an interesting challenge to try and make an on-screen image that suggests casual observation rather than demands attention. A quiet kind of picture that just *is*.
In some recent video work I was playing with the idea of video as a background furnishing, as a wallpaper. During the pandemic I wanted to continue that trajectory with an on-screen moving picture that is slow, calm, quiet, meant to be absorbed almost as background. Something that might solicit the same kind of attention as a campfire or a brook. I think it’s a similar idea to artist Rafael Rozendaal who describes his websites as waterfalls. Something on screen that offers a change of pace from video chat and social media.
So I’ve been working on a new series of moving pictures, presented as a collection online at pointcloud.garden. All of the pictures are composed of 3d scans of gardens and flowers.
To be more precise the pictures are of point-clouds, the raw data layer that underlies 3d scans and is the basic building block for contemporary computer vision. A point cloud is a collection of points in space, sometimes with color information. Each point has been captured by sensors and software. Self-driving cars, aerial scans, drones, and most all forms of ‘computer vision’ rely on point clouds.