the sleeper

Years and Days

I am interested in the landscape sublime and how it might be manifested through contemporary environmental sensing and imaging systems. Since initial descriptions of the sublime by Burke and Kant, intense weather and storms have been considered to belong to the realm of the sublime. Nineteenth century landscape painters often attempted to capture the sublime as manifested by powerful storms, perhaps most notably Turner. In the nineteenth and twentieth century, as urbanity expanded, humanity became desensitized to the landscape sublime as it was superseded by the technological sublime. Now, with environmental catastrophe threatening, the landscape sublime has begun to reemerge in our consciousness. In this work I seek to provide a modern technological window into the landscape sublime.

A View of The Sangre de Cristo Mountains is part of a body of work I call Landscape Temporal Variations. A landscape exists within time. The course of the day, the passage of clouds and the weather, and the effects of human occupation continually modify the image of the landscape as it moves through time. The constantly varying sun angle through the course of the day continuously alters the illumination of the landscape. Clouds modulate the light of the sun as well as provide dynamic moving masses within the landscape. Historically landscapists have had to select a given moment in time in which to represent a landscape. The advent of film and video cameras freed the artist from the constraint of representing the landscape at a single moment in time. Moving image recording allows the presentation of a landscape over a range of time. Time-lapse videography is a means to temporally compress time, to allow the observation of phenomena which are below our threshold of perception. I am particularly interested is conveying the sublime nature of atmospheric processes in the landscape.

Cloud Flow is part of an ongoing project intended to provide a visual index and perceptual experience of long-term, large scale atmospheric and environmental processes. The goal is to give the viewer a palpable impression of the climatic processes in which we are immersed. These works attempt to provide a sense of the dynamism and even violence of atmospheric processes and instill a greater respect for the global events which are being altered by human activity. Cloud Flow is related to the Landscape Temporal Variations, but the time frame is expanded from days to years, and the field of view is expanded from localities to continents. This series of Cloud Flow videos compress a year of weather satellite imagery into a five minute animation. The series depicts the contiguous states of the U.S., showing much of the North American continent.

Bill Dolson