Scanners
Site-specific, human-scale works illuminating terrain and vegetation with geometric video animations
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Scanners are outdoor video installations which project geometric computer animations onto vegetation and terrain. They are intended to be viewed at night. In its essential state, a simple animation places a vertical white line on a black background, which moves across the frame from side to side. When this animation is projected onto a bush or tree, the line becomes a vertical plane of light scanning across the branches of the "subject," exposing detailed structure which is normally not perceived. A familiar plant form therefore becomes exotic, even alien, as details of its physical structure are revealed. The effect is almost like that of a medical imaging technique, like a CAT-scan, or even of a dissection, revealing "slices" of the botanical structure. However, since the scanning plane of light is continuously in motion, the visual field is complex and ever-changing. Rather than viewing a static structural image, the viewer experiences a gestalt of the illuminated structure.

A Scanner is human scale, intimately experienced by a lone individual or by a small number of viewers at a time. Each projection is intended to be viewed in near darkness as it illuminates an area of terrain or vegetation just a few yards across, where the light levels are low. While the small projectors use lasers, Scanners are not spectacular; they are perhaps the antithesis of the typical stadium laser show. They are small, modest in size, intimate and subtle.

The definition of scan is to "look at all parts of (something) carefully in order to detect some feature." While the word scan can mean to examine, it can also mean to contemplate, inquire, investigate, study, or survey.

Scanners replicate and model a significant process of modernity, the creation of lines of demarcation, division, and segmentation; the gridding of the natural world. These artworks provide a direct experience of this process of the segmentation of nature. They make manifest the activity of spatial division, a method by which modernity has organized and understood the natural world. Scanners provide a visceral experience of the mechanisms and limitations of this method of understanding nature.

The initial installation of Scanners was a project of the Railyard Art Project, in Railyard Park, Santa Fe, NM, April thru October 2018.

     
Orthogonal Planes, Blue Mist, Railyard Art Project, 2018

A meter high Blue Mist is scanned by two orthogonal planes arrayed as in a crosshair. The planes penetrate the shrub from above at a slight angle and expand and contract. Due to the fine structure of the Pinyon, the beams are still visible when they reach the ground. The piece is designed to be viewed from all sides by walking around the Blue Mist.
 

 
     
Concentric Cylinders, Artemesia, Railyard Art Project, 2018

A two meter diameter Artemisia scanned by two concentric cylinders which alternately expand and contract. The cylinders penetrate the shrub from above at a about a 45 degree angle. The relatively dense and low-lying structure of the plant allows the scanner to be viewed from the side and above. The piece is designed to be viewed from all sides by walking around the Artemisia.
 


3/2018-3/2019
Santa Fe, NM