The Cave (I)
2017 | 360° 4K video installation, 16:9, 5.1 audio, 6:00mins.
The Cave presents three separate, but intrinsically-linked landscapes of an impossible, apocalyptically sublime world. Here, the illusion of control is placed upon the viewer as they navigate around these digital panoramas. However, the window into this world is limited and provides no clearer narrative answers than the flickering shadows on the wall of Plato’s Cave. The landscapes are deliberately ambiguous and yet unmistakably familiar as Earth. The machinery and structures hint at a planet from which the life-giving qualities have become entirely depleted. Moreover, The single-position 360° view is suggestive of a Exploration Rover, similar to those currently exploring and documenting Mars. On the other hand the instillation evokes a diorama or interactive exhibition in a future museum illustrating the fate of our home planet. The viewer is forced to question their role within the work and the inherent voyeurism of the apocalyptically sublime.
Despite the visual similarity to computer-generated imagery, everything in these landscapes are drawn from ‘real’ environments. The Cave was created using a simple photo-stitching college technique, in which fragments of real environments are re-purposed and animated to build new compositions. This digital bricolage is integral to the process of evoking the sublime from that which would otherwise feel familiar. The accompanying sound design is at once intimate and expansive, suggesting the world beyond that which can be seen. The audio continues seamlessly between compositions, enforcing the idea that the three compositions depict different views of the same geographical landscape. The Cave draws inspiration from the history of Science Fiction, dystopian literature, surrealist painting and the highly contemporary practice of video instillation art pioneered by the likes of Kelly Richardson, Marco Brambilla, Alexandra Crouwers and Rachel Maclean.