In the summer of 2009 I began a series of physical paintings for digital space – works on rooftops to be viewed via satellite. Though these works are made outside of the studio they’re often not public works until they enter the virtual landscape. These large-scale paintings made from locally-sourced excess paint take materials from the nooks and crannies up on to the roof and out into the virtual world. You can see the rooftop paintings made in the fall of 2009 here:
This project is entirely self-funded, the money generated in this campaign will pay for travel and materials for as many rooftop paintings as the weather allows in the summer of 2010.
More about the ideas behind the project: The view of our built environment from the satellite is surprisingly unconsidered. Our buildings are clearly not designed for the bird’s-eye view, we put the HVAC, water towers and vents – the things we don’t want to look at- up there, and why not? Until recently it was mostly out of sight, out of mind. The landscape from above in our cities is remarkably bland and anonymous; it’s hard to imagine the façade of a building with so little ornamentation or identifying features.
The models for the rooftop paintings are a series of 151 iterations made at least one per day over three months in the spring of 2008. This work was an experiment to establish an alphabet of mark making without traditional tools, using only breath, gravity and my body. These small (4 x 6”) works are a data set of organic forms, which are used as raw material for the digital stage in which the scale, shape and color are tweaked for maximum visibility at a great distance. The production of the rooftop painting involves another set of chance operations whose parameters include location, roof surface, weather and materials. For example, the color choice is determined by the brightest available paint at the time of materials selection. Environmental factors - rain, heat, wind, temperature - and their effects on the building determine much of the visual outcome of the work.
My work is a set of experiments—organized into systematic structures—examining how this virtual world, and my brain in it, works. I paint nowhere, limbo, the in-between spaces we’re all getting comfortable with. This project started as a poetic gesture, an impossible (and ridiculously romantic) attempt a to instigate a human-satellite conversation. This conversation was meant to be both a metaphor for the insularity of painting, and a way out of that airless space. Although not a technologist, I use technology every day, and am curious about it’s effects on our collective psyches and culture. But thinking is not doing, and as this project moved into physical space it surprised me how a simple action can become civic - even global - when performed in public space. With humble materials and a couple of days I can engage the public in a conversation about public space, virtual communication and the poetics of space. This project is a potentially multi-player operation with local, real time applications; simple civic action creating beauty in overlooked spaces - and dispersed, virtual applications; connecting to like-minded communities via the virtual sphere.
Press about this project can be seen here: