Artists Project Themselves on the Landscape

Since coming across the work of artist Jim Sanborn, who beams bold geometric shapes against the desert out west, we’ve seen more artists projecting themselves on landscapes — both urban and natural. By altering the backdrop with their light projections, they are creating new works, however momentary.

According to This Is Colossal, a great art and design blog, French artist Clement Briend recently traveled to Cambodia, where he photographed sculptures of Cambodian deities and projected them on urban trees.

On his work, Cambodian Trees, Briend writes: “Cambodian culture is inhabited by a deep spirituality. Their world is inhabited by spirits. In this landscape, a city asleep at night reveals divine figures on trees, allowing their incarnation. At night, we can touch the magic that illuminates Cambodians’ view of the world.”

Briend uses “homemade prototypes” to project his massive-scale images. He says his photographs “match reality and projection, space and surface. They aren’t flat representation of things, but a mirror of our minds.” The projections themselves almost seem perfectly designed for their arboreal manifestation: What would appear flat projected against a wall becomes amazingly voluminous against trees.

Other artists are continuing to project themselves in natural settings. Like Sanborn, another artist, Javier Riera, is beaming wild geometric patterns onto landscape scenes. Unlike Sanborn, he’s using spiral or circular patterns.

Out in the woods, the blog, Beautiful Decay, says Riera’s pieces “distort perception.”

Riera is creating images not unlike Briend’s: they also look like they could have been made by some forest deity.

Lastly, an artistic projection — an installation in Rekyavik, Iceland — by architect Marcos Zotes is called [E]mission. Zotes sees CCTV cameras and people, instead of urban trees or the forest, as the landscape that needs to be lit. He writes: “Surveillance cameras are today a common feature in any urban setting. These mechanisms of control have become so much part of our everyday life, that in a way they have become invisible to us, even if their presence is apparent everywhere. We are constantly being watched and we no longer care.”

Marcos Zotes’ work uses a projector and sensor to change the way we perceive a CCTV camera. “Every time a person passes by, the projector illuminates the camera and the building where it is attached, defining its field of vision. The space also acquires a theatrical quality; it becomes a stage, in which anonymous citizens are made aware of their role in the urban play of the city.”

Image credits: (1-3) Clement Briend, (4-6) Javier Riera, (7-8) Marcos Zotes

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