Oakville Galleries in Gairloch Gardens
Outlook Express(ed) looks at how new media has offered artists Lois Andison, Susan Collins and David Rokeby innovative ways of thinking about time, and thus the ability to create new ways of representing landscape. Each has examined a precise geography, from a specific outlook, revealing the fleeting qualities of the landscape and its constantly shifting tableaux. Their work demonstrates the passage of time as the seasons pass and as the earth hurtles along in its perpetual orbit. Andison, Collins and Rokeby deal with the transformative process of real time in a particular landscape using new media technology. Therefore, the title Outlook Express(ed), "expresses" a playful double entendre referring to a specific place, while also referencing a popular, technological, timesaving computer programme. While quite diverse in their chosen outlooks, the artists share common constructs that are both digitally and data-driven. Over an extended period, they have recorded and accumulated images to form an archive of their specific landscapes, or perhaps, more correctly, "data-scapes."
It is in the amassing of their information that surprising encounters become revealed, as a result either of human interaction or of natural forces. And while the underlying landscapes largely remain constant, many mini-events unfold. For example, in Andison's time and again, a neighbour's garage, seen from the artist's bedroom window, is torn down and eventually replaced by a new construction. Collins's carefully programmed Glenlandia reveals the subtle effects upon a Scottish vista in which a loch's water levels rise and fall and the moonlight waxes and wanes. Rokeby's Machine for Taking Time, situated in Gairloch Gardens, attests to the seasonal plantings of the garden, particular behaviours of Canadian geese, and an array of other events that occur beyond the limits of our normal perception.
From the outset the artists have manipulated the time and space of the landscape in the act of recording it by digital camera or Webcam, and then again, in the final screening of the image. The completed work is no longer confined within the same temporal and spatial boundaries, but rather is turned into riffs and ruminations, sampled and shuffled through digital processes. Their images are not static but traverse from one time-frame to the next, thereby negotiating new positions with the present. The "outlooks" slip in and out of linear time, resulting in landscapes that are re-shaped and transformed. They allow us to perceive new incidental details that our eyes and memory initially failed to record. We are made to see the landscape in a way that was not previously understood.