Berlin-based artist Robert Seidel works in the fields of experimental film, installation, public art, image making, performance, sound, and curation.
tempest is an environmental video installation commissioned for the 10th anniversary of the Digital Graffiti Festival. The work combines abstract video projections and immersive soundscapes with choreographed fog and water fountains. In doing so, the artwork literally repainted the lake, woods and architecture of Alys Beach, Florida.
»tempest subjugates the senses through digitally generated weather patterns, updating 18th century notions of the sublime while expanding what it means to augment reality.«
Brett Phares, curator of Digital Graffiti
In a melancholic restaging of the sublime, tempest invites spectators to experience the awe of nature, yet also a sense of loss at a nature bred and cultured in the accelerated convergence of our digitalized lives. Through chimerical colours and equivocal gestures, it magnifies the ever-changing possibilities of the unfiltered physical world. The piece’s speculative geo-engineering melds distinct scales of location, artwork and audience into one another.
The theatrical cascade of smouldering images is interrupted by static drawings that visualize the intricate airflow of the lake, in turn becoming erratic spectral experiments where high-frequency colour patterns are scattered through water, fog and vegetation. Nikolai von Sallwitz’s vivid music and sound further refract the scalar differences, mixing ethereal voices and protruding noises into the stochastic humming of flora and fauna.
Two years prior to the installation, Seidel’s personal experience of the unstable climate conditions alongside the Gulf of Mexico became a long-lasting memory. A gentle evening suddenly turned into a rainstorm, later sparking the title tempest and the concept to technically heighten the local climate, combining it organically with the unpredictable costal weather conditions. Almost on cue, toward the end of the festival a storm approached, melting the artwork with real rain and lightning, fusing the notional tableaux with reality…
tempest is in direct lineage with Seidel’s environmental installations advection and weven.
Environmental Installation, D/US 2017
Artwork & Documentation: Robert Seidel
Music: Nikolai von Sallwitz
Location: Alys Beach, Florida
Commission: 10th Anniversary of Digital Graffiti Festival
May 19th – 21st, 2017
Additional Animation: Falk Müller
Curator: Brett Phares
Event Host: The Alys Foundation
Event Director: Kelli Siler
Production Director: John Rosenberg
Water Fountain Partner: James Erasmus & Monica Nagel
Technology Partner: Christie Digital
Partner Production Leads: Geoffrey Platt & Roy C Anthony
Partner Management: Tracy Oosterman
Thanks to the whole DG team, Ehren Fordyce, Peggy Schoenegge and everyone who helped to make this project possible…
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