I recently undertook a guest artist residency at Lademoen Kunstnerverksteder in Trondheim, Norway, with a view to involving the unique landscape of the fjords in my work. I spent a lot of time exploring the coastline near where the residency was sited and gathering footage of the fjord.
The calmness of the location is quite extraordinary: some of the footage looks like it’s been 3D rendered rather than captured from reality. Often, on ascending the cliffs toward what I expected would be considered by the Romantics as an inspiring and morally wholesome view, I saw that the viewpoint had already been occupied: by a picnic table.
I began to notice how many of these spaces had been commodified and used, and started making a set of images that focussed on picnic tables as insertions into the landscape. Picnic tables as sites from which to view a beautiful view, in a pre-commodified way, as a landscape that has not only been pre-enjoyed but so much so that it is now ‘staged’ with amenities. This led to a body of research into picnic tables, their design, and ultimately to some still image experiments using copyright-free 3D models of picnic tables.
I used this commission to develop these experiments into an animation that mixed live action vistas of the Trondheim fjord with 3D animated picnic tables slowly moving through it. I wanted the piece to carry something of the calmness and unreality of the location as well as to allude to the prefabricated nature of the experience of consuming those beautiful yet unreal-looking vistas.
Outcasting: 4th Wall, Cardiff, October 2012
Lightworks 2012, Grimsby Minster, March 2012
Year of production: 2012
Media: animation, 4m28s