'Antipodes', Layla Curtis
Antipodes is an online project, which allows viewers to access live images from paired webcams, positioned at opposite ends of the globe. The online project launched in March 2013 and provides a glimpse into the fascinating comparisons, and often unexpected symmetries, between the distant pairings. For example the mirroring of the misty mountaintops of Volcan Tungurhua in Ecuador and Gunung Sinabung in Indonesia make it hard to believe that the locations are at the furthest possible distances on earth.
Layla Curtis herself is fascinated by different environments and surroundings; with maps and journeys often featuring in her work. Antipodes continues with this trend, the starting point for the project being a personal longing of the artist to go back to the Antarctic, where she spent three months on a residency in 2006. Once back in the UK, Curtis spent an entire year logging into a webcam at a far off place in the Antarctic; ‘I was completely captivated by watching the changing landscape across the seasons in real time and I found it fascinating to witness the smallest of incidents through a lens’. Curtis hopes that people will similarly develop an affiliation with certain pairings on the Antipodes site, and feel compelled to follow locations, watch for changes and share their discoveries. The choice of location is very deliberate, monitoring subjects from the surf on the Spanish coast, to the traffic in Taiwan. One highlight of the project is the insight allowed into the everyday aspects of those living in different cultures and environments around the world.
A version of the work was exhibited at Spacex, Exeter earlier this year in the form of photographic prints of the pairings at particularly resonant moments, chosen by the artist. The exhibition at Phoenix this Autumn develops this further; encompassing live feeds, a time-lapse film as well as photographic and drawing works created as part of the web project.
Steven Bode, Director of Film and Video Umbrella comments;
“Antipodes adds to Film and Video Umbrella’s growing roster of online projects, and offers a highly accessible example of the ways in which artists are making use of the internet. Not internet art as such, or media art specifically, the project takes a year-long, coolly conceptual look how public webcams are mapping the surface of the earth, and providing us with a constant stream of close-up images from faraway places. Curtis’ most ambitious attempt to date to incorporate digital technology in her practice, the work extends her long-standing interest in cartography.
At this halfway stage of the project, which was always intended to be online for a year, it is highly appropriate, at the time of the autumn/spring equinox, when one half of the planet fades towards darkness and the other rises further into the light, that the piece is getting another exhibition outing at the aptly named Phoenix in Leicester. Showing this primarily online work before a gallery audience also adds to the back-and-forth between public space and screen-space that is fundamental its conception.”
The exhibition will run at Phoenix, 4 Midland Street, Leicester from 18 October – 21 December 2013. The online project will continue at http://antipodes.uk.com until March 2014.
Antipodes is commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella in association with Spacex. Continued development support from Phoenix. Technical support by Cuttlefish. Supported by Arts Council England.
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