For 12 months from May 2004, a webcam was placed on the roof of the Anchor Inn, a 17th century coaching inn in the heart of rural England, part of an area known as Silicon Fen overlooking the Great Ouse and the New Bedford River at Sutton Gault in Cambridgeshire, an area where technology is literally embedded in the flat horizons of a reclaimed landscape of canals, sluices, dykes and ditches.
The webcam was programmed to record images a pixel a second, so that a whole image would be made up of individual pixels collected over 21.33 hours. Each image was collected from top to bottom and left to right in horizontal bands continuously.
The result is Fenlandia, a series of gradually unfolding, classically romantic landscape images harvested and archived over the course of the year.
The work is intended to be slow, a reflection on the ever increasing speeds we demand from the internet. It encodes the landscape over time, with different tonal horizontal bands recording fluctuations in light and movement throughout the day and with broad bands of black depicting nighttime. Stray pixels appear in the image where a bird, person, car or other unidentifiable object may have passed in front of the webcam as the pixel was captured.
Time becomes intrinsic to the work as the previous 76800 seconds or 21.33 hours – just under a day – is displayed pixel by pixel within a continuously updating time lapse film caught in a single frame. Poised between the still and the moving image, the lens and the pixel, the work explores how images can be coded and decoded using both light and time as building blocks for the work.
Commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella and Norwich School of Art for an online project, Silicon Fen (book forthcoming 2007), Fenlandia exists concurrently as a website; a networked full screen live transmission, and as a series of archival digital inkjet prints from the archive.
Exhibitions include: Rhizome ArtBase 101; The Microwave Media Festival, Hong Kong; Digital Aesthetic 2, Harris Gallery, Preston and a solo exhibition at Babylon Gallery, Ely, 2006.
Limited edition prints from the Fenlandia series are available through ARC Projects
click here to launch the Fenlandia website