Moving Image: How Kevin Cooley turned Los Angeles Upside Down

Whitewall is pleased to present Skyward, the first in a series of video art pieces featured in our new “Moving Image” section. Artist Kevin Cooley speaks about the video in his own words below.

I have long been fascinated with Los Angeles as a place of extremes with its vast network of infrastructure, and its complex relationship to nature. I wanted to encapsulate all of this in a singular work that was simple on on the surface, but also incredibly complex, like L.A. itself. I used the experience of driving as an allegory, which seemed to be the most natural way to talk about Los Angeles. The moving sequences were shot through the sunroof of my car while driving around town, then stitched together with over one hundred individually shot elements, to create an impossibly long tracking shot. Skyward navigates through a landscape of architecture, freeway overpasses, palm trees, birds, and other iconic Southern California elements, before soaring high above the clouds while looking back to a labyrinthine city far below. This point of view manifests physically in the gallery by presenting this nearly ten-minute sequence on an oversized, suspended screen, compelling viewers to stare upwards toward the skylight-like tableau. What begins as realism subtly veers into the realm of fantastical daydream, transcending the routine activity of commuting by car, and rising above the gridlock at street level to a pristine blue sky saturated with limitless possibility.

Skyward is now on view at the Boiler until February 17, 2013. The Boiler viewing hours are 12pm to 6pm, Thursday – Sunday, and also by appointment.

Kevin Cooley is a visual artist working in photography, video, and installation. His work examines the interaction between the natural environment and the one that we fabricate. Making use of unusual or overlooked moments in everyday life, his work becomes a meditation on our evolving relationship with technology, nature, and ultimately with each other. Recent large-scale work in addition to Skyward include The Bonfire Project and Remote Nation.  The Bonfire Project, a project commissioned for the 2012 Scope Miami Sculpture Atrium, reclaims dozens of cathode ray tube television sets and carefully arranges them to mimic the shape of a towering bonfire as fiery flames flicker across their screens. Remote Nation, comprised of 100 analog TV sets placed throughout a vacant NYC apartment building and playing programs controlled by his father’s remote control in Colorado, was recently on view in New York, seen from the High Line. Kevin received his MFA in Photography from the School of Visual Art, and currently lives and works in Los Angeles.

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