Location: Los Angeles, CA, United States
Completion date: 2020
Artwork budget: $25,000
Rebeca Méndez Studio
Assistant to Artist / Assistant Video Editor
Rebeca Méndez Studio
Any-Instant-Whatever portrays the daytime sky in its textures and physics of blueness, its range of water formations sculpted by wind and pressures born of our nearest star. To create Any-Instant-Whatever, I used a commonly practiced technique in photography called Time-Slice Photography. A Time-Slice image is built from the photographs of a time-lapse and each ‘slice’ is a photograph taken at a different point in time, usually a few minutes after the previous slice. Time-Slice Photography and Time-Lapse Photography are commonplace techniques of Chronophotography, which has been the preoccupation of hundreds of thousands of photographers, artists and scientists for over 150 years. As a video artist, I adapted such technique to video, to compress one day, from dusk to dawn, in 90 minutes, alluding to abstract time, and it turn creating a poetic expression of atmospheric time. The dawn to dusk sky of Los Angeles is abstracted into 48 moments, each 15 minutes ahead of the other so one can experience the ever changing sky above. Shown at architectural scale. Dimensions variable, shown here at 36×16 feet.
This project was commissioned for inclusion in the art + science exhibition SKY, an immersive examination of how humans have conceptualized the sky throughout history, this group exhibition demonstrates how the unfolding realities exposed by new science are affecting change in the understanding of ourselves, our planet and beyond. SKY was exhibited in winter 2020 at the Williamson Gallery in Pasadena, curated by Stephen Nowlin, director of the gallery. Nowlin’s exerpt from the exhibition catalog: “Any-Instant-Whatever portrays the daytime sky in its textures and physics of blueness, its range of water formations sculpted by wind and pressures born of our nearest star—forces which, when synaptically processed, transform into emergent sensations of sublime beauty. This is the sky of our closest reach, the sky that most connects us in time to our deep evolutionary past through which we peered into the night’s other and its—until very recently—unreachable horizons.”
This artwork is the result of the seamless collaboration of the artist (myself), artist assistants, gallery director and curator of the exhibition and his team, and UCLA School of the Arts staff who guided us through learning new softwares and let me film the sky of Los Angeles from the roof of the UCLA Broad Art Center in Westwood. All works are team works and I’m grateful for their support.
For this video, I chose to depict one day in early January when the typically blue skies are scattered with clouds—from the low, puffy layers of the ‘Stratocumulus Clouds,’ to the layers of bread rolls of the ‘Altocumullus Clouds,’ the regularly spaced cloudlets, often rippled ‘Cirrocumulus Clouds,’ and the delicate cloud streaks of the ‘Cirrus Clouds.’ One of the oldest human inventions is the clock—‘rationally measuring time intervals.’ Water clocks, along with the sundials, were possibly the first time-measuring instruments. Our modern lives are tightly organized around the clock, yet our bodies relate to and are influenced by natural time—night/day/twilight (dusk/dawn)—differently. As the viewer enters the lobby they are greeted by a field of harmonious tones of blue, that announce a more natural rhythm to our daily grind. The artwork also investigates aspects of color perception. Since blue light is at the short wavelength end of the visible spectrum, it is more strongly scattered in the atmosphere than long wavelength red light. The result is that the human eye perceives blue when looking toward parts of the sky other than the sun.