eclipse (2009/2010)

Eclipse is a web-based artwork-application commissioned by Turbulence.org of New Radio & Performing Arts in 2010. Investigating the intertwined effects of the politics of pollution, the myth of wilderness, and the surplus of online information generated by social networking sites on the environmental imagination, this user-driven project alters and corrupts networked photostreams of United States national and state parks based on the real-time Air Quality Index (particle pollution data).

How Eclipse works:

After visitors to the website choose a designated wilderness park within the United States, Eclipse performs three operations: (1) searches for images tagged with park’s name from the photo-sharing website flickr.com; (2) data-scrapes the pollution data for the nearest city via http://airnow.gov; and (3) corrupts the found image through a set of algorithms that affect color, saturation, and contrast, and that impose intermittent mirroring, deletion, or cropping of the file’s data. The higher the pollution level for the selected location, the more the park image is distorted. Click the link below to visit Eclipse at turbulence.org below:

Experience Eclipse here: http://turbulence.org/Works/eclipse/  

In addition to being exhibited online perpetually, Eclipse has been exhibited at El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe / Currents 2012: Santa Fe International New Media Festival, curated by Frank Ragano and Mariannah Amster; Ohio State University’s Pearl Conard Gallery, curated by Kate Shannon and John Thrasher; University of Massachusetts–Boston’s Harbor Art Gallery, curated by Meredith Hoy; and the Woodstock Digital Media Festival, curated by Joe McKay; and Electronic Village Galleries at Penryn Town Hall (UK), curated by Beryl Graham.

Timothy Scott Barker (University of Glasglow) recently reviewed Eclipse in “Information and Atmospheres: Exploring the Relationship between the Natural Environment and Information Aesthetics,” Media Culture 15.3 (June 2012). Other reviews include Cheryl Lyn Dybas’s “Total Eclipse of the Art” in Oceanography 22.2 (June 2009) and Anna Lena Phillips’s “What’s Wrong With this Picture” in American Scientist 97.2 (March-April 2009).

Eclipse is in the process of being archived at the Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. The project is discussed in Virtueel Platform Research: Archiving the Digital by Annet Dekker and Rachel Somers-Miles.

About Turbulence.org: Turbulence is a project of New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc. (NRPA). Now celebrating 15 years, Turbulence has commissioned over 200 works and exhibited and promoted artists’ work through its Artists Studios, Guest Curator, and Spotlight sections. As networking technologies have developed wireless capabilities and become mobile, Turbulence has remained at the forefront of the field by commissioning, exhibiting, and archiving the new hybrid networked art forms that have emerged.