Client Case Study
Four Seasons Hotel, Silicon Valley
The Four Seasons Hotel, Silicon Valley's video art program was curated by Patricia Shea and ArtPlay.
Five digital artists: Brian Alfred, JD Beltran, Jason Salavon, Ranu Mukherjee, and Kota Ezawa are presented in an exhibition on a large video wall in the public space of the hotel. Amongst this group are animators, video artists, and a digital artist working with a regenerative data-culling algorithm focused on Silicon Valley.
These artists - in their backgrounds, inspiration, practice, and finished artworks - attest to the diversity of artistic production in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley. These are but a few of the numerous talented artists living and working in the Bay and who have found the geography, history, culture, and politics of the area inspiring.
Golden Gate (9mins 38secs)
In his paintings, collages, and digital animations, Brian Alfred surveys the urban landscape and the barrage of sensory stimulation that confronts the contemporary individual on a daily basis. Particularly inspired by society’s obsession with the digital age, Alfred uses just about any available form of digital media as source material. Employing Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, the artist uses his computer as an artistic tool, along with an X-ACTO blade, tape, and a ruler, to manipulate found images. He creates collages and uses them as a starting point for creating animations that he thinks of as moving paintings.
His piece Golden Gate is one of these digital paintings, and it contains only minimal animated parts, intended to create a “peaceful feeling” for the viewer. It achieves this through the simple imagery of a view of the Golden Gate Bridge through treetops, just after dusk. The only movement in the video are the car lights that move smoothly and steadily across the bridge from right to left. Whether or not it was intended as such, Golden Gate proves to be a beautiful homage to the bridge of the same name and the areas of San Francisco and Marin County that surround it.
Portal II (3 minutes 18secs)
JD Beltran is a media artist based in San Francisco and her video, Portal II, is a meditation on time, technology, perception, and the evolution of the Silicon Valley. Of the work, she said, “The imagery evokes how we’ve measured time, how the San Francisco Bay Area landscape evolved, the rise of technology and cities, and how we’ve depicted seeing (the eye) from the cave paintings to the present.”
The video shows three different examples of morphing – first, the Earth to the moon and then the sun; second, the country road turned busy freeway; finally, the series of eye close-ups that change from one into the next and finally morph back into the Earth. By using imagery that does not show a specific location in the Silicon Valley (requiring some geographic familiarity to identify this), the video plays a quiet tribute to the Bay Area while making peaceful commentary on its development.
Radiant Chromosphere (4 minutes 59 seconds)
Ranu Mukherjee is a well-known digital artist from the Bay Area whose work examines the figure of the nomad and movement. Her video Radiant Chromosphere (move towards what is approaching) is one of the “hybrid films” that she has created with many layers of photography, painting, and digital imagery. The film contains a large variety of imagery from the natural world, with some recognizably California elements.
Radiant Chromosphere (move towards what is approaching), is a short animated projection of a fictional event evoking transformation of a once agriculture based economy into a technologically based one. It reflects on the sun’s energy as it is deeply connected to the economic and social histories as well as speculative narratives of Silicon Valley. The film is composed around a Tree of Life which assembles itself from the detritus of a solar storm that comes through the orchards, gathering the objects which have been brought there by the people of many nations into a swirling tactile event. In the boughs of the Peruvian Pepper Tree past (cherries, oranges, and pears) and present (solar panels) bounties grow together. The use of visual tropes more common to textile work lend an intimate and decorative element to the epic nature of the event pictured.
Paint, Unpaint (1 minute 38 seconds)
Kota Ezawa’s Paint, Unpaint is another form of a meditation. In this video, Ezawa recreates the photograph by Hans Neumann of the artist Jackson Pollock in the process of making one of his action paintings. Seen from below in this video, the painting occurs in reverse – hence the title Paint, Unpaint.
Kota Ezawa is based in San Francisco and his practice involves painstakingly recreating animated sequences from iconic art history, pop culture, and cinematic sources.
Local Index (Regenerative Algorithm - real-time)
Jason Salavon’s Local Index also examines the Silicon Valley but in a more abstract, yet analytical, way. An iteration of his work Master Index, Local Index was commissioned for the collection and uses a “regenerative” algorithm to cull and display data from Wikipedia pages visited in the Silicon Valley.
The artist wrote the code for the algorithm during an artist’s residence at Microsoft Research, and then translated this code from Master Index to Local Index so that it is Silicon Valley-specific. Displayed as a tessellation, the image morphs and changes color over real-time as live information moves through the algorithm.