ORT was commissioned to envelope Oscar Niemeyer’s enigmatic building Le Volcan, a 1982 theater and
national monument in Le Havre, France. It was exhibited there for three weeks, after dark, in October
201&. After this, ORT was “unrolled,” so to speak, peeled off the organic fluid Niemeyer and flattened
out to re-form into an ultra wide, panoramic, digital landscape. The work is silent.
ORT is part of an ongoing investigation that has spanned a lifelong practice musing about what “nature”
might mean, a reflection on concepts of nature in the 21st century, what has come to be known now as
The question this work poses is about the distinction between “natural” and the “unnatural,” and by
implication whether the “real” and the “unreal” are still meaningful terms? In ORT I am proposing a
hybrid world in which these former opposites now exist in a fluid mix .
ORT juxtaposes natural environments, mostly deserts in Utah, US and Sharjah, UAE, with digitally
rendered landscapes, grids and atmospheres. Monumental human heads - CGI characters created from
human motion capture material – hover, drift over and populate panoramic landscapes. Inspired by the
ancient statues of Easter Island, these 3D heads, equally natural and synthetic, exist in motion loops
only, devoid of bodies or agency. They display a sense of unease and discomfort, low level aggression
and vague trauma, without an audience or cultural context.
By editing and compositing together documentary and synthetic elements, ORT is a mannerist flow of
neo-natural landscapes, often evoking stage sets. Things move in this animation, but barely so,
composed more according to the logic of painting than of cinema. Forms, patterns, hues, colors, and
luminescence shift almost imperceptibly, to create a confusing notion of time and space, in a
destabilized, rather conflicted world.