trailer for This Tree
This Tree is a 3-channel installation about our relationship with nature during this climate crisis.
Drones have the ability to provide a top-down overview of our planet, and while associated with the military and surveillance, they also have been used in environmental management by scientists and NGOs to track animals and the health of flora in relatively non-invasive ways. The point-of-view of drones is aligned with Western constructs of both God and Science.
My interest in drone technology is haunted by these associations, by both the privilege and the power that the technology implies. I am always anxious when I fly my drone, worried that it will get damaged, violate protected airspace, or invade the privacy of those on the ground. Like map-making in the age of European exploration of the earth, or Michel Foucault’s ruminations on the panopticon, we’ve become aware that being able to see the big picture can give one a sense of total control, both real and imagined.
In the age of climate change, we are often confronted with large scale infographics, data-driven maps and imagery taken from above. However, our understanding of this crises through information graphics is missing the complexity and mystery that more subjective experiences provide. I believe that subjective experiences of nature give us a way to assuage the panic when facing our new ecological reality, and see beauty and mystery that data-driven infographics do not provide.
This work was originally exhibited at the Berkeley Art Center.