American Landscape

2002 | DVCAM | 19:00

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With no overt narrative, American Landscape employs movement, sound, color, texture and rhythm to meditate on post - 9/11 American life. Its questions and revelations are left unresolved, unexplained and unsettled. Using video shot in and around New York City just before and after September 11th, 2001, the work presents a streaming urban landscape that is in constant motion. It features moments of both reflection and detachment, often as it examines the isolated individual in the crowd. At times radically slowed down, the video has been digitally processed to forcefully order things in three dimensions, drawing out certain details while suppressing others.

Composer Scott Lindroth’s soundscape is based on filtered samples of crowds, malls, speaking and singing voices, highway traffic, and other ambient sound sources. A brief spoken text from Don DeLillo's prescient novel Mao II appears at the end of the second segment. At first unrecognizable as speech, the use of the human voice in this and in other less identifiable instances throughout the film constitutes a key part of the sound design that subtly asserts the human presence.