Project info

Consider the Pacific Ocean as the geographic and metaphoric limit for Western Civilization -- the terminus of the three thousand-year reach of Apollonian rationality and industry towards social and geographic paradise. See the City of Our Lady Queen of the Angles of Porciuncula (LA), wedged against this barrier by mountains and deserts, a vast drain filter of Western techno-utopian plotting and dreams. Terminal Arcadia emerges from this vision of place, half seen and half real, a place on the sublime edge of apocalypse and transcendence.

On the shores of the Pacific, Terminal Arcadia is a part of a bookend to manifest destiny -- looking back through the “modern century” to address the prototypical landscape works of explorer/photographers like Carleton Watkins or Timothy O’Sullivan, men who formed the visual vanguard of that final categorizing drive West. Here, at the end of that drive we see the horrific magnificence of their impact on that landscape, now fully encompassed and categorized - reduced, duplicated and extracted via algorithm to the Kodak Picture Spot, Google Street Level View and police drone video feed.

In Terminal Arcadia we glimpse the sublime in the categorical machine itself. It is written in the landscape, “whose gently awful stirrings seem to speak of some hidden soul beneath it.”* The majesty of the land transferred and shunted to the incomprehensible global network, the machine/ghost of Timothy O’Sullivan, which writhes and quests in the electromagnetic haze around it, unknowable in agency and purpose.

A wide variety of methods are combined in this body of work. Traditional large format color photography is placed alongside collaged satellite imagery, screen captures from Microsoft Bing Maps and stereo cards made using a remote-control drone and screen captures from Google Earth. Many of the image are large format prints, 40 inches on the short side. The 3D stereo cards are intended to be viewed with a traditional stereo viewer either as prints or on a computer monitor.

*Melville, Moby Dick. Chapter 111 The Pacific