Ever since man could imagine the concept of Utopia, an ideal world, artists have tried to express what this world would be like through various art forms.
The concept of a Utopia has been a font of inspiration for artists, musicians and the literati, who throughout the ages have provided us with countless examples of artistic expressions of their own ideal world in literature, paintings and music.
Chinese Shan-shui paintings, which date back to ancient times, are one notable art form that usually expresses this abstract concept in a seemingly ordinary way.
It is a common misconception that Shan-shui paintings are merely pictures of landscapes, but instead a Shan-shui picture is more of a meditation on the artist’s position in relation to the real world and his inner universe.
A Shan-shui painting is more than a peaceful landscape picture of, for example, a mountain with trees, with a tiny fishing boat on the lake at its base; Instead, it represents how small man is in the greater scheme of things, whilst at the same time representing an abstract structure of the world or universe, rather than a specific, real-world landscape. The trees, mountains and rivers have their own personalities, over which you can apply your own feelings and values. This may evoke feelings of happiness, sadness, bewilderment and/or wonder. Chinese art is more about internal dialogue, inner thoughts and meditation. It is more inward facing than observational.
Inspired by the concepts and philosophy of Shan-shui painting, I began to think about what the ideal world would be and where we can spiritually or mentally escape to, in this, the Internet era.
For me, when meditating over the concept of a Utopia, I find that it is a welcome escape from reality, and from what can be an often a frustrating world.
Thus, I wanted to create an abstract digital representation of Utopia, using Shan-shui as a reference art form.
The Internet distorts reality, and our perceptions of the world and the events that take place in it. The Internet is of great benefit to us all, but at the same time it can be detrimental. The sheer volume of content that is generated by the Internet on a daily basis allows us only to consume information in bite-size chunks, causing us to generate opinions that are not fully informed on virtually anything from, artworks to celebrities to global crises. Thus our views on reality are being gradually distorted through our computer and mobile device screens. The Internet, for many, is a growing distraction; for some what is real and what is virtual is often interchangeable.
It is my intention that my artwork can exist solely within this digital realm, and the screen is a window into this world. I want to create an abstract landscape that can only exist in the virtual world. This abstract representation will use elements that do not exist in reality, but, through the viewer’s own interpretation, may be seen to be certain basic elements that do exist in the real world; Such as flowing water, mountains and trees.
The artwork’s animation is slow moving and gradually evolves in complexity. This movement is intended to give the viewer a brief escape from the real-world, to clear the mind, to allow some time to get in touch with their own feelings and emotions, and time to reflect on their own inner universe, rather than their position in the real-world with its many distractions.
By allowing the viewer to briefly escape the real world, they can be more open or free to derive their own interpretations of the artwork’s meaning and what emotions it may evoke. There is no message or linear narrative in this artwork; the emotions it may evoke are as individual as the person viewing the artwork. It is my hope that each time the artwork is viewed it may evoke different feelings or emotions in the viewer.
Title: Another Escape
Medium: Moving Image
Dimension: Video 3840 x 2160 (4K) @ 60fps, 13min 14 seconds