Bill Dolson

Scanners

Bill Dolson

Santa Fe, NM

Scanners: Scanners are outdoor video installations which project geometric computer animations onto vegetation and terrain. Scanners replicate and model a significant process of modernity, the creation of lines of demarcation, division, and segmentation; the gridding of the natural world. These artworks provide a visceral experience of the mechanisms and limitations of this method of understanding nature.

About the artist: Bill Dolson’s artwork occupies a unique juncture of New Media and Land Art with conceptual components. The Large Scale series of works, begun in 2004, comprise vast ephemeral land art pieces which either occur in the sky or are meant to be viewed from above, providing a novel vantage compared to traditional land art. These pieces involve highly charged dynamic geophysical events including synthetic meteor showers, artificial cloud formations, and large scale fires. Some of these works also extend the concerns of Land Art to include the urban landscape, which is dealt with plastically as part of the natural environment.

The sheer scale of these works makes their ultimate realization extremely difficult, requiring comprehensive planning and preparation. Extensive use is made of New Media to provide studies, proposals, simulations, and visualizations for these very large scale works. Due to the daring nature and mega scale of the works, it is sometimes uncertain whether they are intended to be physically realized, providing a strong conceptual component to the work. In this context, the New Media realizations form the preliminary manifestations of the work, but are not considered to be the ultimate form of the work.

Companion Human Scale works explore lifelong concerns with sources of light, interactive environments, and the night. Many of these works transport technological media, such as lasers, into the out-of-doors, creating novel “intersections” between technology and the natural world, again extending the boundaries of historical Land Art.

His current video works provide a continuity with his earlier work, turning his attention from the human figure to the natural landscape. Hybrid works combining photographic and video media explore possibilities for a contemporary sublime landscape.

Bill has worked in what is now known as New Media since the late 60s. He has until recently only rarely exhibited. He has supported himself as a computer engineering consultant. In the early 70s he wrote software for the ARPANET, the predecessor of the Internet. He has consulted extensively on digital image processing for the film and television industries. A specialist in computer vision, he is currently consultant to a NASA research project employing augmented reality for advanced air and spacecraft cockpits and extraterrestrial rovers.

Bill moved to New York City from Illinois in the early 70s and for the next 20 years produced abstract computer graphics and animations as well as a body of photography and numerous videos, many dealing with the human female figure. He abandoned his art practice in the early 90s and involved himself in auto racing. He moved to New Mexico in 2000 and destroyed all of his work produced to that date. A pilot since his teens, he focused on aviation, accumulating hundreds of hours flying over the Southwest in both gliders and powered aircraft. In 2004 he decided to return to an art practice and began producing his current body of work.

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