Kevin Cooley and Phillip Andrew Lewis
commissioned by Sonoma State University
In the Valley of the Sun is a multi-media installation consisting of three new works which navigates the perception of time and its connection to place. According to ancient legends of local Native American tribes, the moon chose the Sonoma Valley to be its permanent resting place. Within this idea of finality exists a reference to time-keeping and, specifically, an ‘ending’ or ‘ final moment’ where destination
is reached. Using this notion as metaphor, and alluding to the geography surrounding the SSU Art Gallery, the artists explore horological concepts through the mechanics of obsolescent electronics.
Twelve 39” flatscreen TVs displaying live video feeds from twelve, roof mounted, closed-circuit cameras.
Sharing its name with the title of the exhibition, In the Valley of the Sun forges an alignment between the Sonoma Valley, the quartz crystal mines in the foothills of the Sierras, and the shoreline of Bodega Head. Featuring twelve large televisions hanging from the ceiling in the shape of an inverted valley, the work presents an arched view of the open sky from mountains to ocean.
Twelve 39” flatscreen TVs displaying live video feeds from twelve, roof mounted, closed-circuit cameras. 2014.
Each of the screens receives a live video feed from one of twelve corresponding CCTV cameras mounted on the roof above and pointed to sequential portions of sky, much like markers on an overly complex sundial. This creates a chiaroscuro of electronic skylights tracing an imaginary latitudinal line connecting these geographic locations and the works in the exhibition.
365 digital alarm clocks
Alluding to vast crystal deposits located one hundred miles to the east of the gallery, Quartz Array is a clustered configuration of 365 refurbished digital alarm clocks. This chorus of numeric synchronization, or lack of, provides a glowing, repetitive and familiar form of measurement. Depending on quartz crystals for synchronicity, which is never fully obtained, the piece exemplifies human aspirations for accuracy and perfection.
modified vcr, projector, 75-foot vhs loop
Tide Over is an unorthodox marker of the passage of time which measures the horizontal distance between low and high tide along the shore of Bodega Head, a promontory on the coast twenty miles west of the gallery. Imagery of waves crashing this beach plays on a VHS tape loop which stretches across the gallery in a length equal to the tide’s reach.
In this point of view shot, the water crawls closer and closer until it washes over the lens, short-circuiting the VHS Camera, and abruptly ending the recording. The loop is witness to the last images the camera was able to capture before its destruction —a testament to the cyclical nature of life.