Video . Trilogy of Noise (preview)



Simulated Nature and the Trilogy of Noise

Leaves on Pond . preview

00:01:24 / 00:02:46

Single channel video in three parts (each part is 00:02:46) for a total viewing time of 00:09:38.


Individual parts are Leaves on a Pond . Fish in a Fountain and Trees in a Park.

Engineering + Architecture vs Nature . Architecture is to engineering what the body of a car is to the chassis and motor. It is the veneer. Another way of viewing this symbiotic relationship is to imagine engineering the bull in the china store which could and would destroy everything in its path, while architecture attempts to give engineering direction by giving it form. But of course when you look at the abundance of ugliness in contemporary architecture, you get the impression many architects are blind and the bull is still running unleashed.

Among the many challenges engineering and architecture face, its biggest difficulties have been with the natural environment. Being at times the more aesthetically enlightened of the two, architecture is tasked with the attempt to harmonize, organize and redistribute what is left of what we casually call Nature. There are four basic methods of conforming architecture to Nature (or Nature to architecture) : organic architecture, bionic architecture (biomimicry), the innocent sounding but radical practice of landscaping and the who could care less attitude of just build the damn thing.

Organic architecture needs a natural pristine environment in order to place its creation. Today, too few places are to be found which would allow large scale habitats the luxury of harmonizing organically.

Bionics on the other hand simply retraces mathematical formulas such as the Golden Ratio and the Fibonacci sequence. In this case, nature becomes a mathematical tool used to design graciously composed structures. It is only as an afterthought that Nature is then added onto these edifices in the form of plants such as one would hang a painting on a wall. The buildings created are not Nature but a symbol of Nature.

Landscaping, instead, is the plowing under and upheaving of Nature into conformity with its architectural surroundings. This is the most common form of working with Nature. And it is in landscaping we see the simulating of nature in its height of creation. Gold fish become red fish. Plants are green. Sand is amber. Trees are sculptures. In landscaping, Nature serves the purpose of filling in the empty spaces.

The just build the damn thing and care less about the rest attitude is probably the most prevalent and possibly the most environmentally destructive, especially on the short-term. This method views environmental impact studies as being useless and anyone who stands in their way is a them not an us.

There is, if we wish to call it such, a fifth way, but Nature is neither considered friend nor foe. In this method architecture uses pure human intellect for its inspiration. This form of architecture is represented by the many elongated structures reaching up into the celestial dome now found in most cities. Their ethereal forms stand erect to glitter and sparkle both day and night. These are the Viagra buildings - emotionally sterile but erect.


Nature as a byproduct of engineering and architecture . The premise is that engineering and architecture have supplanted Nature. Where trees once grew, buildings now stand tall. In the modern era, what we call Nature is often simply some sterile hybrid form of a plant. It is a replication of the real. It is simulated nature.

Tragically, Nature has lost its glory. It has become a byproduct of contemporary society and is no longer the source of human life. Today Nature is relegated to the role of being an appendage to constructed environments. It has become ornamental. And frequently, it is made of plastic.


Noise in simulated nature . In this series of videos, the Trilogy of Noise illustrates the beauty of natural forms in simulated environments and its contrast to the noise surrounding these artificial enclaves. Not only has Nature been replaced, it has also been drowned out by the multiplicity of noises found in contemporary society.

Though the sounds in the videos are not an accurate documentation of those noises heard in the environments filmed, the videos are an accurate account of the contrast between Nature, even if simulated, and the noise humanity's artificial environments create.


Nature as something other . The notion that human beings use the word Nature very casually points to the observation that frequently Nature is considered something different from us. To illustrate the point, we do not conventionally say human beings are also a part of Nature. Nor does present-day humanity have a commonly accepted word which incorporates Nature and human beings into a sense of oneness. Though these points may be disputed, I suggest most people would describe Nature in the third person. Nature would be an it, not a we.

Contemporary architecture, along with its engineering tools and its incorporation of technology into its structures, is probably the one art form humanity expresses which inflates this separation of humanity from Nature more than any other art form. Its structural creations are aesthetically ethereal, but its sense of Nature has been reduced down to symbolic hybrid trees in cement planters scattered here and there.


The present series of videos is a continuation of a previous work entitled San Francisco : The unearthly beauty of simulated nature in contemporary architecture. The three channel video installation Fish Red is also an extension of the same theme.


A work in progress ...

On Vimeo


Stills from Simulated Nature and the Trilogy of Noise

Leaves on a Pond

Fish in a Fountain

Trees in a Park



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