1st And San Fernando 10 Watts

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1st And San Fernando 10 Watts is an artwork by Jim Campbell. It is a sister piece to his temporary public installation 1st And San Fernando 10,000 Watts.[1] The piece consists of an array of 192 LEDs which, driven by Campbell's custom electronics and viewed through a rice paper diffusion screen, create a fuzzy representation of the pedestrian and motor traffic at the intersection of 1st and San Fernando. The scene appears as a field of bright white light, with the figures and vehicles which cross the field cast as shadows.

1st And San Fernando 10 Watts
Jim Campbell - 1st and San Fernando 10 watts.jpg
Artist Jim Campbell
Medium custom low-res display
Date 2008
URL 1st And San Fernando 10 Watts

1st And San Fernando 10,000 Watts

The sister piece of 1st And San Fernando 10 Watts, 1st And San Fernando 10,000 Watts, was commissioned by ZERO1 for the 2008 "2nd 01SJ Biennial Global Festival of Art on the Edge," produced by ZERO1. The O1SJ Biennial is a citywide festival which "attempts to entwine Silicon Valley's high-tech sophistication with a conceptual and experiential sophistication peculiar to contemporary art."[2]

1st And San Fernando 10,000 Watts was installed on the exterior of the San Jose Museum of Art, on the side of the building furthest from 1st And San Fernando. Like 1st And San Fernando 10 Watts it used a grid of lights behind a diffusion screen to recreate footage of traffic at the intersection of 1st and San Fernando. 1st And San Fernando 10,000 Watts, however, was significantly larger. It used incandescent lightbulbs rather than LEDs, giving it an amber glow reminiscent of pedestrian traffic control signals.

Analysis

Though this artwork is, in a sense, a video installation, the low resolution and out of focus nature of the presentation dramatically changes its effect. It is not experienced as a video which has been installed in a gallery, but rather as a gallery installation which happens to employ video. As Benjamin Sutton says, "video serves simultaneously as content and a formal element."[3] The blurriness of the scene removes it's specificity. The title offers the precise location and experience that the piece references, but due to the form of the artwork, the imagery becomes about the archetypal experience of traffic and the metropolitan. Campbell says that “most of my work you understand because it's moving, so when it stops, it becomes this relatively abstract image."[3] This is true of 1st And San Fernando 10 Watts, and it contributes to the experience of the artwork as a symbol of metropolitan life; it all falls apart when it stops moving.

External Links

References

  1. 1st And San Fernando 10 Watts, Jim Campbell
  2. Kenneth Baker, 01SJ lends high-tech San Jose an artsy air, SFGate, June 6 2008
  3. 3.0 3.1 Benjamin Sutton, Why Is Jim Campbell's Low-Res Video Art So Compelling, Even Captivating?, artnet news, April 2 2014