Comprised solely of images and videos found across the internet, Citizen: The Wolf and Nanny presents a pictorial re-interpretation of a city-state founding myth: the narrative of a lawgiven exodus from wilderness towards the formation of a spatially enclosed polis collapses into a mobius-like loop.
The boundaries of inside and outside are complexly distorted throughout the animation. Incorporating varied levels of possible demarcations, I approach the different spaces looking for the transitions of puncture and canalization that lie between: the city-state and the wilderness; the home and intrusion; the public space of gathering and the private investment of control; and the utopian and the dystopian.
My process includes the searching, finding and stealing of personal images from online sources, removing them from their context in order to justify the artificial and virtual construction of my “polis of the unknowing.” My actions become the expression of the rule of law in an absurd enclosure of my own making.
The enclosure and inclusion is personally justified through the initial participation of photographers, makers and subjects of the images who provide the material simply by uploading. The cultural labor of the consumer/producer and the surplus of images are reinvested into my world in order for it to come into being; while the images as living agencies are highlighted as they are made kinetic again within the precariously collaged and animated environments.
These environments and situations comprising Citizen are themselves a pastiche of information and noise gleaned from online news and entertainment sources. This information is subjectively fused with my obsessions, preoccupations, memories and misunderstandings about the social reality that surrounds me. And this fusion is placed within impossible landscapes and architecture—alien places of nostalgia. Camping as a leisure activity is conflated with homeless tent-cities and military and domestic spying compounds. The small dome-like structures of nylon, vinyl and Tyvek play scale against haz-mat suits and building insulation materials—all used as forms of protection from the outside.
Elsewhere, a leisurely walk in the woods for an older gentleman is also the location of a seemingly pagan sacrifice; all the while ubiquitous UAV and MAV drones fly about patrolling a mountainous landscape. The above and below collapse. Cutting through the homes of the occupied, the horizontal passageways of modern urban warfare transition into the unfinished wooden framing of new suburban housing only to reveal an additional border: the surveilled and potential sky.
The reiterated idea of conflation and collapse is necessary in order to understand the form of Citizen: The Wolf and Nanny. The process is relative to the compression of information into more readily consumable models. The accumulation of image-types through downloading is reduced through selection, cut away, and reduced again. Two years of work are contained within a looping six minutes, where layers of thought have collapsed like the “layers” of artificial space created through the digital technologies employed. The final animation is a kinetic feedback to the montage of moving images and flow of information that surround me. The enclosure, the system, is reformed. It changes from the subjecting into the subjective, while following similar rules but repeating them crudely. The temporal composition is heavily dependent upon cinema and the tracking shot, while the spatial arrangements of multiple stories occurring at once are taken from Renaissance religious painting and comic books. These forms are also mimicked within the video by creating a baroque complexity of form and color arrangements, often times usurping the signification of an image for its shape, size or hue. The images bypass meaning and coalesce, loosely reflecting a process of pictorial data-basing. Creating an enclosure with unstable demarcations, the temporal and spatial compositing induces moments of vertigo, placing the viewer in a strange position of being within the world of the animation while being pushed away and left outside of the personal artifice constructed.