Peter V. Swendsen


Blue Desert (2011)

score for video installation (with Rian Brown and Geoff Pingree)



A multi-channel video installation (seen here in triptych) shot with high-resolution cameras, BLUE DESERT was created during a two-week expedition to Antarctica in November of 2009 aboard the National Geographic Explorer by Geoff Pingree and Rian Brown-Orso.  The team worked with Peter Swendsen to create the installation's soundscape using field recordings from Antarctica as well as Swendsen's library of sounds from Arctic Norway. The three first installed the work, for three-channel video and four-channel sound, at the Laconia Gallery in Boston in November of 2011. Subsequent insallations and screenings include Washington DC's Newseum (4/13), Ingenuity Fest Cleveland (9/12), Louisiana State University's 70.8% Festival (3/12), Oberlin College (2/12), and University of Akron School of Art (fall 2011).

Antarctica is a uniquely vast and haunting panorama of ice, water, and sky. To visit this place is to glimpse a world without human beings, to observe a planet in its most primitive and elemental state, to witness the mysteriously beautiful and fearsome power of the earth. Although any attempt to represent the Antarctic is, in some sense, futile – an exercise in framing the unframeable—BLUE DESERT provides a provisional window onto a wondrous landscape that embodies, paradoxically, the ancient permanence and never-ending flux of our physical environment.




© 2016 pvs