Jim Campbell

Spark follows the development of Jim Campbell’s series of works, which focuses on people with physical disabilities. Original air date: May 2003. For more information, go to: http://www.kqed.org/arts/programs/spa…

In Jim Campbell’s signature works, a grid of LEDs create a moving image at such low resolution that the image borders on incomprehensibility. In this work, the meaning of the low-resolution image is obscured further as the image is broken apart and rearranged. The viewer sees kaleidoscopic simultaneous views of different areas within New York’s Grand Central Terminal woven into one image. This piece is closely related to Campbell’s “simultaneous perspective” works made in the late 1980’s and 1990’s.

LEDs hang at the end of thin wires in a 3-dimensional grid. As the LEDs flicker, they create the image of birds. This work is part of Jim Campbell’s ongoing exploration to give a sculptural presence to light and the moving image. In this instance, Campbell has expanded his characteristic use of low-resolution LED panels into the third dimension. As you move around the hanging LEDs, absorbing but “meaningless” patterns are seen. From the vantage point of the front, the abstract patterns are seen as birds. The line between abstract digital information and recognizable movement depends on the viewers position in space. The birds are perceived where no lights shine; the negative spaces within the lighted grid give us clues to their idiosyncratic forms.

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