Here Be Dragons

multi-media installation, 2008/9
3 video projections – livestream of webcam feeds, found footage
2 steel sculptures, 3 projectors, 2 dvd players, laptop, custom software

Video of installation at The Colby Museum in 2008/9 – audio from sound of rotation mechanisms

Here Be Dragons uses found surveillance footage, focusing on desolate landscapes of unclaimed or contested places. This found imagery is presented as a series of slowly rotating projections from structures resembling watchtowers: One projector shows live-feeds from a succession of web cameras in contested places like Antarctica; two others display a shifting array of prerecorded time-lapse sequences taken from military reconnaissance planes in Iraq and Afghanistan, surveillance cameras in the desert along the US-Mexico border, and scientific expeditions in the Arctic.

The title is a phrase derived from the work of medieval cartographers, their practice of adding sea serpents at the peripheries of maps to denote the edge of knowledge, and the beginning of uncharted territory (terra incognita).

Along with other recent installations (terra incognita in Edinburgh and Stockholm, The Sky Grows Darker Yet in Belfast), Here Be Dragons presents imagery drawn from borders and boundaries where cameras are used as a tool for the extension of frontier. In these spaces, surveillance technology is often our main source of imagery of the land, the camera becoming a tool for the assertion of ownership. These works use images of contested spaces to posit and chart a connection between historic images of the landscape and our current methods of moving image capture.