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The Isthmus of Kansas

Christopher Cassidy - 2007, 8'06, NTSC SD, Greensboro, NC

In this short video, original footage taken from locations high above the Atlantic and Pacific coastlines is combined in one nearly symmetrical image. It was the idea of the cross-continental call and response of the white lines of breaking surf that originally inspired me to create this work, which I think of as existing almost like an animated formalist painting, lines and shapes constantly shifting to redefine the simple geometry of the image. In this work, my strong desire is to create an impossible vision that unites these two simultaneous natural events, the contact between oceans and land separated by 2500 miles of intervening country. I was aware from an early stage that there were darker readings to the video, with its visualization of an American landmass reduced by rising sea levels to a bare strip of sand, and this allusion led me to the title.

Chris Cassidy's area of expertise includes sculpture, installation and digital media. He is currently Assistant Professor of Design at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. His work has appeared in exhibitions and screenings throughout the United States. He has been commissioned for work by private and public organizations, including permanent installations at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia and the State University of New York in Albany. Cassidy's work of the last few years has largely represented an attempt to address environmental issues by focusing on the symbolic role of the artist as observer, collector and manipulator of nature. His recent pieces use installation, video and digital media to explore the ways both the artist and the viewer interact with specific places, how that experience is mediated by pre-existing mental constructs like maps and models, and the potential of technology to radically alter the perceptual relationship between individuals and their environment.