Flag (Thames) 2016
Flag (Thames) 2016 depicts a small section of the Thames River—one that is adjacent to the Palace of Westminster in London—as an algorithmic representation on an LED panel. The river color is vividly represented with reflections of buildings along the riverbank, including Big Ben. At the center of the scene sits a simulated gasoline spill. The depiction accurately refracts the light and creates a vivid prismatic patch, endlessly shifting in shape over time and appearing in direct relation to the precise time of day in London. The point-of-view of the camera in the work circles this changing shape, as Flag (Thames) unfolds over a 365-day solar cycle of night and day. The soft undulation of the waves animates the scene and gives rise to the title of the work.
The power of Flag (Thames) lies in its simplicity. It embodies all of the strengths of his larger work, but its technical and conceptual complexity are manageable. (The oil spill alludes to the artist’s longstanding interest in addressing the perniciousness of the oil industry.) His work can be described as existing in post-cinematic, non-linear time, sequences produced and discarded in the time it takes the computer to execute the complex codes in which they are written. His work both transcends and immortalizes their subjects.