Mathew Ryan Smith in afterimage: THE JOURNAL OF MEDIA ARTS AND CULTURAL CRITICISM (Volume 45, Number 3) interviews Toronto-based artist Clive Holden, who creates digital paintings, web works, and videos by “combining new digital technologies with lo-fi analog formats.” His latest project called Internet Mountains is ongoing (2014-present). In it he incorporates found digital objects from the World Wide Web with moving imagery to create surreal landscapes. Here is a snippet from the issue’s feature piece, Climbing ‘Internet Mountains’: A Conversation with Clive Holden.” (pp. 8-9)
MRS: The video work INTERNET MOUNTAINS Video 3 (2015) is set against an opened book representing a mountainscape with a small cabin in the foreground. Rose-colored orbs, white sunspots, and blue arrows sometimes pulsate and at other times dart across the visual field. Can you talk about the relationship between these forms and the found imagery in your video works?
CH: That video shares a photo background with my digital painting INTERNET MOUNTAINS #18 (2014) – a scan of an open book from an online archive. The strong vertical of the book’s spine is important to both works, along with the reflected scanner shine. These show the nature of the book as an object, and the moment the new image was born during the scanner’s process. Both echo and subvert the strong illusion of depth in the original photo. This illusion is extended by the graphic illustration objects that float throughout the skybox’s described 3-D space. The original photo is from the Rockies in Montana and visiting there at the time would have been a rare experience. Adding the digital graphic objects helps to highlight the strange beauty of that original landscape.
MRS: These works have a surrealistic quality to them. They’re both here and otherworldly. Do you see these as surrealistic or is it something else entirely?
CH: The protest and humor at the heart of Dada and surrealism still shows up in the dichotomy between the commodification of conservative art processes, and the always shifting forms that are striving to maintain artistic independence. A dichotomy at work in INTERNET MOUNTAINS also lies between the conservative nature of landscape art and the changing sight of digital, geometric forms engaging in mock battle. I’m glad you’ve used the term “otherworldly,” because while making INTERNET MOUNTAINS Video 3 I found myself adding multiple suns to the sky one day, and that term popped up. I did know that multiple suns was a science fiction trope. But I read recently that it’s been proven to be nonfictional – in fact, it might be more common than our single-sun solar system.