Wednesday, January 26, 2011

12.31.10 : Artist Entry : Sam Easterson

Sam Easterson has been making video art for over 10 years. Included among the art museums that have exhibited his work are the Whitney Museum of American Art, "Biennial Exhibition" (New York), the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), the International Center of Photography (New York) and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (North Adams). In addition, Easterson's enterprise, Animal Vegetable Video, has also worked on projects for Animal Planet, the Exploratorium, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles and the National Museum of New Zealand, among others.

Easterson is a graduate of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York and also earned a Master of Science in Landscape Architecture from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. He has received grants from the Peter S. Reed Foundation, the Yellow Fox Foundation, the Durfee Foundation and the Creative Capital Foundation, among numerous others. In addition, Easterson is also a recipient of the Louis Comfort Tiffany Prize.

As a way to increase the public's awareness of animals and plants in their native habitats as well as gain a new perspective on these creature's daily lives, Easterson straps tiny helmet-mounted video cameras onto everything from buffaloes to tarantulas. By allowing animals and plants to be the documentarians we are shown their daily battles with the landscape, their interactions with other species as well as their intimate gestures and sounds.

"If people can see things from the animal and plant perspective, they are far less likely to harm them or their habitat, so that's how I present it." - Sam Easterson

"The first thing I realized was how intelligent and aware they are. The project changed everything in terms of respect." - Sam Easterson

"I was shocked to realize all the other animals in the flock could tell that this one sheep with the camera had been 'altered' in some way. She kept trying to enter, and they kept treating her as an outcast. I also learned sheep can run very fast and fences are not as sturdy as you think." - Sam Easterson

Easterson work tries to show life through an animals perspective. That is one of the ways I am thinking about directing my work. I am trying to accomplish a feeling of perspective by animals in cages, fences and enclosers. Looking at Easterson's work helped me to understand more about an animals perspective and their interaction with one another in nature. The interaction between species is something that really intrigues me and I would like to pursue it in my work.

Sam Easterson
Animal, Vegetable, Video: Where the Buffalo Roam

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