civilization mountain

human habitation with 8 billion people

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civilization mountain

“A yearlong photographic/video meditation on 8 Billion humans on the planet”

“I drink my tea, I drink my cloud” Thich Nhat Hanh says. He explains if you look deeply at a cup of tea you can see the whole universe including the clouds, the rain, the soil and much hard work.

The civilization mountain meditation is a deep photographic look at a city, Chicago, to consider it in relation to the air, water, and earth that it rests on and touches. Its relationship to the sun, the moon, the solar system, transportation, utilities, people, etc.

The project was begun prior to the COViD19 pandemic which has further heightened the relevancy of this work.

Each day a single sunset and sunrise image are selected, the image at dusk is reflected vertically and the sunrise image is aligned precisely. Within each day we can see the passage of time. The weather as it changes and witness its impact on the city in a way more often reserved for viewing landscapes. Hence civilization mountain.

These images while stunning on their own, will be combined into a video composition illustrating the passage of time and seasons. Over time we will see the sun/moon move north to south and back again as the earth rotates through the seasons. Once a video composition is completed a musical score will be generated to accompany the piece. It will live in video form on a loop that can be observed in silence or with sound. Over time the city/sky may dissolve into water, fire, ice, stone, people, traffic, the milky way, etc.

In order to look deeply at “Civilization Mountain” I have mounted a high definition camera with a 50MM lens in a weatherproof enclosure. In addition to shooting every sunrise and sunset, once a month on the day of the full moon it additionally shoots at night beyond dusk and at predawn time to witness the city lit by electricity and the moonlight. It is intended to act as a metronome marking the passing of months.

The planet is at a very critical moment where we are witnessing the impact of human habitation on the planet with overall warming of the planet, the rise of sea levels with the melting of the polar ice caps, dramatic changes in weather patterns, food and water shortages, fires, flooding, pandemics, locusts, etc.

While critical action is necessary to address climate change, the purpose of Civilization Mountain is to explore the interdependence of cities and wild places. To bring awareness to the relationship of ALL of the elements on/in/around the planet. It is meant to inspire reflection, thought and ultimately action.