Special Project: Nature Special

Boston Harbor Island Pavilion
Click images for larger view
On View Jun 16, 2011 - Oct 31, 2011

The Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion 

The Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion, located on the Rose Kennedy Greenway, was created to welcome visitors to the Boston Harbor Islands national park area. In the evening, video programming will be shown on two 8 x 10 foot LED screens, transforming the Pavilion into a compelling destination.

To begin a series of future commissioned video installations, deCordova's Associate Curator for Contemporary Art, Dina Deitsch, has guest-curated a video program called Nature Special, that features five videos about our mediated relationship to the great outdoors by artists Jim Campbell, Sam Easterson, William Lamson, and Suara Welitoff. 

Nature Special  will be on view in the Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion each evening, and features work that presents the natural world through the mediating lens of the camera. The videos in this program underscore a more common interaction with nature—through the screen—not unlike our favorite television nature specials. The Boston Harbor Islands, in contrast, offer a rare, unmediated experience of the natural world, framed, not by roads or the television monitor, but by water.

Learn more about the Pavilion

Learn more about the Boston Harbor Islands

Map of the location of the Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion

 Nature Special

Click on the arrow for stills from Nature Special and images of the Boston Harbor Island Pavilion.

Please see the Bio tab for information on the featured artists:

Suara Welitoff

Sam Easterson

William Lamson

Jim Campbell


Featured Artists: 

Suara Welitoff 

Suara Welitoff creates “mechanical watercolors” in her mesmerizing videos. Looping simple actions from mostly found footage, Welitoff modifies their color into her now-signature monochromatic palettes. Blurred, edited, and slowed down, these simple gestures take on a world of meaning and a new found poetic beauty. 

Suara Welitoff’s work is included the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Worcester Art Museum; Deutsche Bank, New York; List Visual Arts Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, among others and has been exhibited in the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; NGBK, Berlin; Participant Inc. and Threadwaxing Space, New York; Western Bridge, Seattle; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and CCC Strozzina, Florence. Suara Welitoff lives and works in Cambridge, MA and shows with Barbara Krakow Gallery, Boston and Galerie Anita Beckers, Frankfurt.

Jim Campbell

Jim Campbell combines video with his own inventions to create LED light installations that expand the boundaries of video art. His installations reduce moving imagery to its bare essence—the elemental building block of the pixel—to posit questions about time, memory, and perceived reality in the electronic age. A former Silicon Valley engineer, Campbell began his artistic career in filmmaking but switched to the LED light pieces he is best known for in the 1990s. He has since emerged as one of the preeminent new media artists of this generation, inspired by 1970s research conducted by Bell Labs on low-resolution imagery and cognitive thresholds for accurate perception.

Jim Campbell’s work is included the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, DC; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In the fall of 2010, Campbell's work, Scattered Light was installed in the Madison Square Park Conservancy in Manhattan making it the largest and most extensive public art piece of his to date. His monograph Material Light was published by Hatje Cantz in 2010. Jim Campbell lives and works in San Francisco and is represented by Hosfelt Gallery, San Francisco and Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, New York. 

Sam Easterson 

Sam Easterson is a video naturalist who places cameras in natural environments to give us behind-the-scenes views into the secret lives of animals. Easterson is also best known for his animal borne imaging work in which he placed helmets with tiny cameras onto the heads of buffaloes, chicks, sheep, spiders, among others, documenting their daily activities from their unique viewpoints. Both video series are enlightening and incredibly funny views into these creatures’ lives, while increasing the public’s awareness of animals and plants in their native habitats.

Sam Easterson’s work has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; New Museum, New York; International Center of Photography, New York; and Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA), North Adams, MA. Easterson lives and works in Venice, CA and is a Senior Media Producer at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, where he is developing video content for the NHM’s new Nature Lab.

William Lamson 

William Lamson explores the forces of nature and the passage of time through inventive and often poetic interventions into natural and man-made environments. He works in video, photography, performance, and sculpture to explore ideas of power and human agency. Through the use of homemade props and low-tech devices Lamson engages directly with these forces as a performer or by passively allowing his constructions to function on their own. Systems chance and determinism become dominant factors in the final work which, in turn, becomes a collaboration between the efforts of an artist and a force which is usually unseen or unconsidered. 

William Lamson’s work is in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum; Dallas Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts in Houston; and a number of private collections. His work has been shown at The Indianapolis Museum of Art; The Brooklyn Museum; Franklin Art Works, Minneapolis; and Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe; among others. William Lamson lives and works in Brooklyn, NY and is represented by Pierogi Gallery, Brooklyn, NY.