[Exclusive Clip] This Meditative Film Reveals the Earth's Subtle Rotation
Kevin Cooley's experimental work is like the opposite of a timelapse.
Kevin Cooley, 34.130°N 118.18°W, Sunset, Eagle Rock, 35x46” archival pigment prints, framed to hang on specific angles, 2015
A Thousand Miles an Hour. That's both the approximate speed of the Earth's rotation—i.e. the speed you're moving while sitting still—and the name of artist Kevin Cooley's experimental film on display at Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles this weekend. The film is a moving diptych, one side tracking the moon's arc across the sky and the other following the sun, while the horizon rotates around them. Cooley shot all the footage in some of the North America's most beautiful natural locations, including Red Box Canyon, the Dallas Divide, and Banff National Park.
He shot the film using a motorized telescoping lens, the type often used in timelapses, then stabilized the footage so that each celestial body stays in the exact center of the frame. As the horizons slowly shift beneath them, the sun and moon remain austere constants from rise to set. The 24-minute film represents the 24 in hours in a day, but Cooley didn't want to speed up his footage to make a timelapse blurb of the event. "1000 mph is the speed of the earth's rotation, and it was conceptually important that the speed of the movement in the film be the same," he tells The Creators Project. "It is not sped up, like a timelapse, but rather a merging together of what I thought were the most interesting parts."
A Thousand Miles an Hour builds on a previous film of Cooley's called Skyward, for which he captured real-time footage of the sky above him as he travels through Los Angeles. The new film escalates that concept and fuses it with his thoughts while exploring the San Gabriel Mountains outside LA. "The perspective you have on the Los Angeles Basin from there is phenomenal, especially at night. Not to mention how remote the mountain wilderness really is, despite the fact it is entirely surrounded the urban sprawl of Southern California," he says. Drawing on the rich history of Warhol-style endurance film and the growing new world of Slow TV, Cooley's work is a meditation on the basic human instinct to look up and wonder.
The 2014 experimental work just wrapped up a stint at Ryan Lee Gallery in New York, but the Kopeikin Gallery exhibit will feature all new long exposure photos taken during the filming. "I wanted to have photographs that related the video, but be more that just film stills," he says. "I wanted them to be compelling on their own, and to make similar observations as the video, but within the language of photography. This is why they are long exposure photos using very slow internegative film (ISO 5), and are framed to hang on specific angles that reflect the latitude of where they were made."
Check out more images from the artist below:
A Thousand Miles an Hour will be at Kopeikin Gallery from January 16 - March 12. See more of Kevin Cooley's work on his website.