Jennifer Steinkamp. Sympathetic Image
Fly to Mars (no. 1) (2004) is part of a computer-animated series of projections by the artist depicting hyperreal trees that twist and bend. Without beginning or end, they cycle through the seasons, bearing colorful blossoms then lush summer leaves and russet fall colors before losing their foliage. Influenced by experimental film, which often uses repetition rather than a storyline to focus viewer attention on film’s materiality rather than its content alone, Jennifer Steinkamp features the trees without narrative. Instead, their movement is abstract, “the motion of pattern and cycle.”1 The tree’s motion and changes over time imbue it with a kind of mortal energy mimicking our somatic experience of living, breathing, sleeping. They awaken sensations of our physical being, creating a “bond of sympathy”2 between our bodily experience and the projected image.