Linear Perspective is a deconstructive video piece by artist Casey Reas. The piece is composed of a collection of cover pages of The New York Times from every day of the 2015 year. The pictures start at one end of the screen and are wiped across the screen stretching and distorting the image as each is laid upon the previous pictures. As layer upon layer of distorted covers are painted on the screen, the piece comes to life as it creates an ever changing cumulative glimpse into the front page news of the entire year.
By taking a look at what was deemed the most important news by The New York Time throughout 2015 the piece looks at the perspective that is given to the public from the media. Then taking this forced perspective and manipulating it into something new and collective the artist is opening these images to new ways of experiencing and interpreting them.
Artdependence writer Kimberly Nichols described the piece stating
“Each image represents a single front page of The New York Times, above the fold section, starting from January 1, 2015 to the current day, non-recognizable in its warp, appearing from a single point and moving horizontally across the plane. The building up of these visuals creates a constantly changing picture of our mainstream news environment obliterated into color, shape and form.” Nichols, Kimberly(2015, Sep 21)Casey Reas’ Linear Perspective
When talking with Nichols the artist Casey Reas explained his desire and motivation behind creating his work and what it meant to him saying
“It's a part of the history of ideas from the invention to perspective, the shift to an objective and mathematical way of representing space, to the camera obscura to the film camera. The images are among those that are most relevant and consequential to our society, the primary editorial decisions on the front page of The New York Times. They dictate what is important, what I should be thinking about, and how I should be thinking about it. These images frame our worldview – how we think about our society and ourselves. I am pushing these images back into a state of ambiguity and subjectivity where I am more in control of what I read and how I perceive."Nichols, Kimberly(2015, Sep 21)Casey Reas’ Linear Perspective
Viewing the video of the short tour of the installation gave a small glimpse into the setting that the work was originally viewed in and the manner in which the footage pulls the viewer into the piece does a good job of replicating the experience. The artist takes the front page news, an entity that plays such a huge role in what society views as important and current, and makes them into a collective that makes everyone think about the perspectives that society has, based on the control of media. By combining and distorting these images, ones that were carefully selected and controlled. Reas puts the images in a new perspective and allows the viewer to experience them in a different manner than can lead to new ideas and interpretations of the pictures and what they represent. The images all start out completely squashed and unrecognizable and as they move across the screen glimpses of figures and pictures can be seen in the stretched cover. This presentation allows the user to sometimes actually deduce the subject of some of the covers that are presented. As more images come onto display, however, even the images that can be made out are covered and replaced by the next. The manner in which the perspectives of the images are manipulated and controlled speaks to the manner in which all media presents itself, in a distorted controlled environment only to be covered up and replaced by the next distorted singular perspective on the happenings of the world.
The ideas and style of the work in Linear Perspective is similar to another work of Reas’ called AYFABTU (Followers) were Reas takes profile photos of his twitter followers and augments them to create a living pixelated portrait of them all. The manner in which he layers and incorporates the many pictures is very similar to how the images in Linear Perspective are layered, as well as how both pieces take a look at media and its role in human interactions. The ideas are similar between the pieces as they both look at how media and technology shift and control the lenses we view the world through and takes back the images and presents them again in a new perspective for the world to view and examine.
Another work that shares aesthetic and ideas with Linear Perspective is the work by Justin Bower Who takes images of people and also distorts and destabilizes the images in order to reflect on how humans see themselves in the ever changing digital world. Although Bowers work focuses more specifically on how technology affects intimate social interaction rather than society and the media as a whole, the two share the concept of exploring interactions and how media and technology shape the manner in which we view the media, each other, and the entire world.
Linear Perspective has been featured at the following exhibition