VIRTUAL NATURAL (work-in-progress)
“Virtual Natural” is a found-footage video installation that critically examines a trope in advertising: using spectacular nature imagery to sell tech-devices. In these commercials, beautiful sunsets, adorable butterflies, and giant blue whales adorn the screens of TV-sets, cellphones, and computers. “Virtual Natural” shifts the focus away from the device’s novelty and onto the nature shown in the ad. Each video is between 10-30 seconds long and is presented in a loop.
The videos are displayed on a screen in public (a store window, for example) with a prompt for passers-by to dial a number on their phones: a voiceover relays facts about the depicted animal, scene, or environment that appear on the device’s screen. Viewers learn about the conservation status of monarch butterflies, the history of the “earthrise” photo, the precarity of lithium mining in Bolivia – turning the ads from techno-capitalist nature porn into unexpected educational think pieces.