MIT Media Lab [E14], 6th Floor, Room 633, 75 Amherst Street, Cambridge, MA
[Media Lab Map] Jane Prophet, a renowned British visual artist, uses traditional and new media and materials to produce surprising and beautiful objects. Site-specific installations include Conductor, a flooded power station lit with 120 electro luminescent cables. Decoy and The Landscape Room combine images of real and simulated landscapes, and Model Landscapes uses rapid prototyping to make miniature trees from mathematical data. Prophet is the driving force in a number of internationally acclaimed projects that break new ground in art, technology and science. Her collaborations with stem cell researchers, mathematicians and heart surgeons radically re-envisage the human body. In 2005 she won a National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts Fellowship to develop interdisciplinary artworks like Net Work (comprising hundreds of illuminated buoys) and Big Plastic Tree (an artwork built by robots). She has worked with digital media for two decades and currently focuses on the physicalisation of data: making real 3D objects. She is Professor of Art, Interdisciplinary Computing at Goldsmiths, London.
“Most of my art works, in whatever media, are influenced by my concerns with the physical structure of objects (the growth structure of trees, the shape of the human heart, the particular spatial qualities of a building). I’m equally interested in the way that these familiar objects and places feature in our social and economic landscape: how we use them as symbols (the oak tree becomes shorthand for “Englishness”; the heart symbolises “Love”; landmark buildings both past and present are presented as signs of affluence, regeneration and “Progress”). The third underlying element in most of my works is a curiosity about new materials, new technologies and new engineering processes.
In the past, drawing on the interests outlined, I have made works such as The Landscape Room, and Decoy, both of which analyse and re-present the structure of the English oak, and of the English landscape. Both these works utilise bespoke computer programming and fractal mathematics from which I ‘grow’ virtual trees and change the appearance of hitherto familiar National Trust parklands.
Model Landscapes, extends this theme by moving from two-dimensional still images and animations, to produce a series of vignettes. The Model Landscape vignettes are “model” in terms of being “ideal” and at the same time, “scaled-down”. To make these works, I used a combination of old and new media, combining rapid prototyping techniques, whereby I took my own three-dimensional computer data and made small trees from the fractal mathematics, to hand-cut books, where tree structures popped up from the pages.
Souvenir of England references our Englishness and the nostalgia we sometimes feel for the loss of native flora and fauna due to changes in agricultural policy and practices and climate change.”