Peter Campus has been a pioneer in the world of interactive video and digital recording art for the past four decades. One of his newest pieces “Calling for Shantih” works to reivenent his ever-changing medium while evoking the emotional and aesthetic tendencies of impressionism through the use of color, shape, and subject.
The video installation consists of seven flatscreens, all containing a different landscape pieced together in layers of faint rectangular shapes with soft, muted tones. The result is somewhere in between painterly and pixelated, a beautiful intersection of ambiguity and familiarity. The images slowly change over time as the landscapes leisurely transition with small changes in the environment and time of day. Ambient music also emanates from speakers on the floor. Campus’ overall method involves setting up cameras in different locations, but the intracacies of the algorithm used to achieve the enchanting effect lie only with the artist . ‘Shantih,’ the sanskrit word for ‘peace’ defines the artwork and lends meaning to calming ambience present within the images. As artists continue to find new ways to reinvent the video medium, Campus settles for less in order to achieve more. The calming, quietly spiritual pieces challenge the viewer to observe them carefully and attentively in an age of increasingly fast image retention. They force the viewer to not only consider time as part of the piece, but to appreciate the simple beauty time can sometimes provide.