Open Air is a project produced by media artist Grayson Cooke, in collaboration with painter Emma Walker and with the music of The Necks. Through a partnership with Geoscience Australia, the project also uses satellite images of Australia from the Digital Earth Australia program. This project seeks to creatively image the forces that shape the Earth. It uses aerial imaging on two vastly divergent scales to produce two different material manifestations of these forces.
First, the project features motion-controlled aerial photography of the paintings and processes of Australian painter Emma Walker. Walker’s paintings are abstract but highly reminiscent of the Australian landscape; they feature carved, burnt topographies, rich ochre fields and the flat expanse of salt pans.
Set against these painted landscapes are time-lapse images of Australia as seen by Landsat satellites. Normally used by scientists and the public sector to track environmental change, Open Air releases these images for aesthetic, intellectual and emotional purposes, showing the continent as a living thing.
Together, these two vastly different forms of aerial earth imaging combine to produce a complex picture of a changing planet. The 2013 album Open by The Necks provides the soundtrack for the project. At times sparse and dry, at others symphonic in its intensity, the music provides an immersive aural backdrop for thinking in to the phenomena that shape this continent.
Open Air is a signature work and innovative synthesis of the materials of art, science and the Earth.