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POLIS AMERIKANOS (2005, revised/remade 2010)
(American City / American Polity)

The image above is a digital "collage" of several hundred individual pictures and picture fragments--most taken with a Nikon digital camera. I spent about three months 2004-05 constructing the armature of the image in Photoshop. The image file for this work is 636 megs--41,831 pixels wide, by 5,318 pixels in height. Printed at 300 dpi, the printed picture is about 12 feet by 2 feet. In 2010 I was asked to exhibit the mural, and decided to completely remake, revise, and resize it. This is the 2010 version displayed at reduced resolution.

I first starting making these "surreallegories" in imaging software then available in the early '90s, and my first website in 1995 included several that I had constructed a few pixels at a time pre-Photoshop. Today's imaging software and storage capacities make working with much larger images feasible. A large-format Epson roll-paper printer completes my tool set.

I intend this picture to be a snapshot of urban American life in the infuriating first five years of this century. I chose four buildings in my Portland, ME neighborhood to define four satirical targets--a hotel (sex and tourism), a bank (the power of commerce and money), City Hall (the confluence of religion and politics), and an antiques store (the commodification of art and history). There are scores of "jokes" built into the image, some "R-rated". If you have the patience to look for them, you'll find a large number of public figures and celebrities, public buildings, swatches of paintings and movies, erotic recreations, and other items of dubious relevance and provenance. Each building is pasted together from a jumble of disparate images. Each figure, shadow, and almost every reflection in every window was pasted in--indeed, the reflections in the bank windows are actually 30 sequenced photos of the actual construction of the building upon which they appear. The main goal was to manipulate, resize, color, distort, and shadow each image to make a simulacrum sufficiently convincing in perspective to let a viewer imagine that it could be one panoramic photographic image. When all else failed, I simply drew in needed details.

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Copyright © 2005-2010  -  Darrell Taylor