Combinatory Film for Installation and Cinema.
This combinatory narrative generates a new feature-length film each time it is shown. Interwoven lives unfold near industrial landscapes that have been transformed by sea-level rise. Seven people struggle to survive after hurricanes and toxic events have devastated Philadelphia and New Jersey. These speculative stories of life in a post-industrial wasteland are set against the true stories of deaths from Hurricane Sandy in an algorithmic symphony of contemporary despair. Created with writer Scott Rettberg. A CRChange Production.
THE ALTERED SHORELINES PROJECTS
Exploring climate change, industrial waste and changing spatial practices through visual research and documentary arts.
Interactive Landscape and Artist Book
A comparative exploration of shorelines of the Delaware Estuary in the eastern USA and the Kent County Coast including the Thames Estuary in the UK derived from walking and boating the differing post-industrial landscapes. View...
THE CHEMICAL MAP
This map indicating over 200 active petro-chemical industries and clean-up sites in the Delaware Estuary. Available in open source (Druple) and through Google Maps.
ALTERED SHORELINES PHOTO SERIES. In Progress.
Features large prints, backlit images and photo essays.
ALTERED SHORELINES: The book. In Progress.
THREE RAILS LIVE
Combinatory Narrative Video and Video Installation
A combinatory narrative film by Roderick Coover, Scott Rettberg and Nick Montfort. Running continuously, the system never generates the same narrative in the same order twice, but nevertheless produces a coherent holistic story of a man's late search for meaning among the detritus of his life and environment.
CATASTOPHE TRILOGY (KATASTROFETRILOGIEN).
Video and Installation Video Loops
This cross-cultural trilogy calls upon histories of deadly volcanic ash, great floods, and the plague to tell stories of present day longing, anxiety, and environmental change. A CRChange Production.
In LAST VOLCANO, a woman offers a fragmented account of a deadly volcanic cloud to a friend.
RATS AND CATS:: KATTER OG ROTTER, an international telephone date between an American and a Norwegian goes veers toward histories of the black death and goes terribly wrong.
NORWEGIAN TSUNAMI, a Scot and a Norwegian share a cigarette break on an oil rig in the North Sea at a wrong moment.
WILLIAM PENN AT THE LIGHTHOUSE
Video Spectacle: Forthcoming Oct 29-Nov 5 2014.
Part of the Knight-Funded Animated Architecture Series, this work featured a projected narrative event over the entire face and tower of Philadelphia's City Hall. Running for two weekends the work transforms City Hall into a lighthouse and project upon it a looping short narrative blending themes of the city's construction and impending risks of flooding in our Age of Sea-Level Rise.
SELECT OTHER CINEMATIC STORIES AND POETICS
THE THEORY OF TIME HERE.
Video Installation and DVD.
The Theory of Time Here presents an unnerving portrait of technology, power and the urban environment in the setting two controlling devices in juxtaposition: the speaking clock and the pedestrian traffic light. The clock's repetitive, calming tone distracts from the fact that it represents a marriage of the two most inescapable and oppressive authorities--technology and time. These are also reflected in the patterns of stop lights and pedestrian signs. In The Theory Of Time Here, the technologies approach total disintegration, yet somehow, perhaps through convention, they right themselves, and begin again. Distributed by The Video Data Bank, Chicago.
CURRENCY: FOUR EXPERIMENTS IN THE DIGITAL POEM.Distributed on YouTube. Co-created with writer Nick Monfort.
Filmed in Puerto Rico, Switzerland, London and Brooklyn, Currency offers a series of loop video poems collaboratively constructed through defined constraints. The works thematically build upon imagery found on coins from differing countries to construction works crossing genre and cultures.
SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED ONLY ONCE.
Animated Panorama Installation and DVD.
This animated panoramic video follows a female protagonist, a male counterpart, and other characters in a manner that suggests narrative but never becomes it. Instead it’s an expression of temperament or a consciousness – a searching, a longing, a loneliness. Recorded in Coyocan Plaza, Mexico City, the work is created through layers of photography, songs, and found sounds. Deb Olin Unferth's lyrics are adapted to music by the Dutch singer Jodi Gilbert and the Dutch saxophonist, Michael Moore.
ABOUT THIS WEBSITE
This site features solo and collaborative works by the artist Roderick Coover. The works featured were created between 1996-present. These works include experimental and interactive documentary projects, narrative projects, and hybrid works using time-based media such as film and video. They also include
interactive landscapes, photographic series, and publications.
Here are some dominant themes.
Spatial practice is explored across these works both in form and content -- works such as Hearts and Minds, Toxi•City, Catasthrophe Trilogy and Something That Happened Only Once use experimental forms of panorama and immersion to explore narrative constructions of space and story. Works such as Three Rails Live, Toxi•City, Currency and Theory of Time Here experiment in uses of temporal structures like combinatory filmmaking, Oulipo-inspired editing and other montage techniques, while others like Estuaries, The Unknown Territories Series, and Cultures In Webs use scrolling interactive environments to explore how places are imagined, encountered and used.
Creative approaches to the discourse of climate change and industrialization are explored in the combinatory narrative projects Toxi•City and Three Rails Live, in the research-based, interactive works Chemical Map and Estuaries, and in the animated architecture project, William Penn at the Lighthouse. Broader questions of land use, landscape and senses of place are central to the Unknown Territories Projects, Inside/Outside and the experimental ethnography, The Language of Wine. Those works and The Catastrophe Trilogy contribute to creative discourse in eco-poetics.
Memory, place and story are central theme in Estuaries, Hearts and Minds, Something That Happened Only Once, and The Harvest. Relationships between memory and history are explored in The Catastrophe Series, Voyage Into The Unknown, and Canyonlands. Time, technological authority and spatial practice is the subject of several works including The Theory Of Time Here and the book Switching Codes.
Three Rails Live, Toxi•City, Currency, Something That Happened Only Once, Theory of Time Here, and the Catastrophe Trilogy are art installations and videos exploring story, translation and the stucture of visual and verbal expression while documentary works on these themes of language and expression include The Language of Wine and Cultures In Webs.
Documentary arts, ethnography and visual research techniques are employed in, and central to, all fo these the projects, both fiction and nonfiction. Innovative documentary works Hearts and Minds, Unknown Territories, Estuaries, Language of Wine, Cultures In Webs and The Harvest integrate nonfiction audio, visual and fieldnote recordings with experimental techniques, such as scrolling, layering, interactivity and trans-media metaphoric linking. The narrative works are similarly driven by the exploration of nonfiction sound-image recordings, exploring how meanings(stories, memories, desires) are constructed in the experience of the real. Issues of documentary representation, visual research and cross-genre, cross-disciplinary audio-visual representation are critically addressed in Verite To Vitual: Conversations on the Frontier of Documentary Film and Anthropology and in many of the writings.
Critical reflection upon approaches to experimental digital methods including combinatory filmmaking, panorama, installation, collaboration and interdisciplinarity that central to all these works are discussed at length in essays and in the book, Switching Codes: Thinking Through Digital Technology In The Humanities And Arts.
HEARTS AND MINDS: THE INTERROGATION INSTALLATION
Interactive video for the CAVE and CAVE2
HEARTS AND MINDS (2014) is an interactive work for 3D video installation in CAVE environments based on John Tsukayama's original research into US military interrogation techniques and torture that occurred during the Iraq War. This unique narrative suspends users between domestic origins and foreign interventions. The work is a collaboration between Roderick Coover, Scott Retterberg, John Tsukayama, Jeffrey Murer, Daria Tsoupikova and scientists of the Electronic Visualization Lab at the University of Illinois, Chicago. A CRChange Production.
VOYAGE INTO THE UNKNOWN
Join John Wesley Powell on the 1869 exploring expedition of the uncharted waters of the Colorado River. Featured in Arid, Reconstructions, Hyperrhiz (Leonardo), Electronic Literature Collection and elsewhere. Unknown Territories Series.
CANYONLANDS: EDWARD ABBEY AND THE GREAT AMERICAN DESERT
Documentary Film and Interactive Cinemascape.
Follow the writings of Edward Abbey, whose books such as Desert Solitaire and The Monkey Wrench Gang transformed how people thought about the arid American West, and return to landscapes he once wrote about. Unknown Territories Series. Featured in film & new media festivals, exhibitions and journals, such as Arid Journal, Reconstructions, and Electronic Book Review.
SELECT OTHER DOCUMENTARY, ETHNOGRAPHY AND SPATIAL PROJECTS
VERITE TO VIRTUAL: CONVERSATIONS ON THE FRONTER OF DOCUMENTARY ARTS AND VISUAL ANTHROPOLOGY.2007.
Documentary DVD. 50mins.
Vérité to Virtual explores ways of building bridges between practices of the social sciences (anthropology, communication), the humanities (philosophy, cultural studies, cinema studies), and the arts (documentary film, interactive media, performance). Distributed by Documentary Educational Resources.
Interactive Computer Installation
Commissioned by the
Museum of the American Philosophical Society at Independence Hall, this interactive installation offers users portals into hidden histories, experimental mapping, story, and exploration of a three-block area of Philadelphia around Independence Hall.
THE LANGUAGE OF WINE: AN ANTHROPOLOGY OF WORK WINE AND THE SENSES. 2007.
Documentary DVD. 50mins.
Between ethnography and eco-poetics, this documentary follows terms of winemaking in Bourgogne
to unfold ways they are used to express fundamental life issues and cultural conditions.
CULTURES IN WEBS: HYPERMEDIA AND THE DOCUMENTARY IMAGE 2003.
CULTURES IN WEBS is an interactive CD-ROM which reimagines the approaches of cross-cultural documentary media arts and the practices of visual anthropology. The CD-ROM interweaves text, photos, video clips and audio to offer examples of how to create nonfiction works using digital tools. Distributed by Eastgate Systems.
VISUALIING CULTURES. 1999.
This project includes the works THE HARVEST (1998), offering an interactive multimedia study of a wine harvest at the vineyards of A&P de Villaine in Bourgogne and CONCEALED NARRATIVES (1996) about politics and performance in/or visual culture in Ghana 1992-1994.
SWITCHING CODES: Thinking Through Digital Technology In The Humanities and Arts. Edited by Roderick Coover and Thomas Bartscherer (University of Chicago Press).
Leading American and European scholars, scientists, and artists consider how the precipitous growth of digital information and its associated technologies are transforming the ways we think and act. Employing a wide range of forms, including essay, dialogue, short fiction, and game design, this book models and provokes discussion across technologies, humanities and arts.
“Unique and valuable.... The editors of Switching Codes illustrate through dialogues that perpetuating a dichotomy between science and the arts is not just false but reductive and beside the point.”
-- AMERICAN LITERARY HISTORY
ESSAYS IN PRINT, WEB AND INTERACTIVE MEDIA
Click here for more essays, interviews and other writing.
ABOUT RODERICK COOVER
Roderick Coover is Director of the MFA Program in Film and Media Arts at Temple University, and Founder of the Graduate Certificate Program in Documentary Arts and Ethnographic Practices. His works traverse experimental arts of fictional and nonfictional expression through images. These include experimental works made for cinema, interactive cinema, database cinema, photographic installation, photographic publication, web media, gaming media and scholarship. His works -- both of fact and fiction -- blend arts and research, and blur conventional, discipinary boundaries. He holds degrees from the University of Chicago(PhD 1999), Brown University (MA 1994) and Cornell University (1989). He has received Fulbight, Mellon, Whiting and LEF awards, among others. He lives in Philadelphia.
UPCOMING AND RECENT EVENTS
Spectable. William Penn At The Lighthouse. City Hall Philadelphia
Oct 29-Nov 5. Animated architecture video projection, Thurs-Sat 630-930pm.
Installation/Performance. EVL CAVE2, University of Illinois, Chicago.
June 17 and July 7 2014. 3D Cave exhibition and video wall projects.
Installation. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. June 17-21.
Presentations of work at Sch. Of The Art Institute of Chicago (March) American Association of Geographers (April), the University of Chicago (May).
Installation and Artist-In-Residence. Brown University.
February 17-21, 2014. Video wall project and talks each day.
Fast-Forward Presentation, DesignPhiladelphia festival event.
October 11, 2013. 20 slides at 20 seconds each to answer one question: What's next for Philly? http://fastforwardphilly.blogspot.com/p/what-is-fast-forward.html
Special Course and Artist Performance Night, Bergen, Norway.
August 5-15. University of Bergen course collaboratory with faculty and students from the universities of Bergen, Minnesota, West Virgina and Temple. Artist performance night, Friday, August 9. http://collabcreativity.wordpress.com/
Commissioned Installations at CHF Museum, Philadelphia.
June 27, 2013-June 2014. Museum of the Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia. PA. Installations of Estuary and Toxi•City. http://www.chemheritage.org/visit/museum/exhibits/sensing-change.aspx
Installations Rowan University Museum of Art
March 30-May 5, 2013. Installations of 3RL and Estuary Photographic Series for the exhibition: Cosmobilities. Glassboro, NJ.
Installations at MIT8 Exhibition, M.I.T.
May 3-5. 2013. M.I.T. Cambridge, MA. Installations of Unknown Territories and 3RL.
Artist and Plenary Talks at MIT8
May 4 at 2pm, Artist Talk. Unknown Territories and May 5 at 1pm, 2013. MIT. Cambridge, MA. Plenary Session. Media In Transition 8 Conference. http://web.mit.edu/comm-forum/mit8/
Presentation at HASTAC, Toronto
April 27, 2013. York University, Toronto. Presentation. Estuary. Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory (HASTAC) Conference. http://hastac2013.org/
COLLABORATIONS AND ORGANIZATIONS
Collaboration is a central part of my work. I work with writers, computer scienists, researchers and fellow artists. My work is carried out under various solo and collaborative organizations, LLCs and publishing groups. Some of the most pominent are:
UNKNOWNTERRITORIES.ORG is a project space designed by Roderick Coover. The works are meeting points two of more ways of working -- of art, of cinema, of information technologies, of humanities, of sciences, of spatial practices, of storymaking. Many of these works are the result of collaborations. Here are some of the primary collaborations:
CRChange is the art production collaboratory LLC of Roderick Coover and Scott Rettberg.
Toxi•City, Hearts and Minds, and Catastrophy Trilogy are produced by Roderick Coover and Scott Rettberg.
Currency is a collaboration with writer Nick Montfort.
Three Rails Live is a three-way collaboration between Rod, Scott and Nick.
Canyonlands was created in collaboration with Literary Scholar, Poet and Boat Guide, Lance Newman.
Something That Happened Only Once and The Theory of Time Here were created in collaboration with author Deb Olin Unferth. Something That... also included collaboration with sound artist Jodi Gilbert and others.
William Penn At The Lighthouse is a collaboration with Nick Cassway with additional contributions from Michael Johnston and others.
PRIMARY INSTITITIONAL LINKS
MFA at FMA Temple University MFA Program in Film and Media Arts (Director)
DAEP Certificate Program in Documentary Arts and Ethnographic Practice (Founding Director)
ELO Electronic Literature Organization (2015 Arts Director)
ISEA (Inter-Society for the Electronic Arts)
CAA College Arts Assocation
IVSA International Visual Sociology Association
SVA Society for Visual Anthropology
AGA American Association of Geography