Artist ········· Daniel Salamanca
Medium ········· Photography Stills, Video
Year ··········· 2019

Language ······· English subtitles
Duration ······· 14 minutes, 53 seconds

Overnight Sunrise

This is a time-based work, a video, shot from the arch window located at the 17th floor of the MacLean Center (School of the Art Institute of Chicago). It shows, in 3 different framings, a red and orange sunrise happening around 7:00 AM just on top of the lake, west direction of Chicago. This image, this optical phenomenon, happens essentially because of the numerous molecules living in the air, which scatter most of the blue and violet color of light. With the excess of pollution from cars and industries, the beautiful and dramatic effect gets intensified. The work is completed with a filter that intensifies the red aspect of the image as well as a few counter shots showing the space where the camera is placed and a series of subtitles.

Although in a general sense the word Liberation might be associated with revolutionary social movements that have fought against oppression, inequality and humanity’s fundamental rights during history, I wanted to approach this concept from a metaphorical and philosophical perspective. For me, liberation is the capacity of us, as human beings, to think, to develop our personalities and to nurture our mental and physical creativity without any restrictions. In other words, to reach a minimum sense of freedom.

To that effect the image of the sunrise act as a metaphor to think about the dilemmas surrounding these concepts. On the one hand, while the sunrise can be seen as a bucolic, romanticized image of beauty or the sublime, it is also a visual, colored proof of how humans are impacting the planet. That’s the reason why it looks red and ironically, similar to a burning apocalyptic landscape. In that sense, the image is showing us the passage of time, the effects of global warming and a possible future collapse. On the other hand, it is still an extremely beautiful and breathtaking natural wonder, something that we know happens every day but we tend to forget and never attend to it. And if we do attend, like in the video, it seems like a long, boring experience due to the constant anxiety of the contemporary world. Well, it is that contradiction, between the possible end of the world and the contemplation of time in its real dimension which, for me, opens a mental and lucid “black hole” into Liberation and a Renaissance in Revolution. In a philosophical sense, the idea is that once you accept that death is unavoidable, in this case, that one of the world as we know it, you can then start to do something about it. That’s why many thinkers compare the exercise of philosophy with a lesson on how to die. It’s like embracing a disruption in order to work with it.  

In a few words, the work is inviting the viewer to think about this abstract dichotomy so that we can start confronting the absurd world we live in from a new, rebirth perspective, just like a sunrise act as a new beginning for every new day.

Note: This idea was conceived after hearing two other students, Matias Armendaris And Ed Oh who, for me, understand that the future is related to other frequencies of thinking. Thanks to them for sharing their energies with me.  

2019, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago