The cluster of screens presented at the Armory Show is the most ambitious presentation of Roth’s latest body of Internet-based works, Landscapes (2014-ongoing), to date. In Landscapes, an exploration into the physicality of the Internet is used as a gateway to enter nature and better understand the cultural shifts brought about by the increasingly frequent demands of technology.
In 2014, Roth began tracking and visiting the transitional instants where Internet submarine fiber optic cables come ashore. The series began as a pilgrimage to a remote area of Cornwall, on the southwestern tip of the UK, where the trans-Atlantic fiber optic cables carrying the Internet emerge from the ocean. At the time, Roth was looking for
ways to rekindle the feelings of optimism, inspiration and community the Internet first ushered in. As Roth began making his way to landing points in seven other countries, the project morphed into a more personal and universal narrative on the self in confrontation with change.
The work results in ‘network located videos’: video pieces hosted online from servers located in the same countries or cities where they were recorded. The URLs are composed of the GPS coordinates from where the footage was taken and the pieces are recorded with a modified camera that shoots in the same infrared frequency that travels
through fiber optic cables. Imbued with a contemplative quality, it speaks to the longstanding tradition of landscape painting and the legacy of Romanticism.
“The longer I work on this new series, the more peripheral the Internet becomes in my thinking,” Roth explains. “I’ve been using the phrase ‘Internet landscapes’ to informally describe the work, but lately I’ve been dropping the ‘Internet’ and just calling them ‘landscapes’ (which I think is more true to what they are). Even though the Internet is a strong character in the narrative, the work is really more about the questioning of my surroundings and search for solutions to issues that fundamentally challenge my art practice and worldview.”
Landscapes is a Creative Capital funded project.