NEST, a new media installation by Simone Paterson an associate professor of new media art and chair of the studio program at the School of Visual Arts at Virginia Tech, opened this month at the Taubman Museum in Roanoke, Va.

According to the Taubman, NEST deals with the concepts of home, technology, and the natural world. The installation consists of three large-scale nests placed in a triangular formation within the museum’s Media Lab. Each nest is constructed from Virginia creeper, grape vine, and aluminum and each are lined with quilted handmade wool felt.  

These nests do not contain eggs or birds but rather projections of cats, dogs, and humans in a deep sleep. Every so often these figures roll over or move in their sleep, as if the gallery visitor, while peeking into the nest, has disturbed the figures from their slumber. The nests exist in an environment defined by a digitally reproduced landscape created by a photographic mural and projection of Windy Rock on the Appalachian Trail that places the audience in the treetops.

The installation uses a range of art-making techniques including the traditional crafts of felt making and vine weaving, as well as advanced video visual effects. Paterson says the combination of techniques is a deliberate strategy to blur the boundaries between art, craft, and digital reproduction. The method of production could be classified as “post new media,” a collision or coalescence between traditional and new media. 

The museum visitor to the installation is at first an intruder to the strange world of NEST but as the visitor recognizes the familiar; the landscape, the sleeping domestic animals and the human, it is not long before they feel a sense of belonging, a sense that they too are an integrated part of the natural world, that is usually only experienced through the intervention of media. Paterson became an American citizen in August 2011 and says the creation of NEST was the visualization of making Appalachia home.

The installation is supported by Virginia Tech, the School of Visual Arts, and the Virginia Commission of the Arts through the Taubman Museum and will be displayed at the museum through Nov. 20.



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