Landscape/Portrait is an online public art project by Kevin Carter. The project invites participation from geographically defined communities and encourages participants to create individual video self portraits in response to stereotypical views of their localities. It is an online social sampling project that allows communities to challenge the authenticity of demographic stereotypes depicting person and place. Existing as a web site (www.landscape-portrait.com), the work was made available to communities in a range of public settings in order to generate local participation.
Demographic statistics, used to create models of places and the communities who live in them, are the starting point of Carter's work. Statistical models such as these are frequently referenced by town planners and developers in the design of public services and regeneration projects, where the public are categorised by postcode area into social and economic stereotypes.
Dott 07 Festival, Gateshead, UK
Landscape/Portrait was created by Kevin Carter in 2007. Produced by Forma. Commissioned by DOTT 07 (Designs of the Time). Funded by Design Council and One North East. www.landscape-portrait.com was supported by Teesside University and Digital City, and data was supplied by upmystreet.com. Additional support was provided by Digital Knowledge Exchange, d|lab, Fluid Pixels Studio and Babel Digital.
In Britain, fifty-six such stereotypes are used, and can be applied to categorise almost every person with a postcode. Landscape/Portrait sets out to question and explore whether communities can really be reduced to such simple sets of data and to challenge the authenticity of these ‘views’ of person and place. By providing people with access to their own demographic stereotype, and effectively asking them “is this you?”, the work offers an opportunity to re-focus on the individual and their community, rather than on the mass abstraction of the demographics.
Carter also worked with a photographer, Karin Coetzee, whose images of the three areas in which the initial participants live, formed the basis of an outdoor element of the project – displays on billboards and other advertising sites – and a series of postcards.
Kevin Carter uses digital technology, new media and data to create interactive gallery installations and online pieces that explore the relationships between society and technology, artwork and audience. As founder of London-based new media design and production agency, co–lab projects, Carter has collaborated with programmers, artists and technicians to create a variety of digital and public arts projects.
Background image: Kevin Carter, Landscape/Portrait, 2007