Decoy (2001)


6 bespoke computer generated animations on DVD. Edition of 5

Decoy (2001) is a screen-based digital work reflecting on the politics of landscape, construction and ownership. Drawing on works by painters such as Gainsborough and Poussin as well as the creations of landscape designers Humphry Repton and ‘Capability’ Brown, Decoy consists of a series of animated digital paintings, displayed on plasma-screens, in which subtly evolving fractal landscapes are combined with photographic images of the views of the grounds of various country houses.

This quintessentially English, Arcadian vista has entered the popular imagination as an embodiment of Nature and the Natural, yet it is almost entirely artificial in its construction. By combining these vistas with evolving simulated landscapes, Prophet unearths the artificiality of each landscape’s past, either by returning the setting to a closer approximation of “wild” nature, or by allowing the viewer to project ahead into the future, according to different growth and planting patterns.

The painterly texture of these sequences, allied to their presentation on a new generation of flat plasma screens, alludes to an English landscape tradition of the picturesque and the sublime, whilst highlighting the capacity of digital technology to create a vision of a landscape entirely
under human control.