Mikey Peterson: Through the Rift

Through The Rift

Mikey Peterson
[ United States ]

In Through The Rift, the relationship between the information we retain and its imagery we mentally re-envision and reassemble, helps us conceptualize imperceptible events such as the slow moving catastrophe of climate change. Recalling Robert Jay Lofton’s concept of fragmentary awareness, we form surreal sequences from these visual thoughts in order to create our own narratives of the real events that are difficult to comprehend.

In this video, natural imagery unfolds into a surreal cycle of destruction, death, and rebirth. The fragmented footage, taken from three coastlines in the United States, is edited into new forms – accentuating nature’s close interplay with itself and us. The soundtrack, taken from the ambient sound of the source footage, is manipulated and layered with synth drones – reinforcing the intense and uncanny relationship between memory and reality. By dramatizing these natural moments, a light is cast on our environmental impact and the overall power, horror, and beauty of nature itself.

Primary Project Website: Through the Rift web page

Mikey Peterson

School of the Art Institute of Chicago & Snow City Arts

Mikey Peterson’s meditative images shift through extended real-time shots, subtle dissolves, and startling jump cuts. Light contrasts through darkened backgrounds, and classical elements—water, fire, air, and earth—create abstracted spaces. These distortions, influenced by pre-CGI science fiction films, arthouse horror, experimental cinema, and sound collage aim to disturb the viewer’s self-perception and sense of place while reinforcing their bond with the natural world through the use of digital technology. Subtle events appear dramatic, and nature’s movements become surreal transformations as they reside within the boundary between the physical and the virtual.

Footage is digitally manipulated and taken out of its original natural context to paradoxically relay other truths about the world that it is from – unveiling themes of memory, environmental preservation, evolution, destruction, disorientation, fear, and hope. To advance this process of displacement, Peterson manipulates the ambient sound from the source recordings to compose a cohesive soundtrack, moving the viewer into dream-like meditations, chaotic landscapes, and dark surreal spaces that contradict the enveloping rhythms of tone and light.

His work has shown at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City; Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Photography; the Chicago Cultural Center; the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum; Chicago’s Zhou B Art Center, Rome’s MAXXI Museum; South Korea’s CICA Museum; the Armory Center For The Arts in Pasadena, California; Seattle’s Northwest Film Forum; the SIGGRAPH Conference in Los Angeles, California, the Lucca Film Festival in Lucca, Italy, London’s Visions in the Nunnery, CURRENTS New Media in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the STREETVIDEOART exhibition in Paris, France, Brooklyn’s Ende Tymes Festival, New York’s Under The Subway Video Art Night, and the Video Art and Experimental Film Festival at Tribeca Cinemas in New York City. His work has been featured in publications including CICA Museum’s Post Human: New Media Art 2020 and Digital Body: New Media Art 2018; Mexico City’s Blancopop; Paris’ Stigmart 10 – Videofocus; LandEscape Art Review and the online audio publication, Text Sound.

Peterson develops and teaches courses at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Snow City Arts. In addition, he writes and performs sparse melodic songs as a solo musician.

Artist’s website: http://mikeypeterson.com/new/