Conceived as an origin video to the photographic series Dendroid–a collision between the digital landscape and landscape photography–Toban Nichols expands on this investigation with Semaphore. Traditionally, a "semaphore" was a train signal that indicated the state of the track ahead and how a train should advance, such as: clear, caution or stop.
In the video, we see scenes of two people in a domestic space which alternate between panoramic vistas of rolling foothills, a craggy coast and an urban shipyard. The semaphores–the man and woman–perform seemingly arbitrary gestures which then allow the viewer to proceed into the meditative landscapes. Keeping with his distinctive process of manipulating technology, Nichols elevates his deconstructionist tendencies creating vibrantly colored star-burst explosions and kaleidoscopic "semaphorms" that whimsically transform and dissolve back into the scenes.
The digital distortion layered on top of picturesque tableaus (and the canned sounds of nature) suggest the way technology has mediated our interpretation of the surrounding environment and the transient ebb and flow of the techno-distortion highlights how visual/ digital information invades our daily routines. Additionally, Semaphore considers the exponential rate of technological advancement (predicated by Moore's Law) and societies unquestioning forward march toward a mutable and unforeseen future.
-Craig M. Corpora