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Research Centre
Art and Design Research Centre

November 2009

A hundred drawings of encounters with tornadoes found on YouTube; both intimate and distant they lend a sense of the commonplace to a destructive force

A series of one hundred A2 graphite drawings taken from YouTube, dimensions: 12 metres x 2.5 metres

A hundred encounters with the wilful force of the tornado. Encounter represents images found on You Tube videos taken by ‘storm chasers’ in the USA. These often shaky images are taken in the heat of the moment, in pursuit of, or flight from the full force of the tornadoes. These frenetic moments have been transposed into a series of simple and calm drawings, drawn on thin leaves of paper that flutter as viewers pass. The drawings are at once intimate and distant, lending a sense of the commonplace to a force that is selective, fickle and personal in its destruction.They are represented as ‘ encounters’ and seem as distant and incongruous as a sighting of a UFO.

Chasing a Tornado appeals to an overwhelming urge to get as close as possible to the awesome destructive power of a fickle force of nature and indeed, to touch it and to encounter it. Encounter plays with this magnetic draw to the unimaginable but very real power of the storms, our fascination with destruction, and the selective obliteration of the path of the tornado.

The series was exhibited in 'Afterwards', Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre, in 2009, an exhibition exploring memory and the concept of 'deferred action'. Artists included: Etienne Bossut, Pavel Büchler, Juan Cruz, Gareth Fisher, Rodney Graham, Lucy Harrison, Jaspar Joseph-Lester, Selma Makela, Charlie Youle and Bevis Martin, Simon Morris, Sergei Pankejeff, Alexandre Ponomarev, Jean-Jacques Rullier, John Stezaker, Benjamin Swaim, Julie Westerman

Researchers involved

Julie Westerman - Senior Lecturer - Fine Art

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