Are you familiar with the term “Burma Shave”? It is a term, normally used among those with knowledge of billboard advertising. It refers to the shaving cream company’s “Burma Shave” innovation, of creating a billboard message specifically to be read by people inside a moving vehicle.

Jennifer Bolande’s Visible Distance/ Second Sight art installation follows the same principle. But the essence of the message is quite different from organic advertisements.

“Each photograph is unique to its position along this route and at a certain point as one approaches each billboard, perfect alignment with the horizon will occur thus reconnecting the space that the rectangle of the billboard has interrupted.” The artist explained about “Desert X”, which Visible Distance / Second Sight is part of.

The artist, elected the Gene Autry Trail as the place for her latest installation. So now, on billboards where normally one would fleetingly see a generic ad, different pictures and messages are being showcased. Specifically, on the billboards now photographs are displayed, of what passers-by would see, if the billboards weren’t there in the first place.

“…Looking up at the billboards our attention is drawn back to the landscape itself, pictured here as a stuttering kinesthetic of real and artificial horizons.”

Essentially, the billboards tend to draw our attention, away from the natural beauty of a place.

Distance / Second Sight’s purpose, is to bring back our attention to nature and the indigenous allure of the world. Let’s close with Desert X’s broader meaning. It is meant to “amplify and articulate global and local issues that may range from climate change to starry skies, from tribal culture and immigration to tourism, gaming and golf.”

 

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