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drive-by shooting
merry norris, organizer

pasadena museum of california art
2006


for more info, visit the drive-by shooting website: http://drive-byshooting.com
I began this project over twenty years ago with
a 35mm Nikon, then a Polaroid SX-70, capturing glimpses of tree trunks and plant and leaf forms
from my moving car. I think what attracted me
was the tension between control and lack of con-
trol this technique encouraged in intuitively compiling a personal record of nature. I wanted
to bring natural form into my camera almost un-
consciously, exposing its hidden energy within
the act of seeing.

I now use digital cameras, not just as a source of imagery but as a gateway to yet another dynamic process hidden within the dna of the computer. Natural energy is transformed into images via the
camera lens, these images are then transformed
into pixels – into a parallel landscape of trans-
formative digital energy. Grass becomes fur, so-
lids become transparent, light becomes volume,
an instant becomes an object of extended study. Material objects dematerialize into semi-trans-
parent blurs in which foreground and background
lose their former identity. In contrast, immater-
ial qualities of pure light and color take on un-
expected substance and become ‘objects’ in their own right — streaks and washes of color develop
an almost painterly presence equal to the now-
translucent solid forms, creating a single, almost biological, texture. This equivalence is reinforced
by the relatively low resolution of the original captures, in which a common fabric of individual pixels subsumes all. Each stage in the process —
the original image captures, their processing in software, and their final rendition in the complex act of printing is an opportunity for discovery, in which the dance between the physical and digital languages, the weave of nature and technology, is ever alive.

Seeing is a kind of thinking, an instantaneous synthesis from a chaos of simultaneous visual impressions — a coherent whole, a single per-
ception, a unique observation. In these images,
as they deconstruct that process, the observer
is observed — navigating unexplored territory
in which the process is the product, and the
journey itself becomes the destination.