Span is a project that was commissioned for International Orange, an exhibition celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge by the FOR-SITE Foundation.
While we might think of San Francisco Bay as a timeless presence, its boundaries clearly fixed in place, Camille Utterback’s dynamically generated installation reveals the ways in which the Bay and the Golden Gate have changed — and continue to change — over time.
The installation in Fort Point’s west bastion consists of a series of eight video monitors installed in a curving arrangement that roughly mimics the shape of the Golden Gate’s shores. On the monitors, an animated line referencing the shifting shoreline builds up and washes away historic and contemporary depictions of the Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. The imagery ranges from hand drawn maps from the 1800’s, to USGS maps from before and after the building of the bridge, to black and white areal photography from the 1940’s, to current nautical charts and satellite imagery. As the linear form of the Golden Gate Bridge appears and disappears in the fluid animations, the piece reveals the contrast between the seemingly permanent structure of the bridge, and the constantly evolving nature of the Bay. As the layers of drawings, maps, and photography morph and blend into one another, the piece also highlights the human shifts in understanding, technology, and printing techniques employed in our constantly evolving attempts to depict an environment in constant motion.