Swell, single channel video by Chris Doyle
In his animation-based practice, Chris Doyle explores aspiration and progress, questioning the foundation of a culture consumed by striving. His narratives feature a world of increasing speed and complexity in which environmental disaster and social inequities continue to generate anxiety of a looming apocalypse.
Swell is the final animation in a series inspired by Hudson River painter Thomas Cole’s Course of Empire cycle. A meditation on Consummation of Empire, the central painting in the series, Swell depicts a city growing and expanding to unprecedented heights as industrialization gives way to a digital future.
At the heart of Swell is the labor that forms the foundation of the expanding empire. Swell draws parallels between artist and laborer, but reminds us that the artist is never outside of this cycle of expansion, and in fact, plays a key role in it.