Take a drive down any interstate in the United States and what will you see? Billboards, dozens and dozens of billboards. Not only do the advertisements distract commuters, they block stunning scenes of natural landscapes. For these reasons, artist Jennifer Bolande painted surreal landscapes on a collection of billboards that blend into their backgrounds.
The billboards were installed along the Gene Autry Trail in the sunny state of California. From the right vantage point, commuters could see larger-than-life photographs blend into their majestic backgrounds.
The project, Visible Distance / Second Sight, was created by Bolande for part of Desert X. The outdoor exhibition of art exhibitions and site-specific work took place across the Coachella Valley between Feb. 25 through April 30, 2017.
Explains the DesertX project page:
“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.
In the language of billboard advertising this kind of reading is referred to as a Burma-Shave after the shaving cream company of the same name who used sequential placement to create messaging that could be read only from a moving vehicle.
Within the desert empire of roadside signs, Bolande chooses to advertise the very thing so often overlooked. 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.”
A major objective of Desert X was to raise awareness about global and local issues, ranging from climate change to starry skies, to immigration and tourism to gaming and golf.