Saddle Bronc Video Installation
Rawhide, wood frame, Sony mint-video projector, video player, slow motion saddle bronc video 120 min. Screen size 28″X32″X6″ (measures are approximate as the rawhide covering the screen is irregularly shaped). The following illustrations are: rawhide projection screen, then the same screen with the Saddle Bronc video projected onto it.
Ghost Riders, 1999 is about the beauty of saddle bronc riding. Like all the work in the Rodeo Series, this piece is about the dichotomy of real vs. virtual experience. Unlike virtual reality, to ride broncs is to feel every nerve in your body and know you are alive and mortal.
Slow motion rodeo cowboys riding saddle bronc are projected on to a double rawhide screen in this video installation. Clear rawhide is stretched over the front of the screen and curls up along the sides of the frame. Behind the clear rawhide a second layer of white rawhide is stretched inside the frame. When video is projected onto the screen, from a video projector, the image partially penetrates the semi-translucent clear rawhide. Bright whites and bright colors glow on the yellowish material. Some of the projected light passes through the first layer and is stopped by the second layer of white rawhide. The result is a strangely three dimensional image softly glowing that looks two inches thick. Video is projected bigger than the frame. Thus the sculptural element of the screen is exemplified and the riders featured in the video appear to ride right over the screen.
The video was shot by Eric Ringsby at rodeos in Medicine Bow, Laramie, Sheridan, Lubbock, Texas and the Calgary Stampede in Alberta, Canada during the summer of 1999. He originally shot the video to study how to ride broncs as he is a novice bronc rider. Of the approximately fifty cowboys featured, Ringsby is shown riding his first rodeo bronc for the full eight seconds to the buzzer. At his Wyoming ranch studio Ringsby digitized the video and slowed the speed to 25% of real time. The artist was struck by the beauty of the imagery and to make his training material into art. Ringsby experimented with video projection and rawhide as that material seems to embody rodeo. It’s 100% natural, irregular and unpredictable in how it curls and shrinks when stretched. Rawhide is used in the manufacture of Western saddles and tack. It is untanned cowhide and is a yellowish semitranslucent material when dried. White rawhide has been treated to make it a non-transparent milk color.
Ghost Riders, 1999 is about the beauty of saddle bronc riding. Like all the work in the Rodeo Series this piece is about the dichotomy of real vs. virtual experience. Unlike virtual reality, to ride broncs is to feel every nerve in your body and know you are alive and mortal.
Click to read art critic review.