To create City of Nature, San Francisco-based artist Kota Ezawa wove together seventy clips from popular feature-length films in which nature plays a significant role in the overarching narrative. However, he chose to isolate passages that allow the landscape to take a leading role rather than serving as a backdrop for actors and narrative action. The work conjures our mediated relationship to nature as a setting for narrative development, an effect all the more keenly felt given the animated collage’s unaltered, natural soundtrack.
Animation lies at the center of Ezawa’s practice, which engages with found moving and still imagery. The artist converts this material into highly stylized reproductions in a variety of mediums. Using digital drawing, painting, and animation software, Ezawa works frame by frame with narrative passages from television, cinema, and other sources. He then recreates this original material utilizing a simply-rendered, flat visual language, which estranges it from the source material. These works thus reveal the powerful construction of historical memory through mass media imagery.
Label from Screen Play: Life in an Animated World, June 20–September 13, 2015