Wolfgang Staehle features three full-color digital projections presented in distinct zones throughout the museum. Each projection records a panoramic view of a recognizable New York State site: the Hudson River Valley, Manhattan's Lower East Side, and Niagara Falls. Eastpoint (2004) and Ludlow Street, May 4, 2006 (2006) are archived versions of streamed web camera footage updated every few seconds and shot over a 24-hour cycle. Niagara (2004) is a one-hour pre-recorded video projection edited into an infinite seamless loop with roaring sound. In all Staehle's work the use of contemporary technological resources creates a new understanding of landscape in the lineage of image making.
In Eastpoint (2004) and Niagara (2004), Staehle focuses on the sublime as it relates to 19th-century American landscape painting. Eastpoint (2004) described as "a kind of high-speed Frederic Church," depicts a sweeping vista of the Hudson River Valley. Comprised of over 8000 still images shot every 10 seconds by a web camera, this gradually shifting image reimagines the landscape genre for the 21st century. Staehle shot Niagara with a video camera from the same vantage point as Fredric Church's panoramic painting, Niagara Falls from the American Side (1867). Although 19th-century audiences and today's audiences are vastly different, Staehle's decidedly 21st century approach calls into question how the mechanics of digital presentation mediates our experience of nature vs. those of painting or still photography.
In counterpoint to the pastoral settings of Eastpoint and Niagara, the museum will also show Ludlow Street, May 4, 2006 (2006), an unfolding depiction of one day in the life of Manhattan's Lower East Side. The work consists of 6716 images displayed in approximately 8 second intervals.
Wolfgang Staehle is widely recognized as one of the pioneers of internet art. Born in Stuttgart, Germany in 1950, he has been living in New York since 1976. In 1991 he founded THE THING, an independent media project which began as a bulletin board system (BBS) and became one of the seminal online- and offline- forums for net.art. His works have been shown at Fondation Cartier in Paris, Gagosian Gallery in New York, Transmediale 02 in Berlin, Wood Street Galleries in Pittsburgh and at Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, at the Tate Modern in London, and the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC.