Thursday, December 08, 2016

Herds of Sheep Are Invading Times Square Billboards

Sometime whilst creating filmed backdrops of sheep for the Brokeback Mountain opera, video artist Tal Yarden realized he had much a bigger pastoral project that he could turn into a series of peaceful video lullabies. The artist recently turned this footage of the retired Wyoming ranchers into Counting Sheep, the current Midnight Moment on Time Square’s electronic billboards, giving “the city that never sleeps” some sheep to count so that they might find some dreamy peace. Yarden, who has worked with Cindy Sherman and shot video for the David Bowie Lazarus musical, tells The Creators Project that Counting Sheep is the merging of two projects. The first, of course, was the documentary with his collaborator, Jessica Medenbach, in which he followed brothers Peto and Don Meike over the course of their last year of ranching. The other project was a series of “peaceful lullaby” projections on billboards in the city that never sleeps so that they would be “benevolent reminders to sleep and dream.” “The two ideas came together for me with the desire to create a meditative series of visuals that reconnect an urban audience to nature and the seasons,” says Yarden. He and Medenbach filmed the Meike brothers in the Big Horn mountains of Wyoming near Kaycee. Originally he was drawn to the area because of its connection to Annie Proulx’s story, Brokeback Mountain. “Peto Meike brought us up to the summer pastures to film and offered his dogs as assistant directors,” Yarden says. “I would ask for the sheep to move over the landscape in certain directions and the dogs would make it happen.” The artist has returned to Kaycee and the Meike ranch in various seasons to continue filming the sheep...more

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