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"American Views: Stories of the Landscape" by Russet Lederman presents a personal and eclectic view of the American landscape as experienced and remembered by three diverse individuals.

Emulating the fragmented, non-linear, montage-like construction found in the writings of the German cultural theorist, Walter Benjamin, this interactive work brings together a collection of private and public images, audio, ephemera and text from three "storytellers." They are: Cindi, a digital designer in Irvine, Kentucky, who lives on a 27 acre farm at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains; Adam, a environmental engineer from Northern California who specializes in the analysis and clean-up of hazardous waste sites; and Neil, who shares his recollections of growing up in an emerging New York City suburb on Long Island in the 1950's and 1960's. Woven together with "visual" quotes from 4 central themes -- seen[scene], use[re]use, permanence[im]permanence, and earth[un]earth -- this randomly accessed, non-linear work reveals the many different "micro" tales of specific places that exist within the larger American experience.

Because this piece is experienced in a random manner, the map and accompanying description below loosely outlines the larger structure and modules of the work.

  • Start the artwork by clicking on the circle at the upper left corner of this screen. A new browser window will open containing the artwork and the "main" module. Use the lined scroll bars in the main module and subsequent storyteller modules to randomly reset the navigation options. By clicking on a circle in the "main" navigation module, you will randomly access one of the seven modules outlined in the map below.

  • Within each storyteller module (California, Kentucky and Long Island), you can either scroll (using the lined scroll bars) to randomize your selection or hear a fragment of audio by clicking on one of the rectangular images. There may be a 15 second delay on audio playback with a 56k connection.

  • The "visual quote" modules called, seen[scene], use[re]use, permanence[im]permanence, and earth[un]earth (identified by a single color with a line drawn image and white dots) can be randomly reset through the help ("?") tool at the lower left. Clicking on a dot in these modules will take you to a random selection of visual quotes on the identified topic. Click on the rectangles to hear an audio clip.

  • All of the modules allow you to navigate back to the "main" module via the second button in the help tool ("?") at the lower left of every screen. Remember, each screen is randomly redrawn upon a reset or a revisit.