Fine Art Photography Daily

ART + SCIENCE: MAGIC: Cy Kuckenbaker


©Cy Kuckenbaker, Freerk Facing East from The Cardinal Directions

Cy Kuckenbaker is a visual artist based in San Diego, California. He spent many years living in locations around the world and used photography as a medium in which to find a sense of place. After deciding to settle down in San Diego, he became frustrated, feeling his new hometown had been stripped of its unique identity due to the massive growth of its real estate development and tourism industry. His response was a visual rebuttal communicating his personal vision of San Diego.

It was this sense of frustration that inspired Kuckenbaker’s series CARDINAL DIRECTIONS.  In search for connection and identity, he chose an unconventional approach, using multiple stereo cameras, shooting with four cameras pointed in the cardinal directions N, S, E, and W to create 3D images.

When asked if he had eventually found a sense of identity and connection with San Diego, he stated “Thus far the biggest break through is finding a visual grammar to express my thoughts about the city. Having that grammar feels good but I don’t feel that what I want to investigate is at all complete. I want to push much deeper. I feel like I’m just beginning.”


©Cy Kuckenbaker, Torrey Pines NSEW from The Cardinal Directions

Cy Kuckenbaker received his MFA in film direction from the California Institute of the Arts, was the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship and served for two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Lithuania. He is the director of fiction and documentary films that have screened at domestic and international film festivals including MoMA NY, Centre Pompidou Paris, The Los Angeles IFF, The Vancouver IFF, the Viennale and many more. His experimental videos have been shared broadly online by platforms such as USA Today, The Atlantic magazine, Designboom, Journal Du Design and more. in 2013, Cy received the San Diego Foundation’s Creative Catalyst Grant to work on a one-year project in partnership with the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego. Most recently his work was featured in a PhotoViz, an artbook publish by Gestatlen and edited by Nicholas Felton that featured cutting edge work in the area of photo visualization.


©Cy Kuckenbaker, Torrey Pines NS from The Cardinal Directions

Cardinal Directions

I’m interested in the dynamic relationship between perception and vision. For instance, we can only see in one direction at a time but we can build visual perception in 360 degrees using memory + our other senses. What we call vision is really just one of many experiential layers that our brains synthesize into “seeing”. Our vision has no black frame – visual perception flows readily, magically, beyond our field of view building new bits, guessing and anticipating. Wherever perception goes, an image will be there.

The CARDINAL DIRECTIONS photo series uses multiple stereo cameras, shooting in multiple directions, to simulate this sphere of perception.


©Cy Kuckenbaker, Fault Line Park NSEW from The Cardinal Directions

The final compositions are presented in three ways.

a) In stacked images, these are vertical de-constructions of perception (imagine taking your perception of a place apart in discreet pieces, one from the north, south, east and west then laying them out on a table – like flattening a globe into a paper map). The colored panels reflect my mood when I edit them because feelings shape perception.
b) The second presentation is as an anaglyph. This highlights the brain’s magical ability to build depth from very subtle parallax changes. I sometimes pull the left and right images apart so the viewer can see them separately, to note how slight the differences are.
c) As 3D video. I built 24 identical stereo cameras. Shooting with all of them at once produces two seconds of video (one image plays two frames). This presentation is about time and how perception can move.

The subject of the series is my home city: San Diego. Using the system above, I’m exploring the landscape and people around me. San Diego has a very superficial narrative carefully calibrated to attract tourists. My approach is rebellious. The camera is so unconventional, so odd, it’s certain to always produce an image of the city I’ve never seen before. It’s my way of rejecting the accepted story of the city and seeing it anew. – Cy Kuckenbaker


©Cy Kuckenbaker, Fault Line Park E from The Cardinal Directions


©Cy Kuckenbaker, Fault Line Park N from The Cardinal Directions


©Cy Kuckenbaker, Cortez Hill NSEW from The Cardinal Directions


©Cy Kuckenbaker, Cortez Hill SW from The Cardinal Directions


©Cy Kuckenbaker, Hans Facing South from The Cardinal Directions


©Cy Kuckenbaker, Glorietta Bay NSEW from The Cardinal Directions


©Cy Kuckenbaker, Glorietta Bay N from The Cardinal Directions


©Cy Kuckenbaker, Glorietta Bay S from The Cardinal Directions


©Cy Kuckenbaker, U.S./Mexico Border NSEW from The Cardinal Directions


©Cy Kuckenbaker, U.S./Mexico Border EW from The Cardinal Directions


©Cy Kuckenbaker, Self Portrait Facing West from The Cardinal Directions

Linda Alterwitz is an interdisciplinary artist with diverse interests in the fields of medical research and the natural environment. Her work encourages an awakening of the senses toward a subtle shift of consciousness, offering people a connection with the unseen.

Through her investigations of art and science, she combines both creative and scientific elements within each frame, provoking a feeling of curiosity and wonderment. As part of her investigations that focus on the boundaries between art and science, she often incorporates scientific images within her photographs (derived from cutting edge technology) with photographs of the landscape. By combining elements of both creative and scientific elements within each frame, her work provokes a feeling of curiosity and wonderment.

Inspired by experimentation with diverse materials and processes, Alterwitz incorporates both traditional and new media techniques. Guided by current technology, her creative process often incorporates data driven images derived from X-rays, CT, PET, sonogram, fMRI diagnostic imaging or thermal imagining. Her work is also guided by the internal rhythms of our bodies, such as patterns of breath. By documenting the inhalation and exhalation of breath, she materializes an intangible human experience.

Alterwitz was the recipient of the Nevada Arts Council Visual Artist Fellowship. Her work has been published in Smithsonian Magazine, Orion Magazine, The New Statesman, among others.

She has exhibited her work in both traditional exhibition and site-specific installations in the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, China, Spain, Israel and Poland.

Alterwitz lives and works in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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