Mixed media travel journal from a 2019 road trip from Orlando, FL, USA to Montreal, Canada by Rachel Simmons
Pages from a 2019 travel journal based on a road trip from Orlando to Montreal.
Scenic Overlook, Rachel Simmons, 2019, unique artist’s book with sumi-e ink, tape transfers, drawing and collage on paper with photos by Lee Lines
This visual journal-style artist’s book is part of a collaborative project with geographer Lee Lines titled Visible Climate. As an interdisciplinary art and environmental studies effort, this project visualizes the impacts of climate change on our national parks through an investigation of vintage posters and postcards. The idea of a “scenic overlook” emerged during the development of tourism in the national parks; certainly the act of pulling one’s car over, taking a quick snapshot of a breathtaking vista, and then driving away to the next stop is a truly American way of experiencing nature. Like a fast food drive-in, we are able to conveniently consume a hassle-free, sanitized version of the wilderness without leaving the road. Early tourism images used photo-colorization techniques to provide a heightened and distorted version of nature to lure visitors to parks. Scenic Overlook asks the viewer to consider how we consume wilderness as tourists, how climate change is impacting these experiences in the parks, what will we lose as climate change slowly erases our idealized mental images of the past as we face the altered landscapes of the future.