Peter Burr: Sunshine Monument

Jul 25, 2023–

Peter Burr’s Sunshine Monument consists of a series of seven animated architectures—one for each weekday—that reflect on museum structures literally and symbolically. The scrolling animations reference both the underlying formal principles of and the current moment of Web design. Each of the animations in Burr’s signature style of animated black and white graphic elements, for example, translates the layout of the blocks of text and images on the Whitney’s website into an abstract building populated by wandering figures, while maintaining the site’s adaptability to the vertical and horizontal orientation of computer screens and mobile devices. The animations strive to channel the atmosphere of the late Web 2.0 landscape of social media and user-generated content, characterized by an increasingly indexed, optimized, and gamified environment.

Burr frames the project as a monument to the sun, making a round icon the centerpiece for an architectural organism commemorating the sun and driven by its rise and disappearance. Interspersed text elements, which were generated by the artist using AI as a tool, poetically reflect on sunlight and museum structures. Using the moment of sunrise and sunset, as well as graphic space as a metaphor, Sunshine Monument depicts a flow of figures continuously moving through the structure or falling off its edges. The animations thereby highlight the contrast between the ephemeral quality of a flow of short-term visitors to a museum site and the long-term engagement of its stakeholders, from artists to museum staff and patrons.

Peter Burr (b. 1980) is a Brooklyn-based artist whose practice often engages with tools of the video game industry in the form of immersive cinematic artworks. His works have been presented internationally by institutions including Documenta 14, Athens; MoMA PS1, New York; and The Barbican Centre, London. Previously Burr worked under the alias Hooliganship and founded the video label Cartune Xprez through which he produced hundreds of live multimedia exhibitions and touring programs showcasing a multi-generational group of artists at the forefront of experimental animation. His practice has been recognized through grants and awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Creative Capital Grant, and a Sundance New Frontier Fellowship. He is a faculty member of Sarah Lawrence College's Filmmaking department.

Sunrise/Sunset is a series of Internet art projects that mark sunset and sunrise in New York City every day. All are commissioned by the Whitney specifically for, each project unfolding over a timeframgite of ten to thirty seconds.

Using as their habitat, Sunrise/Sunset projects disrupt, replace, or engage with the museum website as an information environment. This form of engagement captures the core of artistic practice on the Internet, the intervention in existing online spaces.

To see the current project, be anywhere on this website during sunrise or sunset.


See more on artport, the Whitney Museum's portal to Internet and new media art.