Badlands, a remix collaboration project of Zeitguised and photographer Ben Sandler was born out of an innate fascination with the surreal desert landscapes outside of the metropolis of Phoenix, Arizona. This netherworld of eroded rocks and rusted soil is seemingly extraterrestrial – jagged mountainous zigzags criss-cross Pre-cambrian mounds, marked stratum of eons of evolution, degradation, and rebirth, intertwined with the endlessly blue Arizona sky. The Painted Desert – as it is known – is a land full of the remnants of a previously lush and fertile environment, now dried up and succumbed to the harshness of the arid atmosphere and unforgiving sun. The sweeping colors, immense spread of land, mountains eroding into flowing waves of sand and pebble – indeed, it seems that it is a glimpse from another world.
Within this context, a collaboration was born – between the glass of a photographic lens, and the simulation of a digital model. Exploring the landscapes, the photographer’s camera becomes the recorder of the original source, while the artist’s digital modeling tool interprets the phenomenology of the geological formations. Within this process, an aesthetic language is developed – one that interpolates between the inorganic substrates of the prehistoric landscape, with the organic and tectonic structures embedded within. Based on image analysis and observation, the project circumvents the dichotomy of the real and the fake, as it combines the two in imagery that is taking cues from itself – iterating an image transformation based on its original recording. The resulting world becomes a striking and uncanny walk-in bastardization between the rich reality of the landscape and the reduced analytic model thereof.