Dolan uses a combination of video game and visual effects software to explore the points of contact between the natural and simulated world. In previous works such as Floating Point (2016) and Wireframe Valley (remade 2017) Dolan used real-time software to programme slowly degrading scenes of icebergs and vistas, which slowly reveal the underlying graphical wireframe components of the 3D models, revealing the underlying mechanics of digital representation.

For this commission, this is Dolan’s first time working with a real location, a silicon mine at Spruce Pines, North Carolina, a major extraction-point for fine grade silicon, which is used in computer and mobile phone semi-conductors. Working from satellite elevation data and drone footage of the area, Dolan recreates a fixed view of the mine using procedural modelling and visual effects techniques. The distant scale and resolution of the work invites comparisons between pixels on screen and the sand and rocks in the mine. Audio recorded on site anchors the scene in the real world, where insects, traffic and distant mining machinery can be heard.


Image:Paul Dolan, Spruce Pines, North Carolina (2018)

Video still – Drone footage and audio recording by Tony Lee Glenn.

As the first artwork of Digital U: Extreme Views programme, Spruce Pines, North Carolina (2018) challenges the immaterial idea of the digital work and its technology. By inviting the viewer to contemplate the material origins of the technology around them, Dolan provides an insight to the changing landscape of our ecology.

Spruce Pines, North Carolina (2018) alsocalls on the concept of the Anthropocene (the proposed epoch for human impact on the earth) that provides a valuable context for the work; the aesthetic of the human made vista.


Spruce Pines, North Carolina (2018) is now live Sept 2018. It is the first part of the online exhibition programme “Extreme Views”. Click here.

For more information please contact online guest curator Alejandro Ball:


Paul Dolan is an artist, animator and musician who lives and works in North East England. He is Senior Lecturer of Animation at Northumbria University and nearing completion of a PhD entitled

In Silico: A practice-based exploration of computer-simulated contemporary art.  





Digital U is Kindly supported by:

© Art Gene
Tel: +44 (0)1229 825085

Art Gene

Bath Street,


Cumbria, LA14 5TY England, UK

Donate here

Privacy Policy | Terms and Conditions

Registered Charity: 1135536

Registered in England: 4359454

All images, artwork and text on this website are protected by copyright and may not be downloaded or otherwise reproduced or distributed without the permission of Art Gene. © Art Gene associates, artists and partners, 2022.