Cite, Site, Sight

Belinda Haikes

Assistant Professor of Interaction Design
West Chester University of Pennsylvania

“Unlike place (which I define as seen from the inside,) landscape can only be seen from the outside, as a backdrop for the experience of viewing”…“Space defines landscape, where space combined with memory defines place.”
– Lucy Lippard from Lure of the Local [1]

The landscape we encounter every day has a history and a meaning beyond the banality in our field of vision. It is this place, the interstitial and the seemingly everyday, that I aim to engage with my recent project Cite, Site, Sight. he site chosen for the first rendition in the ongoing project is located in Peace Park, Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. The site was chosen for the place between, the memory of the site, and how we engage with the history and the contemporary progress that are present in the place. I am interested in sites that are convergences of possibilities both past and present, and how technology can change our perceptions of those sites.

The project responds to the interstitial nature of the space by creating a new experience of the landscape. The viewer, through mobile media and animation, engages the landscape while they are in the Peace Park.”The park intersects the main entrance and exit roads of the town, as well as overlooks some important historical places for the city. These include; Turtle Back Mountain, and Ralph Edwards Park, which honors the man who renamed Hot Springs to Truth or Consequences for a game show. The park itself includes the site of healing hot spring waters that were used for millennia by the native Pueblo people and up into the 1960s. Additionally, the site also holds the weight of history in it, including death of a family of the encroaching population during 1800s by young Pueblo warriors. More recent history in the field of views the firehouse and the town’s major gallery, Rio Bravo. In this place the viewer looks out onto the layered space through their mobile phone.

The viewer begins by scanning a QR code located on a pole in the center park. Once they scan the code, a video come up. Once they press play a video begins and they are directed to hold their phone in four feet to the left and towards the mountain. Their field of vision is disrupted by the video playing on the phone. The animation begins with sounds of bells and twinkling and reveals an abstract field of color and shapes that shimmer and slowly transforms into the landscape that is in the field of vision. This transformation occurs while a deep male voice reads an excerpt from William Gibson in No Maps From these Territories. [2] The text of the sound focuses on Gibson’s ideas of place and time, which are mirrored in the transformation of the image on the place the viewer is seeing. The project is about responding to the environment, to its history, and its potential. The viewer is mapped onto a new space, where the space is combined with not only its history, but also with the potential of vision, of seeing and experiencing the site. Cite, Site, Sight is an ongoing project, with its completion of to be situated in Richmond, (Virginia) in late spring, followed by a Philadelphia (Pennsylvania) location.

This project was made possible by the generous support of “Starry Night Residency” in “Truth or Consequences,” New Mexico and by Jennida Chase, and her recording of Mark Chase’s reading of William Gibson in No Maps From these Territories.


1. Lippard, Lucy R. “Intro.” In The lure of the local: senses of place in a multicentered society. New York: New Press, 1997. 9.
2. Chase, Jennida, “Recording of Mark Chase,” William Gibson, No Maps From these Territories, 2010, compact disc.


Belinda Haikes is a conceptually driven interdisciplinary artist whose work examines digital and social relationships. Her work has been included in exhibitions and screenings at in the United States at the Bronx World Film Cycle, The Billboard Project, The Asian Arts Initiative, The Los Angeles Center for the Digital Art ,and The Weatherspoon Museum; and internationally at the New Museum’s Flash:Light Festival, with Pilottone Lightworks (United Kingdom), Village Nomad (France), and Digital Fringe (Australia.)  Recent awards include a residency at “Starry Night” in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, and “Jury’s Choice Award, Art, Everywhere 2011 – Public Art Initiative” with Video-Gang. Her work becoming was a 2012 finalist at Digital Graffiti in Alys Beach, Florida.

She is a member of the experimental sound and multi-media ensemble group, Pilottone, as well as the Video-Gang Collective.  Currently, she is Assistant Professor of Interaction Design at West Chester University and a recent Digressor for UnderAcademy College, an anti-school that questions the academic model. Additionally, she runs two blogs, Life, the Universe and Art (an artist-interview blog,) and the current I Love Mark Making (a studio blog.)