Jim Campbell

Exploded View (Cowboys) (2012-2013)

Custom electronic LEDs
Dimensions variable

Located on Hall of Fame Level, Entry A

Jim Campbell uses cutting-edge technology to bring mystery into modern life. At a time when high-tech devices allow people all over the globe to see more things more clearly and quickly than ever before, the San Francisco artist takes digital imagery back to the basics. His three-dimensional arrangements of flickering lightbulbs transform two-dimensional images into ghostly apparitions that take on a life of their own. In doing so, Campbell invites us to wonder about the fleeting nature of our perceptions and how they add up to lives that pass by so quickly.

At AT&T Stadium, Campbell starts with footage of great plays from Dallas Cowboys games. Using software, he digitizes the filmed images and then maps every pixel of every frame of every sequence onto a room-size array of hanging LED lights. A specially programmed computer controls the lightbulbs, causing each to turn on and off at precisely time, intervals, sometimes shining brightly and at others glowing softly.

Depending upon where you stand, you see different things. From some places, Campbell’s darkened alcove resembles the night sky, whose twinkling stars form endless constellations. From other vantage points, you see football players running, passing, and tackling. Sometimes they are easy to see, their silhouettes crisp and distinct. At others, they are blurry and ghostly, like faded photographs, early movies, low-res images and fleeting memories. No audio accompanies Campbell’s black-and-white work, which shuns the razzle-dazzle of high-res imagery. The silence amplifies the mysteriousness, creating an atmosphere that is both mesmerizing and meditative.

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