Daniel Leivick

The word “Heliopolis” means “Sun City,” and is also the city to which the mythical Phoenix returned to die and be reborn. Appropriately, the work in Daniel Leivick’s Heliopolis series is an effort to conjure a new mythical desert city in the minds of its viewers, occupying a middle ground between fact and fiction. Material is gathered from Google Maps and collaged, making some of the images almost complete fictions resulting from rearrangements of disparate locations, while others are almost entirely unaltered. The issue of scale is constantly in flux—patterns form in the aerial landscape that are reminiscent of shapes both minute and immense, recalling everything from subatomic particles to galaxies.

Online mapping projects like Google are rapidly changing the nature of visual discourse—no longer are we tied to the fixed perspective of a single camera. Today, we have access to a view akin to that of a compound-eyed god who simultaneously views all points at once. By appropriating content from these sources and transforming them into large scale imagery, this shift in perspective is highlighted, emphasizing the implications of a landscape that is both reflective of ourselves and our culture at large. The fictional landscapes of Heliopolis explore the contrasts of annihilation and transcendence, determinism and agency, rationality and madness by presenting a city where destruction and rebirth are one and the same— where the gap between reality and simulation is ever narrowing.

Daniel Leivick is a photographer and digital artist originally from Santa Cruz, California. He received a BA in studio art from Stanford University and an MFA in photography from Arizona State University. His work, which focuses on human interaction with landscape and emergent phenomena, has been published and exhibited internationally. He currently lives in Los Angeles, California.