Animals as filmmakers 

"Nature Holds My Camera: The Video Art of Sam Easterson
Indianapolis Museum of Art
Through July 15

Wild animals become filmmakers in an exhibition that lets us travel with them momentarily — seeing what they see, moving with their actions and all within the environments where they exist. Sam Easterson harmlessly and temporarily attached inexpensive security cameras to animals to gather footage. And hitching a ride with another live creature is not smooth. Imagine going through your day with a small camera affixed to your head or shoulder. You’ll get an idea of the bumpy, toppling imagery shown in nine video loops — most on movie-size screens — in Nature Holds My Camera, now on view at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. These are unconventional films allowing all to consider, even empathize, with an animal and to remind us that we are just one of many life forms on Earth.

Video keys identifying the over 15 animals and a tumbleweed are posted, but should be made available as a handout. Visual identifications are often a guessing game of deciphering a hoof or horn. I found myself recognizing animals through their sounds, like a chick peeping. The cacophony of creatures echoing through the galleries at times was overwhelming.

The Eastern mole footage — you’ll discover that at the end or in the third floor, contemporary art galleries — was commissioned by the IMA. Shot in the spring at a meadow in the IMA’s art and nature park, the video was peaceful to watch. Perhaps because it was relatively quiet in the mole’s world of underground tunnels that directed the camera on a smoother path than, say, the crawling tarantula or running cricket.

The last room holds some activities, such as asking the artist a question at, but where is the mole video? If you visit during the day, make the trek to the art and nature park where the Eastern mole lives. Check out a kit that includes a video player. Once you enter the meadow, the mole video is triggered. This is an incredible experience for kids! Some even thought the footage was live. No matter because the mole is alive in its burrow, scratching beneath the ground we walk on.

Nature Holds My Camera continues through July 15. Call 317-923-1331 or go to or for information.


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