Kota Ezawa

German, active in United States, born 1969

City of Nature

Kota Ezawa (German, active in United States, born 1969). City of Nature, 2011. Blu-ray disc, edition 4/10. Running time: 3 minutes, 54 seconds. Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; George B. and Jenny R. Mathews Fund, by exchange, 2012 (2012:14.1). © Kota Ezawa

© Kota Ezawa

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City of Nature, 2011

Artwork Details


Blu-ray disc




running time: 3 minutes, 54 seconds

Collection Buffalo AKG Art Museum


George B. and Jenny R. Mathews Fund, by exchange, 2012

Accession ID


To create City of Nature, San Francisco-based artist Kota Ezawa wove together seventy clips from popular feature-length films in which nature plays a significant role in the overarching narrative. However, he chose to isolate passages that allow the landscape to take a leading role rather than serving as a backdrop for actors and narrative action. The work conjures our mediated relationship to nature as a setting for narrative development, an effect all the more keenly felt given the animated collage’s unaltered, natural soundtrack.

Animation lies at the center of Ezawa’s practice, which engages with found moving and still imagery. The artist converts this material into highly stylized reproductions in a variety of mediums. Using digital drawing, painting, and animation software, Ezawa works frame by frame with narrative passages from television, cinema, and other sources. He then recreates this original material utilizing a simply-rendered, flat visual language, which estranges it from the source material. These works thus reveal the powerful construction of historical memory through mass media imagery. 

Label from Screen Play: Life in an Animated World, June 20–September 13, 2015