All These Open Windows but no Fresh Air

All these Open Windows but No Fresh Air began from research conducted into the photograph taken by Charles O'Rear in January, 1996. The photograph depicts a rolling Californian hill, with intensely green grass and a blue, cloud spotted sky. In 2001 the photo was acquired by Microsoft and was to be used as a default desktop background of Windows XP.

Windows XP was released for public retail on 25th October 2001. It was used on PCs around the world and rapidly became the most ubiquitous desktop operating system. The desktop background became one of the most viewed photographs in the world.

Microsoft were certainly not the first nor the last to adorn a manmade surface with depictions of nature. From William Morris' wallpapers to Googles chromecast screensavers, natural elements have been used to improve non-natural environments. However, nature and wilderness has not always been thought of as pleasurable.

It was not until artists, poets and writers ventured out into nature in order to escape industrial society that nature was valorised. Today, every new camera or high definition screens abilities are showcased by proving just how close to the natural world they have come.

The question is how much closer these digital technologies bring us to the natural world or whether the natural world is seen as something that can be captured, used and appreciated from afar.