Taken from the artist’s Eight Landscapes series from 2000, Radio Wind Tyres is a print by Julian Opie that shows an image of an empty open road, with a dramatic vanishing point. Each image in this series was mounted with sound systems, playing the sounds described by the title or digital LED panels displaying the words of the title one by one.
This print has been created from a photograph taken by the artist, subsequently scanned and digitally manipulated to create a simplified image that appears as though it were in a contemporary videogame. Radio Wind Tyres is devoid of any human presence and is depersonalised to the point of commodification whereby the viewer is able to make their own imaginative journey through the image. In composing this image from the perspective of someone driving along the road, Opie retains a sense of familiarity and human presence, thus inviting the viewer to step into the scene.
Radio Wind Tyres strikes an interesting balance between the slick, impersonal style that is typical of computer-generated images and the more personal list of sounds that Opie titles the print with. The print rekindles these familiar sounds from the viewer’s memory, and it is easy to imagine oneself within this scene. Opie frames nature within the artifice of a computer-generated image, thus the artificial is treated as if it were real by the viewer.