st pete moving still morning beach by Luci Westphal, biophilic, social, visual art

The project “St. Pete Moving Still” brings nature indoors – especially to those who cannot easily visit the great outdoors anymore or bend down and watch a bee buzz from bloom to bloom.

Luci Westphal received a St. Petersburg Arts Alliance Individual Artist Grant for her biophilic, social, visual art project St. Pete Moving Still.

The “Moving Stills” fall most obviously into the visual art category. They are portable frames featuring a nature image that may at first appear to be just a photo, until the viewer detects some movement… Each frame, in fact, features a long video playing on a endless loop. The videos are either a landscape or a close-up of a detail in nature – all filmed in and around St. Petersburg.

Each video has one camera set-up without any editing or camera movement or sound. The purpose is to exude a calm connection to nature. Unlike a documentary film, which can inform and excite and demand full attention, these moving stills are intended to be calming, and just subtly invigorating without causing demands or uncertainty. Unlike a still photo, there’s still movement, there’s still life.

Based on the theory of biophilic art, Luci initiated this art project to improve people’s emotional, mental, and physical well-being as it connects the viewer to nature outdoors, while being indoors.

Biophilia, the idea that humans are formed by and long for connection to nature, is known as a key to personal restoration. Connecting with nature can be medicine for our minds. There’s even research into how observing nature imagery can lower blood pressure and ease pain.

My aim is to not just bring a pretty, moving picture to a person, but to provide an experience that directly promotes mental, emotional, and physical well-being by triggering joy, calm, and a connection to positive memories and the beneficial effects of nature.
– Luci Westphal

In an exhibit for the general public, or in a work place or home of an active person, the “Moving Stills” remind us to slow down, even stop for a few moments, and watch a butterfly land or waves roll in. However, the “St. Pete Moving Still” was initially conceived to bring nature to those whose lifestyle can’t be very active right now.

As a social art project, Luci has been working with the staff and talking with residents of the Westminster Suncoast Senior Living Nursing Center since August.

On November 2nd, at an invite-only event for residents, family, and staff, Luci unveiled the “Moving Still” frames. Since then, Nursing Center residents have been able to borrow these portable frames for their rooms. Priority was given to those who can’t leave their rooms any longer. Several of the frames are also accessible in shared community spaces.

This initial chapter of the social art project will commence with a public viewing of the Moving Still frames on November 14, 2002, at The Quak on the Westminster Suncoast Campus.

St Pete Moving Still at the quak westminster suncoast November 14, 2022, Luci Westphal art

Luci would like to thank the City of St. Petersburg’s Office For Cultural Affairs and the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance for helping make this unique project a reality.

After this initial phase of this Moving Stills project, Luci will gather feedback from the residents, families, and staff – and evaluate its impact. This will be the beginning of the individual art piece’s journey to other exhibits, homes, and places of care.

The next public exhibit of these particular St. Pete Moving Still frames will be at the inaugural Bohemian Night event at the Kenwood Gables B&B on November 17th.