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 and those who would benefit from taking a mental break and watching nature.

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 an 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.

Excerpt of “Monarch on Milkweed” moving still

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.

Luci and Westminster Nursing Center resident during invite-only premiere.

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.

Smiling woman, digital screen of wooded trail, St. Pete Moving Still
Resident at Westminster watching the “Boyd Hill Oak Trail” moving still

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.

St Pete Moving Still - digital frame - nursing home - Luci Westphal
“Morning Beach Path” moving still in a nursing center resident’s room

This initial chapter of the social art project commenced with a public viewing of the Moving Still frames on November 14, 2022, 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.

St. Pete Moving Still exhibit at Westminster Suncoast, St. Petersburg
During opening reception of “St. Pete Moving Still” at Quak Center, visitors could sit at tables with individual video frames to take their time watching alone or share the experience with someone else.

After this initial phase of this Moving Stills project, Luci gathered 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 was at the inaugural Bohemian Night event at the Kenwood Gables B&B on November 17th.

St. Pete Moving Still Clam Bayou by Luci Westphal
Moving Still “Clam Bayou” at Kenwood Gables B&B during the 1st Bohemian Night.

The following are 40-second excerpts from the 8 videos displayed in individual frames during the initial launch of St. Pete Moving Still.

The actual videos presented in the frames are between 15 and 20 minutes long and play on an endless loop. All Moving Stills available for purchase or loan include the physical frame that can be hung on a wall or stand on a table. Purchase price depends on the size of the frame, between $250 and $500.

Excerpt from “Morning Beach Path” moving still.
Excerpt from “Banyan Tree Birds” moving still.
Excerpt from “Monarch Milkweed” moving still.
Excerpt from “Gulf Water Moves” moving still.
Excerpt from “Two Palms” moving still.
Excerpt from “Clam Bayou” moving still.
Excerpt from “Frost Weed 2 (CU)” moving still.
Excerpt from “Boyd Hill Oak Trail” moving still.

The following are images from the 18 Moving Stills currently finished, including the ones that have been exhibited and those which have not.