My research has focussed on two elements. Digital Beings….. and the Virtual Space they inhabit….. The way I have attempted to represent these ideas has been highly experimental, and the hearty balance of media I wished for at the beginning of the course has yet to reach fruition. The act of researching the alternative to a real being in physical space from the point of view of a physical person naturally promotes a level of balance between the two but practically, in some cases, I’ve found more comfort in digital process over physical. My desire to physically paint has hopelessly diminished over the past 6 months, and instead an interest in combining physical drawings with 3D animation and processing has evolved.
A mixed media approach has always been my direction, however, their integration with one another is crucial. I feel my successes in the previous year have been in one medium, never the integration of many. For both the mini workshop and the Interim show, I’ve produced physical canvases, one oils, one inks (and wool)… the concepts behind these works have differed, “Society of Spectacle” visualised the ‘meta-city’ and its disconnected inhabitants, constantly missing the spectacles in front of their eyes whilst focussing on endless handheld distractions. “Congregation” is a composition of red-blooded empty shells of people each captivated by their own individualised sermon being read to the them by their personal devices. These works have focused on information addiction, which maybe goes hand in hand when trying to decipher the definition of Digital Identity, but then again, each individual represents identity differently, and its definitely a horribly broad umbrella term. After spending most of first year looking at the definition of digital identity in a very singular way, towards the end, I began to realise my interest in the representation of religion. I’m not a religious person, but I’m fascinated by religious art. In my eyes, nothing more important could have happened to humanity than the invention of religion. The ethics, arts and evolutions that have come from it are unrivalled. There are of course some very nasty moments in history where religion can be blamed, but I’m looking at it positively. Many of the worlds treasures would not have been created without a belief in God, and in simpler times, the question of the Unknown may have been a much more frightening prospect.
These thoughts about the online individual, his offline counterpart, how these individuals bunch up together to make communities and their eradication of traditions over facts, have then often been placed in images attempting to visualise the complexity of internet traffic?… The results have been aesthetically complex but conceptually very simplistic. I’ve spread my focus across a number of keen interests, and need to find more depth. Maybe thats the definition of quantitive over qualitative. But do these ideas not all come hand in hand? If we are to look at the stained glass windows of church interiors, the likelihood is the vast glass areas display what appear to be very complex aesthetics, but the stories behind them are intentionally made to be accessible to the masses. Or in fact maybe its the importance of an ethical question made simple to connect with the masses. Either way, trying to present overly complex ideas only promotes exclusivity, which has been, in my mind, the worst aspect of the contemporary art world in the past century. Then again, overly inclusive themes and concepts can be deemed ‘pop’ and sellable in an increasingly financial art world. As with anything, either side of the spectrum is extreme. I read an interesting article by Guardian art critic Jonathan Jones on Ikeda’s ‘Supersymmetry’ and how he believes that although the work was an impressive spectacle, the perceived complexity of it only strengthened Jones’s belief that Ikeda had no idea what was going on in CERN. Particle physics is complex, and therefore Ikeda represented it with aesthetic complexity…. but unlike Ikeda’s work… the complexity of CERN’s research actually means something. This has brought me back to my own work, and visualising internet traffic… Obviously the internet is a busy place, but empty lines can’t represent its manic behaviour, whats its made up of? what times and when is it used? The lines must be textured with media, or better yet, represent actual data.
My work with reactive sensors came to a halt over my sheer lack of experience in the area, yet had I successfully completed my aims with the project, I would not have considered the conceptual significance behind the ability to “turn on” a painting with your presence. At first. I felt the crucial aspect was to reflect the necessity for the individual to make an active choice to interact with their tech, and the internet. Now, its about why they want to. There was an interesting sets of stats released in the news about a week ago claiming that collectively people in the UK use their smartphones 1.1 billion times a day…. the average being around 40/50, and some extremists as high as 1000 times a day. What used to be an extension of communication has become an integral part to the way we think about everyday actions. But what are these interactions? Emails? News? Social Media? etc etc… Another approach is the Angler fish, and its use of light to attract its prey. This may be a route I take a little further. Going forward with the light – distance project, I’d love to create physical versions, however for the time being, and the recent success I’ve had with Leap Motion, I’m going to create it digitally. The narratives of these works will be an intersection of anatomy and architecture, fact over faith, the growth of global communications and the rise of narcissism in the online world.
Digital Architecture – Another vague term I’ve been using… At the start this was to me the information that makes up the web, and the forms they create when moving. This is still the case, however, I want my work to be more accommodating for people, rather than just residing amongst floating bits of spaghetti….
Its the beginning of 2nd Year, and quite worryingly, I’m beginning to think about my final piece. There a elements of it appearing in some of the work I’ve produced, but the equilibrium is yet to be established both in concept and process. I’m excited to get going, if only I could get into the building! Oh well… More self-obsessed dribble to follow.
On the subject of virtual reality, London based artist Mark is testing the waters in a month long bid to experience life from another person’s point of view. For 28 days, He will be immersed in the daily life of a complete stranger, only known to him as ‘input’. Every aspect of the inputs life will be relayed to Mark, including showering, sleeping, going to the toilet, going to work, even sex…
It’s not set to take place until the summer of 2015.
MF: “I see who we are as a construct of society and want to find out to what extent it’s possible to lose the sense of one’s self, myself”
Interview with the creators:
VR headsets are poised to take on the commercial technology market in the coming year, however their true application could be in the hands of designers and architects, as this BBC news article shows. Giving warship designers the ability to see and travel through their latest designs, is essential in an industry that has to make the most of its money.
BBC Article: “Virtual Reality aids BAE Warship Design:”
“Virtual reality technology is being used in the construction of Royal Navy warships in a bid to build them more cheaply and efficiently.
BAE Systems hopes the technology system will become a fundamental part of the engineering process.
“Visualisation technology is transforming the way we design, build and deliver complex warships,” said Mick Ord, managing director at BAE Systems’ Naval Ships business.
“By creating a virtual prototype, we can mature and optimise a ship’s design and gain a real understanding of the vessel and the experience of those serving on board before manufacturing begins.”
The system has been installed in three sites – Glasgow, Portsmouth and Bristol.
Visualisation suites with huge screens allow engineers, equipped with special glasses and a controller, to walk around the computer-generated ships and inspect the innards of the vessels to see whether there are any potential issues with the design.
Howard Wheeldon, an independent defence analyst said that the system had a lot of benefits.
“There are a lot of people involved in ship design so to be able to do it this way is absolutely brilliant and should be the way forward in other areas of engineering,” he said.
Engineers at BAE Systems, the firm contracted to build vessels, are creating virtual versions that can then be examined in detail before any actual steel is cut.
Previously engineers had relied on wood or cardboard mock-ups of ships.
The system is currently being used to develop three offshore patrol vessels.”
The video below is from another BBC news article from a little over a year ago. It shows a similar technology used to map the leaning tower of Pisa. Jump to 2:02 to see the user interacting with an entirely digital impression of the tower. Using projectors and controllers, he is able to move through an environment made up of different data points. The contraption used to measure the space jumps around almost like an out-of-control garden hose, but the final impression of the building, and the way the user interacts with it, is a very exciting prospect.
This sort of technology used in a visual art context could help to create more intuitive and immersive installations, films, sculptures, artworks etc. I’m especially interested in the ability to create real-life size buildings and sculptures within virtual space. This is a technology i aim to get my hands on sooner or later….
Digital Identity and the Virtual Space Race
To look into whether man’s approach to the digital reflects that of reality, specifically through the cultivation and shaping of virtual environments.
To investigate the growing reliability of technology in the everyday and both the positive and negative effects of media consumption/creation on individual and group identities.
– Decipher the differences between the ‘real self’ and digital identity by unravelling each individually.
– Investigate the effects of Media consumption and creation on the user’s reality by considering the specific elements of media and the way the user interacts with, or is engulfed with its subject or effect. How does it alter our opinions / everyday decisions / habits?
– Create or find characters/figures to exemplify the effects of technology and their digitally altered lives.
– Approach the idea of creation / customisation / alteration in virtual and physical space. Digital architecture?
– Break down the city and online networks to their key components of structure, power, space, complexity and culture.
– Experiment with the equilibrium of physical and digital process to best fulfil my aims, both conceptually and aesthetically.
Digital Identity and its effects on reality will be my central theme. I’ll be making paintings/imagery, multi-media collage/installations and sculptures focused on de-ciphering identity and environment’s relationship with the digital.
On Identity, I’m intrigued by the open array of characters found online. Although users are fully aware of the publicity of the internet, many users still act as if your actions have no effect in real life. The lack of corporeality online gives each and every user the ability to customise and control their identities. This is mainly seen through social media, forums or blogs, however its tangibility is truly endless. You only have to watch Catfish, 2011, to understand its potential misuse, be it malicious or just plain shy.
The average net-user has the ability, if they choose, to express their views, share their ideas, or even just converse with almost 3 billion different worldwide users. This ability to communicate and contribute with these people is solely possible through the use of this network, and therefore our dependence on its growth is increasing. The more applications we find, the greater the dependence. The collective impression of your internet/technology use says a lot about who you are, and potentially even more than simply having a conversation with you. This culmination of data is the basis of your online identity and experience. This is a metaphorical idea, and no such ruthless data harvesting is known to exist, however the effects each of these online interactions has is on the individual’s reality and his/her own sense of identity.
I will be engaging with identity on a number of levels. First, within the individual, I will show the changes of personality and everyday decision-making brought about by the prevalence of consumer technology. Secondly, the identities of groups, belief systems and states, specifically their changes as they engage more frequently online. Thirdly, i aim to discover more about the creation of new and alternate identities online, and how they effect the individual in reality. Looking at the identities we see on the street, and now online, I hope to capture the honest existence in the everyday, and their technology dependencies, or lack there of. Media consumption and creation can pose an unexpected change in a user’s reality and identity. This digital media can be news, social media, google results, images, texts, videos, basically anything available online, that has been made to be consumed.
As I’m interested in representing the modern figure, I have taken to reading Charles Baudelaire’s ‘The Painter of Modern Life.’ This essay, from 1863, describes some of the key stylistic themes Edouard Manet used in his depiction of modern life. Manet, both traditional yet cutting edge, captured modern life in the way he saw it, as opposed to artists at the time who followed the trends of what were considered academic conventions. The raw and natural representation of the world around him, and his unrelenting view of it is a characteristic i wish to adopt. Other classical or painterly inspirations I will reference are Delacroix, Caravaggio, Courbet, Millet, Masaccio, Magritte and Dali. More contemporary inspirations include Bridget Riley, Jenny Holzer, Chris Ofili, Sol le Witt, John Baldesarrri, Mehreen Murtaza, Rafael Rozendaal, Pipolotti Rist, Mark Lombardi. Essentially my work, in the simplest of terms will present realist figuration alongside surreal, expressive, digitally inspired landscapes and settings. These will be abstract collages and impressions of our own landscapes and the imagined digital-scape. By decoding architectural drawings, city plans, maps, satellite imagery, network imagery, info-graphics, circuit boards and even the human body, I aim to find a theme within their structure, and combination.
Architecture completes a cultural memory of the area in which it stands. Deep in the cities, there are rows of buildings, each defining their own time. Just walking down one of these roads triggers a sense of physical history that reminds you what had been before. The internet’s current architecture, per say, is based on books, scrolls, images, and videos, however with the potential emergence of virtual space, and a consumer interface to use it, this current structure could be set to change dramatically. I aim to look into the possibility of digital architecture and the cultural identities it could form. A space without land, where the buildings hold influence from cultures from all over the globe. Its a classic utopian vision that any technophobe would cry at the thought of, though it is not entirely impossible, and thus i propose the idea of the virtual space race, except this time our mortality does not hold us back, only our interface, tools and imagination. Unlike real architecture, the user can customise their surroundings. The buildings within our reality are set in stone as the unchangeable landmark of someone else’s work. within this digital space, the user is able to control what the environment is made up of, and the elements within it, be it their own designs, or those of others,
Given the opportunity, will man cultivate and shape a virtual environment in the same way he has the physical, or how will it differ?
My research will be based on both physical and digital processes, with an aim of finding a balance. I will aim to include physical lighting, sound and sensors. Creating multi-faceted, sculptural paintings and installations will use a number of physical processes including mark-making, wax/clay cast/ wood sculpture, found and manipulated objects.
My work will aim to find an equilibrium between Realist mark-making and digital abstraction, Much of my focus be will be on the city, and its increasing connectivity with its inhabitants. As our cities become more dependent on technology, i will show this distinction physically within its representation. Although my primary skill is to paint, I will further my understanding with more technological processes, such as visual coding, 3D sculpting and image manipulation. I will add electronic elements to my pieces including lighting, projected film/animation and interactive sensors to capture the growing reliance on technology. These Digital elements could also be laser cut images, interactive sensors, projected animation or embedded lighting and sound effects. A lot of these digital processes depend on my ability to become confident with the software, and therefore I see these elements coming in later down the line. In the meantime, I will focus on painting/drawing and sculpture, with some photography and film elements.
To de-construct the crossovers between digital identity and the ‘real self’ through multi-media paintings and installations that in themselves only just find the balance between the physical and the digital.
To be true to the representation of figures and personalities in my work. I do not wish to alter reality to better my work, and instead aim to captured elements of modern life, and especially life in the way i believe it to come across.
To investigate the growing reliability of technology and both the positive and negative effects of media consumption on individual and group identities.
To harness the possibility of virtual environments in Continue reading