How things can change! I was made aware by a few people who had tried the early tests of my VR piece that the environment wasn’t necessarily a Church to them. The comparison given was the U.S. Capitol building.
I spent a considerable time focussing on a religious setting after the influence my research paper had had on my practice. From the beginning I focused on the Internet as a physical space and the architecture within it. Hearing the users experience made me feel that the environment is comparable to both a political and religious setting, which, given the nature of the internet, I didn’t dislike. Though, admittedly it wasn’t intended.
I’ve kept what was originally designed as a church / chapel going against what I’d decided a while ago.
I’ve reflected on the Internet as a comparable institute to religion and still believe that its use and ability creates a similar social structure based on live information. For example, stories of discrimination, abuse, or any injustice are shared and commented on. These are seen and read by tens of thousands, creating a collective social view on that injustice. The main issue with this idea is that internet communities are more secluded than I’d originally thought. The stories of injustice I see on my Facebook timeline are personalised to the community I’m a part of. If I lived elsewhere, in another community, it is a different story. (Of course this is a simple and obvious reflection that can be seen in any community online or offline).
This couldn’t have been made more obvious by Brexit. Since Friday, Facebook (and most other social media) has been set alight with emotion both positive and negative. Some of the posts have been horrendous, some very enlightening, however, the best one I read was a friend from Nottingham uni. He wrote:
“……and proof that my newsfeed is a terrible measure of public opinion”
I don’t want to digress to Brexit, but this comment gives the perfect insight into internet communities.
Back to the religious comparison. This idea has made me realise that although the spread of information allows for quick solidarity and reaction to significant events. It is also tailored to you as an individual and therefore doesn’t give you the insight of all points on the spectrum. I’ve always felt that the best way to understand a story or an idea is to read from both ends of the argument. This is in some way lost by the monetization of the net, and its focus on your individual experience (This is mostly true for social medias).
I’ve gone slightly off topic but the idea of Gateway is to highlight the importance of the viewer’s input.
I will post some more recent examples of the VR experience I’m building in due course.
Along this MA I’ve been investigating the 3dimensional internet and the addictive and spiritual aspects that the net consumer displays. We are creatures of habit, and many of those habits are reflected online. Whilst working on the research paper for Unit 1, I noticed the importance of religion in my artistic interests. I’ve been highly influenced by the old masters and specifically religious subject matter. The effects these works had on its audiences reflected their spiritual narratives.
Propaganda is rarely used positively, but I’d argue that each and every religion has created a prolonged style of propaganda throughout history. The difference between this subject matter and that of more infamous examples of propaganda is its ability to shape the minds of individuals and the running of societies in positive directions. Clearly this is very debatable and one could argue that Christianity, Islam, and Judaism have in fact spread as much hate and violence as they have peace and serenity….
Anyhow… delving too deep into the make up of popular religions is dangerous territory, and I don’t particularly mean to cause offence so I’ll stop there.
My interim piece last year ‘Congregation’ has pushed me to look further into the internet user as religious practitioner. The piece I’m developing for the final show has been focused on the idea of the device as a gateway into a data-driven spirituality that connects global societies with media and live information. These connections overlook the barriers of religion and belief and with the inclusion of so many users, allow each person to access, engage and manipulate the media and information they want. Throughout the masters I’ve looked at the spectrum of a users internet habits and the potential extremities. Like in anything, there are extremists, this is true to say for any religion, belief or spirituality. I’m having a change of heart as I try to iron out my thoughts with this final piece. I’ve focused on creating a Chapel or Church most likely based on my own background in Christianity, however, this was an error.
My research isn’t about religion and therefore I shouldn’t have focused so hard on this setting. As I focused on the Church, I began to expand on the idea with specific references to Christianity. Since my initial project proposal my interest has been in the prospects of Virtual Space and Digital Identity. I looked at architecture, addiction, anatomy, consumer electronics, propaganda and the imbalance between physical and digital. After the Research Paper, I began focusing on spirituality as a prime example of the way an identity can interact with the internet. Somewhere between this research I became fixated on the idea of a religious setting for my final piece. I have now changed this aspect to reflect a more abstract approach to what constitutes spirituality and what better reflects the practice I’ve developed over the past 2 years.
I’ve focused on the simple idea of representing the internet in 3D space. After changing the environment dramatically from previous test shots, I’ve had a lot more success with my VR environment. I decided to look back at my previous works, most notably the ‘Signals’ and ‘Streams’ works I’ve developed. I took this aesthetic and dedicated my time to re-creating it in VR. Below is a small screen recording of the environment. My overall dream of texturising each line with live media has unfortunately been dampened for the final show, but I will continue to work on this after I finish the MA.
There is a lot of work to be done, but this better represents where I hoped the digital side of my piece would be at this stage.
I’ve been thinking about how my linear work can better represent structured personal space. Taking inspiration from physical architecture seemed like the best way to go about this. Above is a structure i’ve put together to show a more architectural, habitable structure than those I’ve worked on before. This mix of physical architecture and digital abstraction I feel establishes the balance I’m looking for.
I’m pleased with how these pieces have gone. I’ve taken on board the feedback from my Unit 1, which is to steer my focus to create more abstract work. I’m open to doing this, and feel there has been success in these areas, though I’m still very set on having elements of representation embedded within these compositions.
I’ve continued playing with projectors on the surfaces of architectural designs. (In Blender). As I’m trying to texturise 3d Models with online media (most likely screen captured videos of news channels), I’ve been testing its potential. These are the second round.
I’ve finally started a physical version of the digital drawings I worked on earlier the year. I’m loosely basing it on a few of my previous pieces, but I’m trying to allow the process to dictate the composition. Beforehand, I’ve thought that having a detailed and structured plan was important, but the outcome of this continued to vary, so instead with this piece, im giving in to my instincts and seeing how it plays out.
Having recently framed a few of the earlier Signals works, (everything changes in a frame) I was pleased and excited by their outcome. Conceptually, there is an element of architecture to these voids, and their erratic nature gives an impression of the digital landscape but at the same time they lack a narrative. This is of course contradictory to my interest in revealing the narrative through the viewers presence, but you could argue that each viewer would have their own narrative of the compositions (like any art). Then again, with no revealed narrative and instead simply abstract contortions of lines, it becomes a classic example of justifying contradiction and curbing narrative to fit the practice.
Nonetheless, for this piece I’m letting the process create the work. The narrative and concept has been set throughout the MA.
Below I’ve attached 4 newly framed prints from earlier this year.
I’m interested in distorting the lines with a frosted Perspex over the top of the canvas, to give a more screen like impression. (I’d love to add lighting to this piece but I’m open to change).
Jon Rafman’s first solo show at the Zabludowicz was a montage of internet culture in a space that forced the audience to interact. There was an enormous sense of claustrophobia, whilst watching many of the films. it certainly captured the strangling element of life on the internet, as well as the barrage of imagery and its interchanging narrative.
Many of the works were very engaging in this respect, however, as someone incredibly interested in the Oculus Rift, (and in general just VR), experiencing Rafman’s virtual reality piece was really eye opening.
FINALLY I tried the hardware, and was in no way disappointed. Experiencing the animation secured my hopes for the medium. It really is entirely engaging, and gives the user the cinematography role. I can imagine that these early day films, games, animations and artworks will give an impression of its potential. Its the devices’ shift into search engines, interactive websites, social media, online shopping etc. that I’m particularly interested in. For a first time VR experience, Rafman’s piece is brilliant.
Last Thursday, I showed some new work at an event for Task Systems and Pantone. The theme was Colour in Design, which gave me a starting point outside my comfort zone.
Here are some images:
These are some pretty terrible photos of the display, however I’m waiting for the photographer to get back to me with the high-res ones.
This gives an idea of the layout.