Artist Profile: Wickerham & Lomax

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The latest in a series of interviews with artists whose work makes use of or responds to network culture and digital technologies.

Wickerham & Lomax, BOY'Dega: Encore in the AFTALYFE (Season 2) (2014).

JG: DUOX started as a collaboration between the two of you, and collaboration seems completely central to your practice even though you're now working under the name Wickerham & Lomax. You've worked closely with DIS Magazine and other high-profile sponsors, and even the feel of your new work seems deliberately corporate and commercial. What is the shape and direction of this collaboration? Where did DUOX end, and how does Wickerham & Lomax extend?

Lomax: I think aside from using the language of surface which is one of our subjects—appearances, mirrors, screens, reflections, storefronts, sheen—we employ the language of accessibility, and that gets foregrounded explicitly in corporate and commercial imagery which isn't really an idea we investigate but an aesthetic we employ. I think the corporate and commercial for us is really a mask, not an interest.

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Some Sites and Their Artifacts: 123D Catch

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The 123D Catch website promises its users that they can "Turn ordinary photos into extraordinary 3D models;" the resulting models can be shared with other users on the 123D Catch community site. In this video, which premieres on Rhizome, Clement Valla and A.E. Benenson argue that the 3D models of 123D Catch should be understood not as recreations of photographed objects but as records of machine vision: 

Like the junk-piles known as middens to archaeologists, the 123D Catch site paradoxically conserves its objects at the moment of their fragmentation.

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Prosthetic Knowledge Picks: The Year of the Oculus Rift

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The latest in an ongoing series of themed collections of creative projects assembled by Prosthetic Knowledge. This edition brings together projects that make use of the Oculus Rift, a device that has reignited interest in virtual reality and provided creative inspiration for hackers and artists alike.

 Kim Laughton, Timefly.

Every year, there is usually at least one piece of technology that stands out, that captures the attention of engineers and creatives, that inspires new ideas and makes new experiences possible. At various times in the past, you could have said this in relation to (for example) the Kinect, Arduino, 3D printing, the Processing programming language, or projection mapping software. This year, one piece of tech stood out, one which reinvigorated an idea from the 1980s and 1990s, making it exciting and within the reach of anyone with a computer or console: the Oculus Rift.

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Artist Profile: Harry Sanderson

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The latest in a series of interviews with artists who have developed a significant body of work engaged (in its process, or in the issues it raises) with technology. See the full list of Artist Profiles here.

Harry Sanderson, Human Resolution (2012). Installation view at Arcadia Missa for PAMI, London. Digital video, perspex, monitor.

Harry Burke: Your "Human Resolution" project, which you exhibited as part of PAMI last year in London, comprised of a 3D hologram projector and accompanying sound piece, which translated the body of the viewer standing before it into a glitching but uncannily faithful grayscale projection (3D object). It was an attempt to reinsert the body into ubiquitous computing environments, which are too often conceptualized as immaterial, virtual, or idealist, and to re-emphasise the corporeal within the predominantly visual regimes of these technologies. Do you think it was, in this regard, successful?

Harry Sanderson: I think that rather than reinsert the body or to attempt to repair anything, it was an attempt to exhibit a kind of a lack that occurs when something is represented in that sort of way. There is a common conception that images work on a flat plane, for example in a regular movie file, and this was an attempt to show how imaging technologies are moving beyond that into something that actually apprehends physical space. It wasn't just a grayscale projection but it had depth; it would turn and you would see that it understood the contours of your body in a way that's much more physical. 

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Prosthetic Knowledge Picks: Computational Photography

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The latest in an ongoing series of themed collections of creative projects assembled by Prosthetic Knowledge. This edition brings together works dealing with computational photography, featuring new technologies which may alter the experience, relationship, and even definition of "the image."
 
The digital eye is an ubiquitous feature of current portable technology—webcams, DSLRs, mobile phones, tablets, even MP3 players. The Black Mirror-like ability to capture a moment and share it on social networks has shifted image recording from the creation of discrete analog mementos to an ongoing process of self-identification.

There are, however, new possibilities opening up around the next generation of mediated experiences. Of course, the artistic possibilities are tremendous, but the implications are far greater for many fields which may be struggling with their digital upkeep. From advertising to fashion, art to pornography, the photograph will not be "flat" anymore. The image can be seen from any angle, from the swipe of a touchscreen or drag from a mouse, or explored step-by-step with a headset and motion detector. "Photoshopping" will be 3D. It is not only industry-class endeavours that will change, as depth-sensing is now smaller and portable, and could give the (word-of-the-year contender) selfie an added dimension. Will the Facebooks or Flickrs support this new format? Or will another contender arise to facilitate a new process of creative self-identification?

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Datamoshing the Land of Ooo

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Screenshot of work in progress, David OReilly, "A Glitch is a Glitch" (2013). Episode of the television series Adventure Time.

David OReilly is a 3D animator’s 3D animator. Embracing a stripped-back aesthetic that foregrounds the very processes of animation on which it subsists, OReilly—whose past short films include the award-winning "The External World" (2011) and "Please Say Something" (2009)—is recognized as much for his astute grasp of dark, abstract comedy as for his unique approach to visual design. Drawing on glitch aesthetics, underground Japanese Manga and the most parasitic of Internet memes, OReilly forges original compositions from the debris of contemporary culture.

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Prosthetic Knowledge Picks: The 3D GIF

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Sample from Animated GIF in 3D

A collection of examples from the Prosthetic Knowledge Tumblr archive and around the web on experiments which take the familiar animated GIF format and take it out of its 2D origins.

This has been a good year for the Animated GIF— not only has it reached its 25th birthday, it has also become America's word of the year according to Oxford Dictionaries USA. It has been one of the internet's most creative canvases since it's availability, whether it has been employed in early homegrown HTML pages, to communities such as B3ta, YTMND, 4Chan and others. From it's continued popularity, some creatives have explored ways to take the animated GIF into new contexts. Here are a few examples:

GIFPumper

 
 
 

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The Universal Texture

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Images via Clement Valla.

These artists (...) counter the database, understood as a structure of dehumanized power, with the collection, as a form of idiosyncratic, unsystematic, and human memory. They collect what interests them, whatever they feel can and should be included in a meaning system. They describe, critique, and finally challenge the dynamics of the database, forcing it to evolve.1

I collect Google Earth images. I discovered them by accident, these particularly strange snapshots, where the illusion of a seamless and accurate representation of the Earth’s surface seems to break down. I was Google Earth-ing, when I noticed that a striking number of buildings looked like they were upside down. I could tell there were two competing visual inputs here —the 3D model that formed the surface of the earth, and the mapping of the aerial photography; they didn't match up. Depth cues in the aerial photographs, like shadows and lighting, were not aligning with the depth cues of the 3D model.

The competing visual inputs I had noticed produced some exceptional imagery, and I began to find more and start a collection.  At first, I thought they were glitches, or errors in the algorithm, but looking closer, I realized the situation was actually more interesting — these images are not glitches. They are the absolute logical result of the system. They are an edge condition—an anomaly within the system, a nonstandard, an outlier, even, but not an error. These jarring moments expose how Google Earth works, focusing our attention on the software. They are seams which reveal a new model of seeing and of representing our world - as dynamic, ever-changing data from a myriad of different sources – endlessly combined, constantly updated, creating a seamless illusion.

3D Images like those in Google Earth are generated through a process called texture mapping.... 

 

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Rebecca Allen's 3D Graphics for Kraftwerk

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Geeta Dayal interviews Rebecca Allen, who created computer graphics for the video for “Musique Non Stop” and other 3d work: 

Creating the milestone video, which made Allen a major force behind the German band’s visual aesthetic in the ’80s, was a painstaking process that took nearly two years for Allen and her team at the New York Institute of Technology’s Computer Graphics Laboratory to complete.

“Nowadays you can pretty easily digitize a 3-D object,” said Allen in an interview with Wired. “Back then, it was a very crafted process. I would have to put little pieces of tape over the models…. Then you put it in this reference cube, and then point by point you’d digitize.”

In the abstract video, animated heads flash across the screen. It took hundreds of hours just to get the colors exactly the way Allen wanted them. (See behind-the-scenes photographs of the creative process in the exclusive gallery above.)

“There’s so much involved — not just the color, but then you had to get the lighting … and it’s on some crummy TV, ultimately,” said Allen, now a design professor at UCLA. “But that’s the way I am. If you’re an animator, it’s already clear that you’re a fanatic — an obsessive. Anybody who wants to make frames for every second of movement is obviously pretty obsessive about things.”

The attention to detail paid off: The “Musique Non Stop” music video still looks prescient, even today. In Kraftwerk’s recent eight-day stand at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the band made ample use of visuals gleaned from the video. Other pioneering music videos with rendered 3-D graphics sequences — such as Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing,” which won Video of the Year at the 1986 MTV Video Music ...

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Untitled (Standards) (2009) - Michael Guidetti

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Watercolor on canvas with animated digital projection; Approx 3 hour loop [VIDEO]

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