Digital Media Art Project: The Starting Point
This is the first entry aim to document the evolution of my digital media art project. This project is part of the PhD program in Digital Media Art “DMAD” that I’m currently following. Consequently, I will use this digital journal to collect milestones, inspirations, concepts, intentions, advancements, technologies, improvements, etc.
The entries will go forward and back, diving through key concepts. However, they will do it not in a crazy and uncontrolled path, but following the art and communication based research methodology a/r/cography (da Veiga, 2019, p. 335). So, I start explaining the research background and the very first inspiration for the project development.
My research in the field of Digital Art is very new. However, I have previously researched in the field of drawing, focusing in immersive perspectives with applications in design, architecture and engineering (check here a list with my full research). In fact, between 2017 and 2021 I completed a first research PhD in which I developed techniques for handmade immersive drawings. Such drawings have the particularity that can be converted into VR environments.
Important milestones of this research were the first systematic definitions of cubical perspective (Olivero et al., 2019, Araújo et al., 2020). The goal was achieved with the help of my advisors Adriana Rossi and António Bandeira Araújo. Although it keeps going ahead, the investigation settled a transition point almost one year ago with the issuing of “Hybrid Immersive Models from Cubical Perspective Drawings” on March 2021 (Olivero, 2021) (Figure 1).
On the artistic practice
My interest for immersive drawings started during 2017. Back then, I shared classroom giving lessons with Bruno Sucurado in Italy. Meanwhile, Bruno was already practicing these kind of illustrations and introduced me to the equirectangular perspective (Olivero & Sucurado, 2019). So, I got interested in the technique, learned some basic principles, and started to practice it.
After that, I was invited to a cycle of live music presentations at the Godot Art Bistrot, Avellino, Italy (Olivero, 2017). As a result, I started to test spherical anamorphosis within live drawing sessions: I attended a total of four events and produced one equirectangular drawing for each of them (Figure 2).
Figure 2: Live painting session at Godot Art Bistrot, Avellino, Italy, 2017
Toward a digital media art project
By March 2021, my research turned the focus toward digital arts. Henceforth, one of the goals that I have in this field is the study and the development of an artefact (or more than one) focused on the passage from the immersive drawing to the VR environment. In particular, I would like to do such a conversion on-the-fly, which is not currently possible as long as I have researched.
Consequently, the project should allow the artist to do a live drawing performance and show the VR results instantly to the audience. To clarify, behind such a starting point there is the reality that I faced both during my first research and during some exhibitions, for instance “360 Points of View” and “HIMmaterial”, held in Italy and Portugal respectively (Olivero, 2018a, 2018b, Araújo et al., 2019). In any case, I will explain this deeper within the next entries of this diary.
What should the artefact do?
In short, a spherical anamorphosis is a “distorted” drawing. However, such a distortion can be pulled back by wrapping the drawing onto a spherical surface. Moreover, this spherical surface can be either physical or digital. The mix of all these media is what I have called the Hybrid Immersive Model or HIM (Olivero et al., 2019). In particular, if the sphere is digital, then we can place the observer in its centre, and from that point of view the user will notice no distortion at all. Here there is an example.
In other words, to fully appreciate a spherical anamorphosis it is necessary to transmit the correspondence between the “normal view” (seen in VR), and the distorted drawing. As a result, the specialised visitor will have no problems to understand this during the exhibition, but it must be transmitted from the scratch to the non specialised audience (Figure 3). In the latter case, the explanation might result too theoretical and, let’s confess it, sometimes even boring.
During the exhibitions, I spent most of the time explaining one by one what is behind a Hybrid Immersive Model. So, if I would be live drawing, I would not be able to explain what I was doing. On the other hand, if I was explaining, then I couldn’t draw nor talk about any other thing with the visitors. That is to say, that under some point of view the concept of the exhibition could’t be anything else more than the technical development of the spherical perspective. Nevertheless, that is not exactly what I want to show as an artist…!
Figure 3: “HIMmaterial: exploring new hybrid media for immersive drawing and collage” at ARTECH 2019, Braga, Portugal, 2019
Currently, the use of spherical anamorphosis within digital art exhibitions requires a big intellectual effort (both from the artist and the visitors), great oral communication skills, and the presence of the artist for a peer-to-peer communication. Consequently, such a setup limits both the artist and the artworks. However, with the current theoretical developments existing for spherical perspectives in the field of drawing it should possible to find a straightforward way for appreciating these exhibitions. In other words, this digital media art project should bring a new way of experimenting spherical anamorphosis that might release the artist and the audience and, therefore, improve the artworks, the exhibition, and the experience of the audience.
Araújo, A. B., Olivero, L. F., & Antinozzi, S. (2019). HIMmaterial: Exploring new hybrid media for immersive drawing and collage. In P. Arantes, V. J. Sá, P. A. Da Veiga, & F. M. Adérito (Eds.), Proceedings of ACM ARTECH conference (ARTECH2019) (pp. 247–251). ACM Press. https://www.doi.org/10.1145/3359852.3359950
Araújo, A. B., Olivero, L. F., & Rossi, A. (2020). A Descriptive Geometry Construction of VR panoramas in Cubical Spherical Perspective. Diségno, 6, 35–46. https://doi.org/10.26375/disegno.6.2020.06
da Veiga, P. A. (2019). A/r/Cography: Art, Research and Communication. In Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Digital and Interactive Arts. Association for Computing Machinery. https://doi.org/10.1145/3359852.3359859
Olivero, L. F. (2017, October 3). Live art painting sessions [Art Exhibition]. Godot Bistrot, Avellino Italy.
Olivero, L. F. (2018a, January 21). 360 Points of View [Art Exhibition]. Eco Bistrot, Salerno, Italy.
Olivero, L. F. (2018b, October 3). 360 Points of View [Art Exhibition]. Passo Duomo, Salerno, Italy.
Olivero, L. F. (2021). Hybrid Immersive Models from Cubical Perspective Drawings—Modelli Ibridi Immersivi da Disegni in Prospettiva Cubica [PhD Thesis]. University of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli.”
Olivero, L. F., Rossi, A., & Barba, S. (2019). A codification of cubical projection for the generation of immersive models. Diségno, 4, 53–63. https://www.doi.org/10.26375/disegno.4.2019.07
Olivero, L. F., & Sucurado, B. (2019). Analogical immersion: Discovering spherical sketches between subjectivity and objectivity. ESTOA. Revista de la Facultad de Arquitectura y Urbanismo de la Universidad de Cuenca, 8(16), 47–59. https://www.doi.org/10.18537/est.v008.n016.a04