Digital Media Art Project: Inspiration and Intention
Defining the Digital Media Art Project
During the definitions of the Digital Media Art Project (PMAD) we were asked to define two important aspects: Inspiration and Intention.
One way of doing this is following the three axis of the a/r/cographic scheme, that is, defining what we expect for our PMAD in terms of function (ranging from conformist to disruptive), skill (ranging from ineptitude to mastery) and aesthetics (ranging from indifferent to passionate). These three axis, let us remember, define a three-dimensional space in which we can position a PMAD according to the a/r/cographic methodology (de Veiga, 2019).
First of all, I would like my PMAD to represent a different way of doing things. Meaning, that I point to have a disruptive rather than a conformist function. What is this disruption based on?
Ironically (for a digital media art project), this disruption is based on the denial of digital technology. Well, not a full and frontal denial, but a temporary detachment: we take a step side, we reflect, and then we come back to be all our way within the digital medium.
Let me explain myself better: this research is focused on the Hybrid Immersive Models (HIM). A HIM is a mixture of physical and digital media composed of: a spherical perspective drawing (an anamorphosis), a virtual environment, and a physical polyhedron (e.g. a sphere or a cube).
Both the virtual environment and the physical polyhedron are created from the original drawing. In turn, the drawing can be physical or digital, but it has the primary characteristic of being created methodically by the draftsman, i.e. not obtained automatically by an algorithm, but thought out and constructed element by element through logical relations and deductions.
Panoramas within the digital
In the (purely) digital process, a panoramic picture can be created (for example) by the following workflows:
- Creation of a 3D model -> Automated generation of the panorama
- Collection of points with a laser scanner -> Positioning of the points within a 3D matrix -> Projection to an observation centre -> Automated generation of the panorama
In both cases, the artist will most likely not understand how the panoramic image was generated. Although this is not something bad (we do need to know about microelectronics to use the computer!), one implication of this is that by the moment in which the trusted software goes out of circulation, the artist may find himself as a tool-dependent-artist.
Panoramas within HIM
On the other hand, on a HIM the panoramic image is created element by element, using a different way of thinking: whoever builds a panorama does it thinking about its components, relating, grouping, manipulating and understanding them. A guarantee of this is that what is not understood from a spherical perspective results evident in the virtual product.
A HIM is a process that forces* logical thinking, spatial understanding and the correlation between a certain space and its representation. In other words, a HIM gathers the analogy between the model that the person has in the mind and the immersive visual result of its representation. If you want to learn more about handmade panoramas you can read this entry.
This research aims to investigate how a HIM is thought, nurtured and positioned from and among the concepts of digital art itself. The very genesis of a HIM is associated with computer technology, since without the digital it would not be possible to create, visualise, or create the virtual environment or other essential components of a HIM. In other words, we are not dealing with the digitisation of an existing analogue process, but with a model that is native to both the physical and digital domains.
*A small note: this “forcing” situation is actually during the first phase, like when one learns to drive a car. After the mechanism has been incorporated, one does not “think” about it as much, and one can release more of one’s “creative libertarian drive”. It is clear that not all of us are obliged to think, but not all of us are obliged not to think either.
As for the skill axis, I aim for the PMAD to cover the full length of the axis. That is to say, I expect to cover the needs and expectations of both those who fully understand how spherical perspectives work, as well as those who are seeing them for the first time. This is an ambitious goal, but a likely one, since what the artefact should have is an interactive form of visualisation that shows the correspondence between what happens in the flat drawing and the virtual environment. Therefore, a new user who “plays” at drawing will begin to understand the basic principles from the practice itself. Instead, the advanced user will know already what to do, and it will go to the maximum of what the PMAD can give.
Finally, on the aesthetic axis, I am all fire and passion as artist, but I am also a slow burner one. Therefore, I would like the PMAD to be supported by a striking, colourful, electric, but smoothly paced visual experience, where images flow “at a human pace” (like walking through a forest) rather than “at a breakneck pace” (like trailers).
In this sense, the interaction with the virtual environment will be fundamental, as it stimulates the person to “be within the art”. For this, I draw inspiration from projects that I have already mentioned in this post, such as “Sketching in Space”, which solve excellently well what I have in my head for my PMAD, although they do it with pure digital technology.
The PMAD that we are exploring (and discovering) begins to be less than a nebulous definition. Some objectives and definitions are becoming clearer, such as its function, aesthetic and skill intentions. This, plus the definitions presented at the MIPA (Methodology of Research and Artistic Practice) module, the roadmap to follow is beginning to take shape.
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