Reflect and Research

Vistesis II

440px-Caspar_David_Friedrich_-_Wanderer_above_the_sea_of_fog.jpg

 

Computer generated imagery is all around us. Whilst it is still a relatively young technology, it is slowly becoming a part of many areas of the arts, even photography. I intend to examine the way this technology impacts on the idea of the landscape and examining the isolating nature of these images, using VR technology.

 

NOTICE TO TUTORS

This is the link to the piece I will be presenting

The Work so Far

At the end of reflect and research I had produced a series of landscapes, using 3D modelling software and found images to create them. Bellow are some examples, of the images created, though not all made the final edit.

Following on from the end of Reflect and Research I have continued producing pseudo VR using 360 stereoscopic images, for use with headsets such as google cardboard. Such as the one below which I used to test out the idea for the interim show, and with the Christmas exhibition at plant Noma

 360 stereoscopic image of the Birth of Venus

360 stereoscopic image of the Birth of Venus

The style of this layered image is necessary for the stereoscopic effect to work, the effect is similar to the old stereoscopic viewers, used in the victorian era or the popular toy from the70s/80s the view master, where still images were positioned in front of a small pair of lenses and the viewer could then adjust this distance to get a sharp image.
The two photographs/mages were take a small distance apart, to mimic the human eyes.

360 Stereograms

 By ThePassenger [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons  View-Master device circa 1962

By ThePassenger [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

View-Master device circa 1962

 View-Master Reel of Toronto

View-Master Reel of Toronto

The view-Master and the current VR headsets for use with a mobile device, are a development of the Stereoscopic viewer. The Stereoscopic viewer, originated in the 19th century, where most middle and Upper-class households would have had one. They were used for viewing anything from images of famous locations, to images of historical events of the time.

A stereoscope is a device for viewing a stereoscopic pair of separate images, depicting left-eye and right-eye views of the same scene, as a single three-dimensional image.

A typical stereoscope provides each eye with a lens that makes the image seen through it appear larger and more distant and usually also shifts its apparent horizontal position, so that for a person with normal binocular depth perception the edges of the two images seemingly fuse into one "stereo window". In current practice, the images are prepared so that the scene appears to be beyond this virtual window, through which objects are sometimes allowed to protrude, but this was not always the custom. A divider or other view-limiting feature is usually provided to prevent each eye from being distracted by also seeing the image intended for the other eye.

Most people can, with practice and some effort, view stereoscopic image pairs in 3D without the aid of a stereoscope, but the physiological depth cues resulting from the unnatural combination of eye convergence and focus required will be unlike those experienced when actually viewing the scene in reality, making an accurate simulation of the natural viewing experience impossible and tending to cause eye strain and fatigue.
Although more recent devices such as Realist-format 3D slide viewers and the View-Master are also stereoscopes, the word is now most commonly associated with viewers designed for the standard-format stereo cards that enjoyed several waves of popularity from the 1850s to the 1930s as a home entertainment medium.
During the 1950s stereoscopic 3D films were popular, usually, though not restricted to horror and Sci-Fi Films. These offered some advantages and disadvantages to the stereoscopes. The main one being they could be produce as a single image or negative, combining the left and right image into one. This is commonly known as an Anaglyph, though popular during this time, the technology had been around since the mid 19th century. Characterised, by the red and cyan (or any 2 complimentary colours) outlines of the image which could be seen when viewing normally,  and the glasses or goggles used to view them. This mixing of the colours and the glasses, which were simply made from thin card board, with two small coloured acetate lenses, and resticted the viewing of people who wore glasses  along with eyestrain, and the retention of the colours in the field of vision, for a few minutes following their use are two of the disadvantages of this technique. The main advantage though was that these images could be made as film negatives and projected on to the screen allowing large numbers of people to be able to see the image at once.

Anaglyphs

During the 1950s stereoscopic 3D films were popular, usually, though not restricted to horror and Sci-Fi Films. These offered some advantages and disadvantages to the stereoscopes. The main one being they could be produce as a single image or negative, combining the left and right image into one. This is commonly known as an Anaglyph, though popular during this time, the technology had been around since the mid 19th century. Characterised, by the red and cyan (or any 2 complimentary colours) outlines of the image which could be seen when viewing normally,  and the glasses or goggles used to view them. This mixing of the colours and the glasses, which were simply made from thin card board, with two small coloured acetate lenses, and resticted the viewing of people who wore glasses  along with eyestrain, and the retention of the colours in the field of vision, for a few minutes following their use are two of the disadvantages of this technique. The main advantage though was that these images could be made as film negatives and projected on to the screen allowing large numbers of people to be able to see the image at once.

 modern recreation of a pair of 1950s 3D glasses

modern recreation of a pair of 1950s 3D glasses

 1950s audience watching 3D movie

1950s audience watching 3D movie

 Anaglyph image

Anaglyph image

Elizabeth Edwards

Elizabeth Edwards is a British artist, working out of Montreal in Canada, where she is employed as a character artist by games designer ubisoft. Whilst her main work is primarily based in creating characters for games some of here other 'art is purely based in pushing 3D modelling and imagery. 

The above video, made for use with google cardboard was created by Edwards inTilt Brush. unlike a lot of 3D imagery we see, it is not striving for realness. In fact it is subverting what we expect, and instead of presenting a 3D image to us, it is attempting to present a 2D image with in 3D space. whilst this may, at first sound like what we see every day, where we view a printed image on a piece of paper, there is a difference. Tilt Brush is a piece of software developed by google, exclusively for use with the HTC vive and the Oculus Rift. The artist wears the VR head set and using the controllers is able to paint or model their creation in 3D space.
What I find interesting about this work is the fact it tries to subvert the norm and creates the , so it has a very cell shaded look to it, very similar to images created in a vector graphics program such as illustrator. The limited colour palate, as in that sections are presented as solid blocks of colour, with no reflections, texture or gradation in their hue adds to the feeling that you are looking at something unique. It feels as if you are entering a life size pop up book. A piece like this, given the space and the funding needed, could probably be physically made,, but i think the impact of it would be diminished. Here we have an image which is clearly 'fake' and not attempting to be photo realistic, being presented within a different realm, the world of the VR headset. this creates a sense of dislocation and isolation from the real world, which if the object was real and had a tactile element to it, would be lost. 

The Uncanny

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Sigmund Freud

Freud was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis, a clinical method for treating psychopathology through dialogue between a patient and a psychoanalyst. Born to Galician Jewish parents in the Moravian town of Freiberg, in the Austrian Empire. He qualified as a doctor of medicine in 1881 at the University of Vienna.[5][6] Upon completing his habilitation in 1885, he was appointed a docent in neuropathology and became an affiliated professor in 1902.[7] Freud lived and worked in Vienna, having set up his clinical practice there in 1886. In 1938 Freud left Austria to escape the Nazis. He died in exile in the United Kingdom in 1939.

The concept of the Uncanny was elaborated on and developed by Sigmund Freud in his 1919 essay "The Uncanny", which also draws on the work of Hoffmann (whom Freud refers to as the "unrivalled master of the uncanny in literature"). However, he criticizes Jentsch's belief that Olympia is the central uncanny element in the story ("The Sandman"):

The uncanny is the psychological experience of something as strangely familiar, rather than simply mysterious. It may describe incidents where an everyday object or event is encountered in an unsettling, eerie, or taboo context.

The concept of the uncanny was perhaps first fixed by Sigmund Freud in his 1919 essay Das Unheimliche. For Freud, the uncanny's mixture of the familiar and the eerie confronts the subject with unconscious, repressed impulses Expanding on the idea, psychoanalytic theorist Jacques Lacan wrote that the uncanny places us "in the field where we do not know how to distinguish bad and good, pleasure from displeasure", resulting in an irreducible anxiety that gestures to the Real.
Sigmund Freud's essay The Uncanny repositioned the idea as the instance when something can be familiar and yet alien at the same time. He suggested that ‘unheimlich’ was specifically in opposition to ‘heimlich’, which can mean homely and familiar but also secret and concealed or private. ‘Unheimlich’ therefore was not just unknown, but also, he argued, bringing out something that was hidden or repressed. He called it 'that class of frightening which leads back to what is known of old and long familiar.'
The concept has since been taken up by a variety of subsequent thinkers and theorists such as Roboticist Masahiro Mori's "uncanny valley" hypothesis and Julia Kristeva's concept of abjection. We now tend to use the term 'uncanny valley' is also applied to artworks and animation or video games that that reproduce places and people so closely that they create a similar eerie feeling.

 Man Ray  Cadeau  1921, editioned replica 1972  Tate © Man Ray Trust/ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2018

Man Ray
Cadeau 1921, editioned replica 1972
Tate
© Man Ray Trust/ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2018

n the art world the Uncanny is closely linked to CGI work or artists who produce photorealistic images such as paintings etc. such as artist Daniel Adel whose series Folds and Waves, consist of photo realistic oil paintings of crumpled up paper and close up images of waves crashing on the sea.

Daniel Adel

Daniel Adel's series Folds and Waves, consist of photo realistic oil paintings of crumpled up paper and close up images of waves crashing on the sea.

The reason I class these images as uncanny is when we first see them we may assume they are photographs, perhaps artistically lit ones, but our first response is that they are real. Further investigation of these images, we start too feel something is, wrong, almost as if something is missing from them, as we move from the centre of the frame, small visual clues that we pick up on unconsciously highlight that these images are not as real as we first think. 
 

The Uncanny Valley

The concept of the Uncanny valleywas identified by the robotics professor Masahiro Mori as Bukimi no Tani Genshō (不気味の谷現象) in 1970.  The term was first translated as uncanny valley in the 1978 book Robots: Fact, Fiction, and Prediction, written by Jasia Reichardt, thus forging an unintended link to Ernst Jentsch's concept of the uncanny, introduced in a 1906 essay entitled "On the Psychology of the Uncanny." Jentsch's conception was elaborated by Sigmund Freudin a 1919 essay entitled "The Uncanny" ("Das Unheimliche") Mori's original hypothesis states that as the appearance of a robot is made more human, some observers' emotional response to the robot becomes increasingly positive and empathetic, until it reaches a point beyond which the response quickly becomes strong revulsion. However, as the robot's appearance continues to become less distinguishable from a human being, the emotional response becomes positive once again and approaches human-to-human empathy levels. This area of repulsive response aroused by a robot with appearance and motion between a "barely human" and "fully human" entity is the uncanny valley. The name captures the idea that an almost human-looking robot seems overly "strange" to some human beings, produces a feeling of uncanniness, and thus fails to evoke the empathic response required for productive human–robot interaction.

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Actroid

Repliee Q2 and the predecessor Repliee Q1, are a type of android Known as an Actroid (a merging of actress and android)
is a type of android with strong visual human-likeness. It was first unveiled at the 2003 International Robot Exhibition in TokyoJapan. Several different versions of the product have been produced since then. In most cases, the robot's appearance has been modelled after an average young woman of Japanese descent. It can mimic such lifelike functions as blinking, speaking, and breathing. The "Repliee" models are interactive robots with the ability to recognise and process speech and respond in kind.Internal sensors allow Actroid models to react with a natural appearance by way of air actuators placed at many points of articulation in the upper body, but movement in the lower body is limited. The operation of the robot's sensory system in tandem with its air powered movements make it quick enough to react to or fend off intrusive motions, such as a slap or a poke. Artificial intelligence gives it the ability to react in a different way to more gentle kinds of touch, such as a pat on the arm.

The movements and the general appearance of the actroid, attempt to convince us that we are interacting with a real person. But subtle non-verbal cues, or the lack of them in some cases create a feeling of disconcertment. This can be down to simple things that we wouldn't notice normally, or realise are wrong, such as blink rate, eye contact, or subtle movements of the body whilst sat down. but we unconsciously pick up on these visual clues, this in part also shows why people have fear of dolls and clowns, due to the fact we are unable to pick up on subtle non-visual cues.

HYPERREALITY

Jean Baudrillard writings which focus on the ideas of simulation and the hyperreal, are particularly suited to this authors piece of writing. His 1981 treatise, Simulacra and Simulation is a work I was familiar with and from this saw the possible applications of these theories this authors own research. Looking at the way images are currently used in advertising and social media, depending upon what they depict, they can be described as either a Simulacra or a Simulation. In the world of product photography, the item shown may be completely created in the computer, with no outside reference to the real world, this is particularly true when concept images are released as part of a campaign. Baudrillard would describe this as a Simulacra 

“The territory no longer precedes the map, nor does it survive it. It is nevertheless the map that precedes

the territory - precession of simulacra - that engenders the territory”  (Baudrillard, 1983:166) Whilst images which have had digital enhancements, from simple colour boosting through to extensive air brushing, would be considered a Simulation, where the actual object or person you are viewing would be what is akin to an imitation of the original.
These theories should fit in well with my research that digital images no matter how original they are, present a unrealistic view of the world, or the figure or system that they represent, This also links to theconcepts of the Hyperreal. These ideas of the hidden nature of photograph have always interested me. much of my work has played with this hidden information, or the layering of data and ideas to create new work. In the past I have returned a couple of times to the the concept of source code and metadata, and how it can influence images. This may be simply as an image which at first glance may appear to be a small quiet Parisian stairway, Whilst Looking at the metadata would prove otherwise.

 

This fundamentally changes your opinion of the image. It may be more involved and be editing of the source code to change the image and how it appears via glitch art. Glitches appear in visual art such as the film A Colour Box (1935) by Len Lye, the video sculpture TV Magnet (1965) by Nam June Paik and more comtemporary work such as Panasonic TH-42PWD8UK Plasma Screen Burn (2007) by  Cory Arcangel
 

 

Baudrillard an Pokémon GO


"The territory no longer precedes the map, nor survives it. It is the map that precedes the territory" (Baudrillard 1988:166)

Many people see video gaming as means to relax, as a diversion, from their daily, lives or a break from reality.  But when that boundary between them becomes blurred, individuals may lose the connection that helps separate the real from the unreal. In a paper produced by the American Psychological Association in 2015, they collected data from a wide range of studies and papers produced between 2005 and 2013 which focused on the ability of video games, to cause violence due to a dissociation between reality and fantasy, it concluded whilst not the primary sauce it was a contributing factor. 

"It is the accumulation of risk factors that tends to lead to aggressive or violent behaviour. The research reviewed here demonstrates that violent video game use is one such risk factor." (APA 2015)

Baudrillard would argue that this was a simulacrum, which he describes as “copies that depict things that either had no original to begin with or that no longer have an original”. Thus the actions are not a mere copy or imitation of the actions seen in the video games but have become their own physical reality or "the Hyper real”

One of the most popular games at the moment is Pokémon Go, for mobile devices. The game thrusts the player into a virtual world, a world, represented by coloured pixels, generating a brightly coloured landscape, whilst exploring in the real world using this virtual word as a map or guide. This digital landscape, whilst having some similarities with our own reality, is completely devoid of a connection. Street names are gone, as are any real indicators of your actual location. All we are given are lines indicating the roads and paths that you can traverse in the game, lines to represent rivers, whilst the rest is simply a vast green plane, all fading off into the distance. 

Pokémon Go Map screen

Locations that are considered of importance, such as churches, universities, statues and libraries, are represented with in the game environment as gyms or Pokéstops, even then these locations are not represented by images or representations of images which indicate their true nature, they are shown as a mostly generic icon indication their in game use. This detachment from the real world, and lack of any real alignment to the real has the potential to lead players to locations they wouldn’t have normally visited, the game even now warns players to be aware of their surroundings.

Thus the pixelated map of Pokémon go becomes more familiar than the real world. This echoes the ideas expressed, In Simulacrum and Simulation, Baudrillard discusses how we see and relate to the representation of a space and our understanding of it, becomes more real or more familiar than the actual reality “the map precedes the territory” 

References

American Psychological Association (2015) Technical Report on the Review of the Violent Video Game Literature [Online] [accessed 15th December 2016) http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2015/08/technical-violent-games.pdf

Baudrillard J, ed. Mark Poster, ‘Simulacra and Simulations’, Selected writings (Cambridge : Polity, 1988), pp.166-172

Blog post I made for CP2

The Sublime

The theory of sublime art was put forward by Edmund Burke in A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful published in 1757. He defined the sublime as an artistic effect productive of the strongest emotion the mind is capable of feeling. He wrote ‘whatever is in any sort terrible or is conversant about terrible objects or operates in a manner analogous to terror, is a source of the sublime’. The phrase pain is so close to pleasure, is a perfect example of the sublime. The idea that we can achieve happiness by maximising pleasure and minimising pain is both intuitive and popular. The truth is, however, very different. Pleasure alone cannot not make us happy. We need both to help understand the other, and this is one reason the sublime is appealing to us, that sense of danger that is lurking beneath the surface. Standing on the edge of a cliff, taking in a expansive view, but there’s the underlying fear that a step to far in one direction and you will slip and fall. but would the view be the same without it? The history of the critical Sublime goes from the Hellenistic Longinus to Freud and beyond, since Freud’s “the Uncanny” is our modern form of the Sublime. Shelley, who is a touchstone for the lyrical Sublime, remarked that the function of the Sublime was to persuade us to abandon easier for more difficult pleasures. After nearly six decades of writing Longinian criticism, I have learned that the literary Sublime can be exemplified but not defined. Longinus memorably located the Sublime in Homer and in Sappho, but also in the Hellenistic translation of the Hebrew God commanding Creation. In landscape the sublime is exemplified by J.M.W Turner’s sea storms and mountain scenes and in history painting by the violent dramas of Henry Fuseli. The notion that a legitimate function of art can be to produce upsetting or disturbing effects was an important element in Romantic art and remains fundamental to art today. This is something I want to try and capture in my images if possible. The feelings of isolation and loneliness the landscapes give, could be seen as something close to the sublime, while we’ve got the vast beautiful views we’ve got the fear that we are alone, and that anything could happen and no one would know.

John Martin The Great Day of His Wrath (1851-3)

 it was inspired by St John the Divine's fantastic account of the Last Judgement given in Revelation, the last book of the New Testament. Martin's aim in producing this series was highly Romantic: to express the sublime, apocalyptic force of nature and the helplessness of man to combat God's will. Of all Martin's biblical scenes, this presents his most cataclysmic vision of destruction, featuring an entire city being torn up and thrown into the abyss. The Book of Judgement is sealed with seven seals. As each seal is broken, mysterious and terrifying events occur, culminating in the breaking of the sixth seal: and, lo, there was a great earthquake' and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; | And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. | And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. (Revelation 6:12-14). 
Despite the subject matter, off this there is something appealing about it. It creates hearings of uncertainty, and fear. The majesty of the mountains give way into rolling waves of solid rock, crushing any buildings that lie in their wake. Lightning splits the giant boulders which crash towards the dark abyss, and groups of helpless figures tumble inexorably towards oblivion. 

 

Review

Looking at the image I prepared for the reflect and research, there is  sense of isolation in these images, which is interesting, using the VR headsets would emphasise this isolation as we are essentially cutting the viewer of from the outside world with this device and allowing them to explore a new world for themselves, a world where they are looking onto virgin territories, they are untouched by human hands, civilisation or technology hasn’t encroached onto them. But there is also something to be said for this use of a new technology to create these landscapes. As I said in my previous sketchbook if this technology had been available to Ansel Adams or Edward Weston, would they have gone out with their camera, or would they just have stayed at home, and used this software. Probably not, but i'm in a similar position to them, I am now looking at these landscapes through the eyes of new technology. When they were working, the cameras they had were new technology.
In a similar vein, Landscape artists of the 17th century would have been at the edge of this new idea (Landscape painting prior to the 17th century was relegated to the backgrounds of portraits and religious imagery) So we are now looking at how new technologies are influencingthe classical idea of the Landscape.

Art and the Sublime

John constable

John ConstableThe Hay wain, oil on Canvas (1821)

The above image, by constable despite having multiple people in the image, we still get a sense of vastness in the landscape. Looking at this from the classical aesthetics views there are elements of the Sublime in this image. Initially our eye is drawn to the cart in the stream, and from there, tree directly above it with its branches drifting to the right leads our eyes into the soft white fluffy clouds. All is calm and peaceful. Then as our gaze naturally drifts to the left from the sharp contrast in colours of the clouds, we begin to see the dark forbidding storm clouds creeping across the horizon. We are then cast in to this feeling of awe, terror and danger, classical elements of Edmund Burke's Philosophical Enquiry (1757) depiction of the Sublime.

Casper David Friedrich

 Casper David Friedrich - Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog 

Casper David Friedrich - Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog 

Friedrichs image is the epitome of the lonely man in the Sublime landscape, the threatening nature of the landscape yet still holding a majesty and wonder for us. Despite the figure in the landscape we tend not to see him as part of it, we become him and sense his isolation

Test Images

Of these images 2 and 3/5 are the ones that are closest to the aesthetic I', thinking of. 
Number 1 is too dark, and would not work well in VR, if I were presenting it as a still image I would probably pick this, along with 4. Number 4 whilst fully realised, and close to what i want in lighting would again be a nightmare in VR as the sea (yes it's the ocean) would need animating. 
With regards to the others I would like to attempt them but with closer lighting to number 4

Loving Vincent

 Loving vincient, Movie poster

Loving vincient, Movie poster

Whilst considering many different ideas for images to use I found myself watching this film. 2017 experimental animated biographical drama film about the life of painter Vincent van Gogh, and in particular, the circumstances of his death. It is the first fully painted animated feature film

The film is presented in the style of one of VanGogh's paintings. the texture of the brushwork visible in the film, and uses popular paintings by VanGogh as the source for scenes.

The film has, if you know the paintings, a sense of familiarity. It also has a feeling of immersion somewhat, especially when you see creations coming to life.

Test 2

left.jpg

After watching the film Loving Vincent I suddenly, saw the possibility and excitement of being able to step inside a painting. The above image was produced using Wanderer above the Sea of Mist by Casper David Fredrick, as I feel it epitomises the idea of the sublime, as well as showing ideas and feelings of loneliness. This image is no where near finished. Currently I think it shows the feeling of emptiness and isolation I am looking for, but not so much the feeling of the sublime I want to invoke. Whilst it has the craggy rocks reminiscent of this style of landscape, it doesn't have that danger brewing underneath to qualify it as truly sublime.

Interim Show

Looking back on the experience, I feel there are areas that I can work on.  It is now clear that I could have pre-empted issues such as failure of technology, paperwork issues, and logistical issues surrounding the install. I am actually quite grateful that these issues happened now, rather than before the degree show, and it also gives me more knowledge for any exhibitions I may curate in the future, such as the two I have mentioned previously. The main point I found from this, is that I am going to have to get my work into unity for this to work. Wether or not I will need a PC to do this is something i will have to look into. For this piece I decided initially to use Steam and use an app for viewing the work via Youtube. Unfortunately this program does not run well on a Mac and during testing was extremely unstable, with the connections between device and computer dropping randomly. This is not something I want to happen in any kind of exhibit, so I ultimately decided to use a VR Box head set and a QR code the viewer can scan with their phone, and slide into the headset to view. 
I was also not happy with the set up, I don't think the screen added anything to the piece, perhaps I also need to involve sound some how to create a sense of immersion as I don't know if it was managed
The review with Pippa was an excellent experience. I gained useful ideas about my work, and the direction of it. I was also mollified somewhat over the fact to the casual viewer that the piece doesn’t seem very photographic in nature, with Pippa telling me that at her gallery the concepts and the use of found images in its creation, would class it as a photographic piece. I found Pippa to be an excellent critic of my work, she was also open to others making comments and suggestions during the review, something I do enjoy doing, though I’m sure some of my peers wish I wouldn’t do it all the time.

Screen Shot 2018-05-24 at 19.28.07.png
Screen Shot 2018-05-24 at 19.28.15.png

360 VR piece from interim show

Skies

My first experiment's around this concept were based upon the shape of the horizon line in landscape images. The idea was based around using 3D modelling software such as Blender, Maya, etc creating a path, similar to the paths you can create in Photoshop using the pen tool), based on the shape of the horizon in a photograph, and then adding a cylinder or abstract shape along this path to create an abstract 3D model, which then could be 3D printed as a sculpture.
 

 Clouds test 1 simple low lieing 

Clouds test 1 simple low lieing 

whilst these cards appear OK, they do not feel very menacing, or in-keeping with the sublime. Despite the dark nature of the landscape, these clouds seem to lift it up some what and make it much less threatening than it actually is

 Clouds test 2, low lying more coverage

Clouds test 2, low lying more coverage

slightly more in the sublime nature, and i like the effect of the light on the ground, but are there to many? and parts of them seem too soft
Also both seem to white and bright to be storm clouds 

 cloud test 3

cloud test 3

Number of clouds reduced and hight risen, so not covering mountains, colours changed to more resemble rain clouds, slightly happier with this but, they may need to be more wide spread as they seem to be situated over one spot.

cloud test 5a .jpg

Variation of test 3, more attention played to the colour of the sky and clouds, and they are distributed a little more even. The bolt of lightening was just an idea, though I think it may be too gimiki. I feel currently this is at a bit of a standstill, I may revisit this at a later date

Pat Flynn

Whilst considering 3D modelling I have looked at the work of Pat Flynn, who's work, I have examined before. Whilst looking at his website I came across a series of images, featured bellow. These digital images appear to represent landscapes, though highly pixilated

There seems to be very little information on this series, the only reference to them are on his website, though no series title is given. These digital images appear to represent landscapes, though highly pixilated, almost like satellite images, coming into focus, or something akin to Mishka Henner's Dutch Landscapes.

 Mishka Henner - Unknown site Noordwijk aan Zee (2011)

Mishka Henner - Unknown site Noordwijk aan Zee (2011)

They are all titled the same way 'Untitled ( xxxxx) where xxxxx is the name of a geographical location. These stylistic landscapes, attempt to show a connection to a real world place by their titles. with such a stylistic rendering, the question is raised are the titles actually needed, as people may not even recognise the place names, perhaps something more abstract such as map references or latitude and longitude figures. The images can play with many ideas, such as our reliance on digital technology, how photography works within a digital age along with concepts like Baudrillard's. I really like the ideas that these landscapes conjure up, almost like satellite images, or google Maps/earth as it's zooming in and slowly coming into focus.

Jon Rafman

Digital artist Jon Rafman is best known for his work around Google Street View, which he approaches as a repository of images that bring to the fore the relationship between technology and human experience. He collects the bizarre and beautiful sights captured by the nine lenses on Google Street View camera cars as they photograph scenes around the world.

His current ongoing project is called Brand New Paint Job. in this he takes modernist paintings, like those from Francis Bacon, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Marc Chagall, Jasper Johns, Yves Klein, and Willem De Kooning, and completely wraps rooms with them. Of course, these aren't any ordinary rooms, they're 3D models taken from Google 3D Warehouse, an online gallery that allows users of Google Sketchup, a free 3D modelling program, to upload to and share their works.

Whilst visually our works are vastly different there are some similarities, in the fact we both use 3D models, and found images of paintings, in Rafman's case it is used as a texture/image overlay on the 3D models, in mine they are used to actually generate the terrain. This work gets us to question what art actually is in the modern world. It plays on the idea, that an artists piece of work  just becomings a piece of interior design, similar to how i see mine questioning the idea of the landscape within modern art

Abstract Landscapes

Abstract landscapes this may seem an odd choice, considering I am attempting to strive for realism, but I do see some connections. I am using a non traditional method for generating them, (though the same could have been said for photography when it first started). Early abstract artists used the landscape as a way of to convey their rapidly evolving methods. It is often found that a lot of abstract artists, or those using non traditional techniques, have a love or understanding of science, which is true for me. The fact that both have close relations to the natural world, or reflect the development of society is not unusual. For Me I love technology, and the way it can advance us as a society, but i also question if technology goes too far? considering the level of consumer and prosumer level software available. Many of us believe that more knowledge is better than less knowledge, and by understanding the laws of nature better from a scientific perspective, can more fully express their creative side. Obviously we have artists such as Michaelangelo and Leonardo Davici, but another is Hans Hofman.

two abstract landscapes by Debra Ramsey and Tom McGlynn (Whilst these may not be relevant to my current piece, I can see them being useful as a future developmental idea, and as such I feel they are worthy of being included, after all I see this journal to be a point for future reference.)

Hans Hofman

Before becoming an artist, Hans Hofmann was proficient in math and science as a child. Born in 1880 in Bavaria, one of his first jobs at age 16 was with the government, working for the Ministry of the Interior. He earned a reputation there as an innovator and even received several patents, including one for a calculation device called an electromagnetic comptometer.But by age 19 he felt inspired to pursue art, and had his own apartment in Munich and was studying painting under the tutelage of Moritz Heymann, a German Impressionistic painter. Between 1899 and 2004, he moved to more than a dozen different addresses in Munich and studied art from multiple different teachers. During this time he also had the fortune of meeting two people who changed his life forever for the better. One was Maria Wolfegg, who he called Miz, and who would eventually become his wife. The other was Philipp Freudenberg, a wealthy department store owner. Freudenberg was impressed by the skill Hofmann displayed as an artist and became his patron, providing him and Miz the resources to live in Paris for ten years, from approximately 1904 to 1914.

 Hans hofman, Rossignal, 1963, Oil on canvas

Hans hofman, Rossignal, 1963, Oil on canvas

"…there are greater things than the object. The greatest thing is the human mind;”
“Being inexhaustible, life and nature are a constant stimulus for a creative mind;”
“The whole world, as we experience it visually, comes to us through the mystic realm of color;” and,
“In nature, light creates the color. In the picture, color creates the light.

three quotes by Hans hoffman

Again looking at the above image, whilst it may not be to everyones liking, I do like it for the texture the way the paint is layered almost haphazardly across the canvas, making the actual painting it's self, rather than the image a landscape

Joan Fontcuberta

Fontcuberta is a photographer, who utalises digital technology to create, as he calls it Landscapes without Memory. The software is used by film and TV for backdrops as well as military training. He takes well known landscapes images and paintings, such as those by Constable and Ansel Adams, to provide the software with a displacement map 

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These images create a new landscape from the very data contained within the originals, enabling the originals to give birth a new and exciting realm. The images are akin to the concept of the 'Uncanny Valley'. Whilst this is usually applied to 3D images of people, we can apply it to Fontcuberta's images above, in particular the top one. The image whilst being very photo realistic, the image does have a certain quality that does make you question how real it is. The scene itself appears to be 'to perfect' and unlike something we may see on on earth, or at least something many of us are not used to seeing. This work is something I have found very inspiring, which is a great thing as a couple of times I felt like I wasn't finding anything that excited me. These images created from paintings and photographs of landscapes, seem to challenge the very idea of what the artist is actually creating, is he creating a piece of work for all time or are they creating something which is merely a springboard for future artists, to base their ideas? It also raises questions such as is digital technology surpassing other forms of art, now we can create images such as these with technology, we can even create animations of actors or dancers, which are very realistic?
This is a concept I am finding more and more exciting as i think about it.

 

Unity 1

Unity is a cross-platform game engine developed by Unity Technologies, which is primarily used to develop both three-dimensional and two-dimensional video games and simulations for computers, consoles, and mobile devices. As such it wis the recommended utility for creating work for VR, especially for the oculus rift or the HTC Vive headsets. After the interim show I have decide that I would like to get my model/landscape into the VR headsets so people can navigate around them easier.
Unfortunately the Software I use to create the landscapes, Terragen, is not natively compatible with Unity. But I will try to find work arounds to this.
 

Unity 2

It seems the incompatibility, is down to Terragen using what is know as procedural textures (textures created using mathematical patterns). by removing these textures and just having the base mesh ( the basic form) it will import in to Unity, I will have to then recreate textures in there. It's more work but hopefully it's possible

Unity 3

Terragen file opened in Unity

The File has now opened in Unity, It has been broken in to pieces as can be seen from the orange lines, the image also appears softer when compared to the native Terragen image, but that may be down to the lack of textures and that this is a low quality shaded version, optimised for modelling etc.
My Macs seem very slow running this software and i'm worried that it may struggle during the degree show, and after speaking to the Mac help bar apparently despite Unity being available for mac, it isnt really capable of running the VR software needed to get the HTC Vive or Oculus rift running at normal speed, with out any kind of lag. I would need to use a high end gaming PC, which at the cost of around £1000 I really can't afford. So I have emailed the head of department for computer gaming design etc at MMU
 

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Joan Fontcuberta 2

Taryn Simon

For me the most interesting part is Taryn Simon's discussion of her work "An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar" (2007) Her website describes it as
"[An] inventory of what lies hidden and out-of-view within the borders of the United States. She examines a culture through the documentation of subjects from domains including: science, government, medicine, entertainment, nature, security, and religion."
Considering the time this work was created, the book was published in 2007, but the photographs were taken between 2001 and 2007. Started in the aftermath of the September 11 attack on the World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon. 
The most interesting part concerns the text which accompanies each image

The naming of my images and the accompanying text is interesting to consider. How much info do I give the viewer? Do I just put the title? Do I include a reproduction of the piece? Do I give detailed information about the techniques I've used?

 

Confronting the divide between those with and without the privilege of access, Simon’s collection reflects and reveals that which is integral to America’s foundation, mythology, and daily functioning.

Pipilotti Rist

One of the artists I looked at was Pipilotti Rist. She is a visual artist who works with video, film and moving images. She often displays her work as projections. Her pieces are presented in a variety of environments, with different materials being used as a medium to receive her projections, but with many of them completely surrounding the viewer.

 Oil Painting Submarine

Oil Painting Submarine

Oil painting submarine is presented on the walls of a plush reception room, which shows echos of the camera obscura work of Abelardo Morell

 

Her 2009/2011 work 'Bremer Lungenflügel' and 2014 work "Worry Will Vanish horizon" again features large projections on the walls, that immerse the viewer. Though this time it is in a more neutral environment, in this case a plain room, with the floor festooned with pillows and cushions for the viewers to lie on. Though her projection surfaces are not limited to flat walls she also uses pieces of hanging fabric singular and in layers to project her work on to. Each one creating a different effect which encompases the viewer into a new world.

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Her work plays with ideas of gender, sexuality, and the human body, though it can be seen to look at the idea of how art interacts with it's environment. In some cases the walls are specially prepared, clean flat services, other times it's a wall in a gallery or stately home, which has it's own art work on the walls, such as in oil painting submarine. This presents an interesting dichotomy, similar to the discussion of ownership presented in the post on Sharon Core. In this case we also need to consider, the fact that one piece of art is not only being displayed along side, other works of art as in a traditional gallery, but it also covers and obscures the art work already there. We could see this as a form graffiti, though in this situation in a non destructive way. Even so it still raises the point of which work of art is more important? The projection, is covering the more traditional paintings, perhaps in a hierarchy of importance? The idea of developing technologies can also work with this. The projection of video is a new technology which is a form of moving still images, so can be seen as a successor of the still paintings.
Her work also is projected, with in the confines of the space. Using the corners and shape of the room to effect the viewer experience. This is a very basic form of projection mapping, which uses the very structure of a space to even more effect.

Whilst I like the idea, it's not something I think I'd be able to pull off well, and I probably wont be able get the space for the Degree show, though I really like the immersive nature  of the work

Grass Tests

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Sound

I think the use of sound would greatly work in creating the immersive experience I want

Whilst these sounds are similar to what i want I don't think any is particularly strong on it's own. I think a mix of 2-3 of them would be best. The White noise, I think is probably the least successful of all. Originally i was going to use this as the main sound but after listening to it, I really can't get used to the idea. I also considered, using narration of some kind, but due to the fact, my voice sounds just  weird speaking, and I couldn't find narration, that didn't make it seem cheesy, or like i was spoon feeding the information to the viewer i went with a simply (ish audio track)

Sound Mix

Alternative Landscapes

To help create interesting landscapes, I looked at artists, who create them in slightly different ways than you would first think. I wanted to get away from the use of photographs etc

Man Ray Dust on Glass Plate 

 Man Ray - Dust on a glass plate

Man Ray - Dust on a glass plate

This piece by Man-Ray is an image of the dust that had collected on a glass photographic plate over 12 months. The plate was owned by Duchamps. It's interesting how the dust particles, and the length of exposure (2 hours) soften and smooth the image and give the image an almost tilt shift effect, this confuses the scale of the image giving rise to the idea that it could be an ailien landscape.

James Nasmyth

Nasmyth created detailed plaster models of the moons surface taken directly from his observations with a telescope (technology wasn't good enough to enable him to photograph them) He then photographed them in such a way that he played with viewers perception and gave the impression that they were actual lunar landscapes with rocks and mountains that towered over you. This I guess is similar to the ideas and method that Fontcuberta, and myself have followed by taking image/data, and converting it into a landscape, and attempting to present it in as realistic as a way possible

Unity 4

I have received no reply from my emails to the game development department at MMU, therefore, with time being what it is I will have to try alternative methods of presenting my work, as the price of a computer is out of my means.

Instillation ideas

Since I can not use the vive headsets anymore, I have looked at other methods of presenting it. Initially before I knew i couldn't use the Vive, I had prepared a risk assessment for it, and due to the staffing nature needed it was decided that having set times for it would be best. I there fore decided to make a small video piece, that could be shown in between those, times. I did briefly consider using a video piece instead of the VR, but I wasnt happy with it, It would have taken too long to render out 2-3 hours per frame, and a minimum of 24 frames per-second. 
Also it is now too late to obtain a large screen to show it on, but for posterity (if anyone in the future feels the need to see my struggles as an artist I present the video here

This is an older example of what I was intending to produce, but using the landscape instead. Whilst I like this idea and it does give an illusion of depth, the fact it would end up a continuous loop, as this is created from a flat image and projected into a 3d space in Adobe After Effects. I think it actually works slightly better at times than the latest version.

 

 

Mat Collinshaw

Mat Collinshaw restaged a 1839 exhibition by Fox Talbot, where he first presented his photographic prints. The difference this time is the exhibition was entirely in virtual reality (VR) Through the use of headsets such as the oculus rift, Visitors were able to explore the space, and more importably, interact with it. Through the use of external influences which complement the images seen through the VR headsets

Thresholds 

Guardian Article on Mat Collinshaw and Thresholds

Final Install Plan

It seems that, I am going to have to fall back on the way I presented this piece during the interim show, using a VR viewer and a mobile device. Unlike in the interim show I will not be using a QR code for visitors to scan instead I will be sealing a mobile phone into the headset, that will look the video. The hand set should have around 40 hours on a full charge and will probably need plugging in overnight/when not being used. I would rather this than have it constantly plugged in, as it would be restricting to viewers. The headset, which also has a pair of headphones attached, will be placed on a simple plinth. I think the less 'set dressing' the better In hindsight this version may be better as there isn't the need for a PC, no need for invigilators to be present all the time, and reduced risk of injury.

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