A couple of weeks ago I started building this VR piece for an Academic Support event that will be held on the 11th of May, at the beginning I felt that it was kind of silly to make a sketchbook using VR, after all, it takes a lot of time without and it does not feel like a practical thing to do.
I have to say that after a while I felt that this exercise allowed me to refresh my memory around my practice as I had to go back to look at very old posts, I also felt that it was quite nice to walk around old and recent thoughts although I have to say that I did focus on just one of my projects in order to keep this task simple.
At the moment I feel that I need to spend more time wandering around this space as I have spent most of the time working on it and sorting little challenges like playing a video and replacing one of the VIVE controllers with a flashlight (something I wanted to do for a long time).
I really think that VR allows you to observe your notes from a quite unique perspective and now I am thinking about expanding this little work to include other projects.
Last week I was able to make a video render of the digital model from my landscape #13 piece. As a final touch, I added a soundtrack by Wagner called “Die Walküre”, I selected this musical background because I wanted to make a connection to a piece called “Der Riese”, a video made by artist Michael Klier. In this piece, Michael used the footage from an airport’s surveillance camera and by adding the sound, he created a narrative that was not meant to exist in the original material.
I am quite pleased with the end result. As a painter, it is quite interesting to me to be able to explore a piece from within and I feel this is really changing and expanding my approach to painting and sculpting and now I am trying to reflect on all the things I am subverting within my practice.
The active viewer
By escaping flatness, the image folds and grows on itself, so the gaze of the viewer is challenged by not being able to see everything from a set point of view, at this point, I am aware that not every viewer feels comfortable about this challenge but I also know that this opens a whole bunch of possibilities for the viewer to interact with the piece.
The evolving image
Painting sometimes becomes boring, I have to say that more than one time in the past, I have felt that the piece I was working on, became so familiar, that working on it was as enjoyable as brushing my teeth. Since I started working on 3D paintings, especially on the standalone ones, I feel that I am constantly challenged by them, not only from a technical point of view but also from a perceptual point of view, and I feel that, by not being able to see all the image at once, it keeps changing.
Although I knew that using a sculpture as a canvas was a way to challenge my practice as I needed to constantly adapt due to changes in light and terrain, I was not able to imagine how the piece would actually look from within, I guess I was not aware of how it might actually mutate once I added the artificial lighting, changed the scale and added a floating point of view. Another thing I also discovered is that I could potentially intervene bot
Controlling the gaze
By using a camera that runs through a path, and then rendering a video, I am partially controlling the way the piece is looked at. Of course, one could argue that the viewer is now looking at a video rather than looking at a painting, however, I think that by being confronted with the physical sculpture, both elements become strongly bonded inside the viewer’s mind.
In the VR piece, more control is given to the viewer as he/her is able to move his/her head in any desired direction, however, I still have control over the path that the viewer is following.
Seeing with rhythm
For many years I wanted to add sound to my pieces, although I am not creating it at the moment, I am quite pleased to use this magnificent soundtrack, I believe that this adds a new layer to the piece and allows me to increase the dramatic effect obtained with the flashlight-like lighting.
Things to try in the future
Make an early 3D model or even playing with the concept of two different layers of paint, one will only be visible from within and the other one will be only visible from outside.
Create restricted access areas, forcing the viewer to look from a distance or even prevent him/her from seeing some parts from within or outside the piece.
Plan how the camera could potentially move following different paths.
Last week I was invited by Jennet Thomas to do a 5-week residency at the Print and Time-Based Media Studio, I am really excited about this opportunity as it will be a first for me.
This will be a great opportunity to test some ideas and especially, to keep developing my collaborative skills, I really like the idea of working with BA students and learning to work with them on a project that might lead to an exhibition.
This is an image of the studio I will be placed on.
And this is the poster I am using to promote the Residency.
I also plan to create at least one post for every day I spend at Wimbledon College.
On January, I submitted one piece for a competition, it is called “Portrait of my Wife”, at that moment I struggled with the images as I felt that they were no good, this was partially due to that in the past, I took pictures of flat paintings and now I have to learn how to properly take photos of a 3D object.
Days later I was informed that my submission was not successful, so, After shaking the bad mood, I went back to take a look at the materials I sent, specially the images.
I guess that, because I haven’t seen them in a while, I was able to spot important flaws in the images I submitted, to make it simple, I would say that if somebody does not know my work, he/she will have a lot of trouble to read what my work is about from dose images. This was a breakthrough.
Since that moment I understood that I needed to pay lots of attention to the way I was trying to present my work, specially if they do not know me or my work and if neither my work or me are present for the introductions.
This is why, last week I spend quite a good amount of time on my uni studio, trying to take a good pictures of my latest piece, pictures that might work together to give others enough information to make a decision.
I have to say that it was quite a challenge as I was trying to present both a painting/sculpture and a video.
I have to say that this exercise has raised many questions in my mind regarding the way I document my work, the amount of time I dedicate to this activity and most importantly; am I successful on it?
I must say that I feel challenged, not only by the fact that now I have to document 3D pieces but also that they might exist both physically and digitally.
Last Wednesday I participated in the second session at the Tate Modern, It was a very good experience as I managed to present my work to several people and even engaged some interesting conversations, I also got some good feedback from people that do have a genuine interest towards painting.
Thanks to this experience I do know that my piece is not for everyone, while some people really spend time teleporting themselves and watching carefully, others are expecting to play a game and quit my piece after a short period of time. I am aware that this is partly because the audience of the Tate Exchange is quite broad and with a huge variety of expectations.
When reflecting on how the whole thing is displayed i.e. physical object, VR immersion, and flat screen real-time transmission, I feel that I should get rid of the teleporting feature and replace it for a continuous navegation, at the moment, my solution will be to create a path for the Camera Rig and ask the VR player to sit down and move his/her head to look around, I feel that in this way, I will get a smoother experience for both the VR player and the spectators, I will also gain control on how the piece is viewed, in the future I could find a way to allow the VR player to move smoothly around the piece and zoom in and out on specific parts of it.
I want to add that I was quite surprised to see that some really young kids really enjoyed the experience.
Recently I was accepted on a peer-to-peer event called Pop-up common room, and one of the things we had to do was to read a book called Ways of seeing by John Berger, I did not read the book although now I think is worth to take a look to it, instead, I saw a four-episode collection of videos on youtube.
I have to say that this was a very positive surprise, and I feel that many of the things said by him resonate a lot with my ideas.
There are particular passages on this videos that I am planning to share at the research discussion due on the 9th of March.
The first fragment is about how we see things and how images are manipulated and transformed by the use of the camera to reproduce them, I really feel that there is a strong link with my research paper.
At the end of this same fragment, I found a strong connection with my present practice and how images could be used to create space.
The next fragment gains a huge importance within my current practice as I am able to use still images in combination with a moving camera and even sound. I really like it when he talks about the corridor between the viewer and the painting.
This other little fragment resonates with my idea of the META-IMAGE
This other fragment from episode 4 also enriches my idea of the META-IMAGE
At the moment I am quite interested in two specific topics i.e. spatial metaphors and the Meta-image, Berger has given me wonderful insights about images and the way we use them and abuse them, I think I should take a look at his book and also look for references to other authors that reflect about visual culture.
I am interested in the depiction of reality , In my work I want to challenge the traditional use of flat surfaces and fixed geometric perspective systems as fundamental values of naturalistic representation.
My practice is based in both physical and digital grounds and involves the use of a wide range of techniques in order to manipulate and expand the representational possibilities of the image i.e painting, sculpture, photogrammetry, 3D modeling, 3D animation, and Virtual Reality applications.
I have been working with Jennet for quite a while on the “chicken project”, the latest challenge has been to learn how to properly animate a 3D character using Blender.
After a long tutorial and several cups of coffee I understood the basics of character animation and now I am having fun animating this twisted character.
At the beginning of this project I was thinking about using photogrammetry to create static 3D models to use inside of Unity for a “walk around project”, this new knowledge has opened new doors for me and I am now planning to create a series of videos with animated models from meshes built with photogrammetry. My first idea is to create a “moving reality” film.
Last week, thanks to the collaboration I am doing with artist Jennet Thomas, I started to experiment with the animation of meshes using blender.
First and through the use of photogrammetry, I created a model from my girlfriend’s teddy fox.
Secondly I imported the model inside of blender and added some bones to animate it.
Finally I exported a video of the small animated sequence.
This exercise gave me the opportunity to reflect on my practice as a video producer, I think it is really interesting to use video as a way to explore time and movement as fundamental parts of reality. Now I am planning to do a piece on which I will experiment with he animation of characters and physical objects.
What happens when you stay still but objects move around you depicting a twisted perspective?