Critical evaluation

Three years ago somebody suggested me to do an MA, around that time I had many ideas about my practice but I did not have a clear idea to give to others when they asked about my theme or my subject, thanks to my MA, now I know that it is all about the depiction of my visual experience of reality.

Both Francis Bacon and David Hockney helped me in the process of understanding my practice; I was captivated by Bacon’s views on the horror of life, the way he approached the figure and his spatial arrangements. Hockney helped me to question linear perspective and monocular depictive systems, I was also impressed by his views on how time flows between images.

Now I know that through my practice, I have been trying to push the limits set by the flatness. Using images to create 3D models has allowed me to reflect about the substance of images, and has also helped me to gain enough confidence to start sculpting again.

I think that I have developed both my digital and physical professional skills, the creation of META-IMAGES is a quite interesting path that I want to follow, I have learned a lot from the making of my final piece and I plan to use that knowledge for the making of hybrid pieces that might inhabit the viewers space.

Doing my first VR piece allowed me to explore an unknown territory, digital images have been always part of my practice but were never present in the final piece, making the VR roller coaster encouraged me to keep doing digital explorations without the need of painting anything. Creating and editing digital images has also helped me to understand that my practice goes beyond paint and brushes (Although I quite like those two).

I plan to keep learning about VR user interface creation. I also plan to explore projection mapping as it might allow me to present my digital creations over not-flat surfaces as I think this could allow me to create an immersive space without the VR headset.

I am quite interested in the moving image and also the process moving through the image, I already started to do experiments with a MOVING-META-IMAGE using the same principles I use for still images.

Reading a book titled “The power of the centre” by Rudolf Arnheim, has helped me to learn more about spatial composition, I see META-IMAGES as both a 3D object and a place for the viewer to visit, my plan is to read more about architecture and spatial composition.

This experience has also made change my expectations about the art world, now I know I will need to keep exploring options in order to continue developing my practice whilst making money to pay the bills. I also understood the importance of networking and collaboration, in my near future I plan to work with a sound artist to explore how sound might spread through the META-IMAGE.

Finally, I will say that I used to ask myself about the What, Where, When and the How of my pieces, now, I am aware that thanks to my MA, I learned to ask Why.

 

Wimbledon Residence

On April 2017 I was invited by Artist/Reader Jennet Thomas to do a 5-week residence at Wimbledon College of Arts, so, from April 19th until May 18th and for two days a week, I had the opportunity to set up a VR camp in the middle of the Print and Time-Based Media (PTBM) Studio, a big and well-illuminated room located on the second floor of the College’s intelligent building.

My plan was to display and allow students to experience a VR piece that I had already presented at the Tate Exchange event; Landscape #12. My goal was to connect with students in order to have meaningful conversations about VR technology and other related topics like 3D modelling and 3D animation.

During the residence, I had the opportunity to talk and share ideas with more than 10 students and 5 members of staff.

As a practitioner, I think this was a wonderful opportunity to talk to others about my practice and reflect about all the process of delivering a VR piece to the public. As a student, I enjoyed the opportunity to inhabit a different studio and to talk to students with different practices, I especially enjoyed the opportunity to meet BA students as I felt that they have a fresher look on things and are still quite open to new ideas. I believe that this kind of exercises provide a unique opportunity to create connections with peers and have meaningful cross-disciplinary conversations, I really think that this should be happening more often around UAL.

Immersive reflection – A VR sketchbook

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.

Inside the cave – Revisiting the painting

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.

Shaping accident

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.

Physical Digital Residency – Wimbledon College of Arts

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.

 

My artist statement – 13-03-2017

I am obsessed with the idea of depicting visual reality in a way that comes closer to how I truly experience it.

I ask myself if visual reality evolves through time and space, why should the image of that reality remain still and flat?

I feel that the depicting potential of the image is undermined by the restrictions imposed by the flat canvas and geometric perspective systems.

I WANT TO SET THE IMAGE FREE TO ACHIEVE ITS FULL DEPICTIVE POTENTIAL

Since I started using digital technologies like 3D modelling software, and Virtual Reality, I realised that, inside these environments, the image becomes malleable matter, a new material full of visual ingredients.

I give shape to this malleable element by exploring the architecture of spatial metaphors e.g. the tunnel, the cave, and the landscape. The end result is a 3-dimensional piece full of visual information. I call it THE META-IMAGE.

Sometimes I leave the META-IMAGE as it is, other times I materialize it through 3D printing and/or sculpture and finish it using traditional media i.e. painting, drawing, and black & white photography.

At the moment, I am also using photogrammetry to build 3D models of the final piece, and then navigate them through Virtual Reality.

Photogrammetry 2.0 – bits and pieces

Since last week, I have been trying to create a 3D model of my latest painted piece; it has been a fun nightmare.

My previous model was quite challenging as it required me to go take more than 400 photographs and required 3 different sources of light to get rid of most of the shadows, however, I only needed to use one side of it so everything worked at the end.

Photogrammetry2-landscape14-1 Photogrammetry2-landscape14-2

My new piece is quite different, in order to allow people to navigate it from inside, I have to create a 360 model of it, this sets a bigger challenge for proper lighting and placing on the space.

My first idea was to hang it so a could take photos from all the angles, that did not work because it is impossible to keep it still inside of the studio, apparently, a ghost breeze lives within the room.

Next, I did take lots of images placing the object in three different positions over a plinth, so far I was able to make good enough models from three chunks of the original piece, now I have to figure out how to stitch them.

My reflection:

I think that this “chunk” process might be the best way to go, although it is a bit annoying to put the pieces back together, this workflow might allow me to create bigger and complex pieces without worrying too much about RAM processing limits and might be a modular approach for model handling.

Tate Exchange – giving and receiving

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.

Tate-Exchange-1 Tate-Exchange-2 Tate-Exchange-3 Tate-Exchange-4

My reflection:

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.

 

Big mind – small body

Today I was watching a video of David Hockney talking about his exploration on space, I thought that his questions are pretty interesting but I also think that his approach to a solution is quite “flat” and at some point I wanted to interrupt him to point out a different approach to the problem.

His work really inspires me, and I want to go beyond what he has accomplished. At one particular point (5:50 min), he pointed out that the format made the painting easy to transport, this triggered a connection inside my head, it seems that depicting reality over flat surfaces has a pretty straight connection with what is functional on a physical level, so I started thinking about my research paper and again I found traces of this idea where the physical aspect of reality and therefore our physical body tends to mediate what our mind is able to express.

In another part of the Video (8:07), Hockney says that “two dimensions don’t exist in nature” and then hi tries to explain that it is a problem of scale because if a canvas were huge then it would feel like a mountain, a bit further he refers about how we feel space and says that while standing in front of the Grand Canyon, he felt it like a 3D space but sometimes he could feel it as a flat image.

In another interesting part (13:20), he says that “we see space through time”, I really like this Idea because it makes a lot of sense, how ever, I still thinking about the problem of the flat image.

At the end he talks about how he experienced 3D cinema and how disappointing it was, he also makes a vague reference to Virtual Reality.

My reflection

Although artistic expression might be triggered inside the mind, it has to mediate and cope with the demands of the physical world in order to become physical expression (I am trying to  leave digital art out of this discussion). After doing a research on this matter, I  have got the idea that through the history of painting, physical world has had always the last word on how things are created.and that one of the biggest consequences of this is that painters from the 21th century, are still trying to depict the experience of reality over flat surfaces.

For me this is a mayor concern as I think that it is possible to evolve this way of depicting reality even for static images like paintings.