Digital Art: 3 Examples
For more and more people, art becomes less fascinating as it used to be. Constantly developing technological processes along with the emergence of new digital technologies began to substitute traditional art. This changes not only the way art is performed but also the way it is perceived. But what artists mix both of them? A combination of something real and artificial, of true art and digital one may cause some unexpected results.
“The Treachery of Sanctuary” Installation
The Treachery of Sanctuary is a digital triptych representing a spiritual intent, through which ancestors saw their origin, roots and death, through dissolution, dance and transcendence of a human form. It has a lot in common with prehistoric paintings on the walls of the caves of Lascaux that were made forty thousand years ago. The relation between primal human experiences and new technology, just as between real and artificial, is shown in this installation. Interestingly, there are no large stone walls, flickering flames or paints made of plants, but observers want to move, dance and express themselves in any other physical way. And since body is the most universal of all human languages around the world, this installation provides people with new forms of communication and, therefore, it fulfills their desire to have their bodies and spirits seen, felt and even understood by others. With the help of this piece of digital art visitors can discover something new with their own forms and create something both human and avian of their bodies. Hence, the relation between real body forms and digital projections of them is observed in this art work.
Each huge panel constituting the triptych should be perceived as a stage of a journey or as one of the steps in the circle of life, which are birth, death and regeneration. Universal human experience is a core uniting element between them that gives full narrative interpretation. The parallel experience of the artist during his creative process was intended to be reflected in this installation too. This is one more example of relation between his true art experience and the digital way in which it is expressed.
This parallel reality hinges on a religious factor and takes a lot of openness, vulnerability of spirit, which brings observers closer to God. Similar to real life, when to get something higher and purer – Sanctuary– one has to face something more dangerous and darker – Treachery, in faith, falling prey to the Devil’s Treachery is always inevitable in the artistic process. Such destructive force allows the revival of an idea, thus completing the creative transformation and ascension.
In the first part of the triptych, in front of it, the body of a person disintegrates into birds rising high. This relation between a real human body and artificial computer technologies along with optical lenses notifying every move of the body represent the stage of conception not only for observers, but also for the artistic inspiration of the creator. It is pure, memorable and complete: birth.
In the second part of the installation, inside the second panel, one can see birds that represent purity of conception mercilessly attacking with hundreds of their sharp beaks and thus becoming cruel and fierce. This means that the artist faces a critical response, which resembles human suffering from mistreatment, self-abuse or even collapse. The second screen manifests self-doubt and dubiety, hesitations and even impossibility to strive to achieve, suffocation of the idea conceived in mind of the artist. Therefore, it represents nothing else but death.
On the final third screen enormous wings suddenly appear on the observers’ bodies. This astonishing image is considered to represent distinction and transcendence in the human narrative. The artistic concept is changed into something deeper and more profound than it was intended to be. This transformation of the artistic death is life.
One more interesting thing about this installation is the dialogue between the panels and people observing them. Visitors are active participants, and since new technologies allow such interactivity, the emphasis is on the transcending past that enables innovation to spiritual absorption. This journey is at the same time personal and universal. It never repeats but transforms every time; that is why each new participant experiences something new. This creative journey shows observers emotional existence in a whole new physical language that they have never been seen before.
Experiencing Animal Vision through Virtual Reality
New virtual reality and digital culture called In the Eyes of the Animal from Marshmallow Laser Feast invited visitors to participate, experience and basically feel the forest and life of its inhabitants through the immersive virtual journey told by three species common to that area. This 360 degree experience is an astonishing short story that focuses on the full life-cycle of these three species and is manifested in a mirrored sculptural installation held on a giant tree in the woodland.
This relation can be also observed when it comes to the fact that participants, actually being in the real forest and walking the real trails, experience real environment. However, with the help of artificial and virtual vision they perceive the environment as if they were insects, which is the whole different way for them. Thus, this new technology enables them to have new feelings and sensations unconceivable for them before. This is another blend of real and artificial that gives a person an opportunity to see not only the surroundings but also himself or herself differently. Visitors were encouraged to wear virtual reality helmets and backpacks in order to get a full sense of feeling the environment around them as frogs, dragonflies or other local species do. The whole process was complemented largely thanks to an enormous wearable speaker in the backpack and to the sound and vibrations in the headset.
The relation between real and artificial becomes obvious when it comes to exploring the line between virtual and real-world experiences of the participants. They have an exceptional opportunity to recognize how the world and environment can be perceived from the insects’ point of view and compare it with their perception. This exciting project is intended to invite and absorb the public into a one-of-a-kind virtual reality setting created by specialists and specifically for the forest. It was made using different aerial vehicles and special 360 cameras created for this particular purpose. Afterwards, the binaural soundtrack was set because of audio recordings from the surrounding woodland. Furthermore, using virtual reality experience to immerse a person in the environment and sounds of other creatures like animals or insects makes him or her empathize by showing the way that others see and feel the world. In such a way, people’s senses can be hacked by combining art and technology in this project.
Sony Realtime Projection Mapping
Sony Realtime Projection Mapping is a digital project presenting a video clip that is set in a living room of some house. The interesting thing is that the room instantly transforms into a scene from one of the popular Hollywood films such as a sea scene in the western Atlantic waters with piratical capers. The impressive fact is that the video was shot in a single take. The technique of projection mapping consists in projecting different animated backgrounds onto any kind of surface, for example onto the walls, ceiling, floor and furniture like in the chosen video.
The relation between the real and artificial is obvious here since real objects including a person transform and change their color with the help of projections seen on them. This interaction creates a whole new experience, which neither these object nor virtual projections could provide separately. That is a fascinating way of interrelating something real and virtual. The effect provided by the clip is achieved thanks to the additional visual effects created by using a mix of props and other actors wearing camouflage not to disrupt the image created by the projections. To achieve even more realistic affect, these images had to be distorted to fit the size of the “screen” and the viewpoint had to be stationary. The authors of the project managed to do it. Nevertheless, this project can be developed further since it is still just a tiny part of what can be done in the future.
Despite the fact that relation of real things and virtual objects is pretty obvious, this technology can be largely developed so that one day this interaction will be on a whole new level. For instance, it would be interesting if the objects created by the projection mapping were tangible so that a person could even touch, feel and do something with them.
All in all, both digital and real art are equally difficult to perform, and it takes years of practice and efforts to advance them. The key point is that such blends as discussed in the paper should be developed in order to facilitate the emergence of new ways to create. The development of digital technologies has largely influenced traditional art. It has produced powerful new forms of artistic creation, simulation and special effects. Therefore, there is no wonder that in the long run a combination of something real and artificial or a mix of real art with digital one can produce unexpected outcomes like those mentioned above.