Some years ago, I read a short blurb about a new 3D technology that could paint an image directly onto the retina. The resolution was poor but there were high hopes that would be improved. I never heard another thing about it, but it got me thinking. Would there come a day when you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between physical reality and a computer-generated environment? Descartes made the case that if you could, without a doubt, think you existed- that in itself proved your existence. Descartes didn’t have an iPad.
In a general sense, one can say a computer system can define points in space. How many of those points can be defined (resolution) and how quickly those points can be redefined is determined by the speed of the machines and the skill set of the programmer. Those factors have come to the point where that bit about not being able to tell the real world from a computer-generated world is rapidly coming true. The Goodwill has lots of 3D Goggles. They cost $5 or so. Download the rollercoaster app. (it’s free), slip your phone in there and there you go. What’s this mean for sculpture? All kinds of fun things.
Experiences Of 3D Technology In Virtual Environments
In a virtual world, one can define their own laws of nature. One can redefine material properties. Weightless, magnetic marble? Winged kittens? How about a room full of creepy statues that respond to your emotional state. I am pondering all this and imagining entire constructed worlds when, sculptor, Andy Kennedy sends me a video. I find myself in a real gallery, with sculptures that can only be seen when viewed through a phone, tablet, or 3D goggles. This is augmented reality, the real world with 3D technology digital constructions superimposed upon it. Here was a way to focus on virtual sculpture without the distraction of having to construct the environment as well and the consequent problem of how one would move about in it realistically. Using the real world as the stage resolves that nicely. I’ve posted some links below.
Here is a link to an artist. His name is Maxim Zhesthov. This is an example of redefining material properties. I thought this was real until something happened that could only be digital. Remember all those people wandering the streets staring at their iPhones playing Pokemon, peeking under bushes with their phones looking for little creatures? That is an example of augmented reality.
In the above image, only the little man is digital. The full video can be seen if you follow the link. The artists are Adrian M and Clair.
The argument can be made that such things are not sculpture because they don’t have a physical presence, but isn’t that what a painting is, an image of a real thing? And does it matter anyway? The point here is that this is a new brush, a new tool.