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Open Space at The Photographers’ Gallery allowed six young emerging artists to experiment augmented reality
We barely glimpse the vast potential and reach of the technology. As new developments in the metaverse and virtual reality continue to expand the realms of our experience, artists are finding innovative ways to explore the seemingly limitless potential of these new worlds.
Following a series of workshops held in 2021 for emerging artists interested in working with augmented reality, The photographers gallery (in partnership with HIS VISIONS conservative Zaiba Jabbar), has commissioned six new augmented reality works for a project titled Open space.
The six selected artists, aged 18 to 24, were introduced to AR tools and techniques as well as critical reflection on AR production. Through a series of one-on-one mentoring sessions with established curators and AR artists, Open space accompanied them in the creation of six new augmented reality projects, which should debut on the platform in the next six months.
As the program launches today, the launch of an AR filter created by Nella Piatek, bbelow, we meet the next generation of digital artists featured in Open space.
London-based artist Nella Piatek describes herself as a “designer, researcher and cyberwitch” whose work engages with anthropological futures and sociotechnical imaginaries.
“The more I engage in conversations about the politics of the metaverse, the more and more intriguing I find AR.
“’XRiS-00222′ is my first augmented reality work and I think my start working with this new technology. It felt like a natural evolution that flowed from my previous research and cyberwitchcraft, archival practices and “digital as sanctuary”. The cyberwitch in this work was born as a sister to the cyberwitches in my other works. The title ‘XRiS-00222’ is a code name for the cyberwitch’s digital capsule, an ID number to be precise.
“As designers, we can never guarantee that our work will have a specific effect on our audience. I think what I’m trying to achieve through my work is to open up discussions about what may be possible with existing systems and what other ways of looking at familiar technology may exist. I hope my audience will become curious and intrigued by interacting with this artwork and take the time to listen to the cyberwitch’s story.
Meitao Qu lives and works between London and Beijing. From costume to architecture, Qu’s work explores the ways in which forms of visualization operate to stimulate our imagination.
“‘Dreaming of Red Mansions’ is a series of AR filters featured on Twine, loosely inspired by the 17e-chinese novel of the century The history of stone. Accompanied by text, the audience is guided through a textureless 3D courtyard house and the filters – displayed via QR codes – act as digital portals to the fictional world. Like virtual dioramas, each filter offers a glimpse of a room that houses an assemblage of images and objects, with a looping soundscape. Combining audiovisual and textual elements, I wanted the work to be a playful and affective experience that anyone could engage in, without prior knowledge of the book and its content.
“I’ve worked with a variety of media in the past, but before trying digital tools, I mostly worked with physical materials because I like to be quite hands-on. It was exciting but really overwhelming as I’ve never been so good with computers, and I found the transition from using your hands to a mouse or pen quite frustrating.
“I think technology has enabled new ways of creating and sharing that are really exciting and confusing. It has taken ‘art’ out of its old contexts into new arenas, like the world of video games. It has also expanded the way works can be distributed and experienced, broadening the scope of the audience. But at the same time, it created chaotic conditions for the art object as a commodity, as we saw in the In any case, I believe that technology and art are deeply connected and will continue to influence each other in ways that are both liberating and limiting.
Filmmaker, photographer and CGI artist, Sarah Ejionye is currently studying a BA in Fashion Photography at the London College of Fashion, where her work focuses on the lives, culture and voice of women of color in her photography and film. Ejionye is also a member of Riot Soup, an arts collective that seeks to encourage diversity and representation in the arts.
“‘Afrogenesis’ is an AR world filter that transforms your environment into a sci-fi spaceship environment. By combining elements of a jungle atmosphere, eerie humanoid figures and spatial ambient sounds, the aim is to create a feeling of being transported to another dimension, an otherworldly pocket of space and time. .
“Before working with AR, I mainly worked with analog photography, video and had started experimenting with 3D software – mainly Blender – after my college course introduced a new media unit in my second year. From there, I became interested in alternative forms of image making, which eventually drew me to augmented reality.
“The work process was completely different from what I’m used to. As a photographer, it’s pretty structured… you come up with a concept, plan ahead as much as possible, spend a day or more doing a photo shoot, then spend some time editing afterwards. With augmented reality, it’s a constant back and forth. Your idea should take into consideration what is actually possible with currently available technology, creating something that is both unique and user-friendly. I often found myself creating a build, having it tested and getting feedback, then going back and making adjustments. It’s really a lot of trial and error. But it was very exciting, and one experience I’ve always missed with photography was a sense of engagement with the audience. With augmented reality, the viewer essentially experiences the artwork rather than just looking at it. »
Georgia Janes is a Kent-based photographer whose work contemplates the shifting landscape between technology, nature and art.
“I mainly worked in photography, mixed with design and illustration. I feel most inspired when I layer elements from different mediums, questioning the boundaries between them and seeing how far I can push the “rules” of what photography is.
“‘Elowan Garden’ is an immersive AR greenhouse, the house of one collection of speculative plants inspired by cyborg-botany. The project imagines a not-too-distant future in which the natural world has merged with digital technology, and life evolves beyond the physical.
“A piece of passage, the work uses both digital screens and the direct environment of the visitor to come fully to life, thus becoming a sort of bridge between the two worlds. It is an exploration of how we experience virtual and physical space and the role technology plays in this. My main goal with this work was to have people look at the natural world around them with renewed wonder and think about how technology might impact this in the future.
“Working with AR has helped me build a more multi-dimensional perspective of art and the myriad ways to bring an idea to life. I’ve also found it made me think more concisely about exactly the story I wanted to tell and how.
Leda Sadotti is an artist working in 3D modeling and creative programming, now using AR to explore her interest in digital waste and the implications of our digital footprint.
“‘Beautified AI’ began as an investigation into catfishing online profiles and a debate over the rights of AI-generated forms. This evolved into research practices in synthetic imaging technologies where the process is understated and deliberately convoluted. I was greatly influenced by conversations I had with a lawyer specializing in GDPR and data protection more broadly, who presented the impact of digital autonomy and the wider implications of our fingerprints online. Here I am speculating on the impact of fabricated profiling of internet users, turning these AI-generated portraits into complex, digitally-woven living beings.”
Alexis Parinas is a London-based artist whose work is rooted in exploring and archiving Filipino food traditions and rituals as well as other Ilocano diaspora cultures and histories in the UK.
“’Sawsawan’ is an interactive augmented reality world filter that pays homage to the dipping culture that is an integral part of Filipino food culture. This interactive filter tells the story of some of the ingredients used in the different sawsawan, from growing specific food plants to preparing the food and tasting the food.
“It takes what Filipino food writer Doreen Fernandez calls a ‘galaxy of flavor correctors’ to conjure up a distinct, vast and timeless world of colors and flowers. The user is invited to relish the jigsaw on their journey from the garden to the galaxy.
“This project is part of ‘Boggoong, Britain’, an ongoing personal work rooted in the exploration and archiving of Filipino food traditions and rituals as well as other cultures and histories of the Ilocano diaspora in the UK It uses personal archives, stories, narratives and memories, recorded and unrecorded histories, and speculations and imaginings of different futures.
Visit The Photographers’ Gallery website for more information on Open space programming. Tune into the Photographers’ Gallery Instagram for a live conversation between Nella Piatek and curator Zaiba Jabbar at 7 p.m. on July 4, 2022.