MEDIA LAB is an annual program popularizing two media: video and photography. It will study their functions, context and roles and answer questions about their mutual complex relationship. It will show where the borders of those media are, and where they can be crossed. The aim of the cycle is also to provoke a discussion on the place of video and photography in the context of the key trends in digital and virtual reality. Every two months starting from January 30, 2015 MEDIA LAB will present the dialogue of outstanding emerging artists. The first exhibition will feature Karol Komorowski and Alan Warburton followed by Mateusz Kiszka and Urszula Kozak, Filip Ćwik and Volkan Kızıltunç, Krzysztof Maniak and Epectase (Corentin Fohlen and Jérôme Von Zilw), Tomasz Wiech and Paweł Żukowski, Dominika Gęsicka and Marek Kucharski.
MEDIA LAB 1
KAROL KOMOROWSKI & ALAN WARBURTON: VIRTUAL REALITY IS GONE
The first edition of MEDIA LAB presents two different approaches to working with digital technology, a medium that is now ubiquitous in the process of creating images. The exhibition consists of seven computer generated photographs by Karol Komorowski and the video "Spherical Harmonics" by Alan Warburton, also produced in the CGI technique. Both artists redefine the current status of image and try to answer the questions about the place and perception of reality in a world dominated by new technologies.
According to Karol Komorowski, computer technique is a natural consequence of the development of the photographic medium. “I turned towards CGI as I felt contemporary reality required new tools – not a large-format camera, but a complex computer software” – explains the artist. The creative process involves 3D object modeling in a virtual environment, texture mapping and camera and lighting set up. Simply put, whereas the image in traditional photography is created by light, in the CGI technique it is generated by a graphic designer. The small-format (19×26,5cm) works are nearly perfect but non-existent camera stills. Any imperfections are difficult to detect: the artist controls every detail of the object and its environment, and the CGI technique gives endless possibilities to achieve perfection. Clean geometric compositions produced with the same tools do not represent one cycle, although the uniform size might suggest it. Each work tells a separate story and refers to real-life painting structures, interiors, petit genre, still lifes. For instance, the work “Wired” refers to social media exhibitionism by imitating the Instagram aesthetics of portraying everyday objects, whereas “Wall” resembles an Ikea catalogue in which classic photographs have been gradually replaced with computer generated images.
Komorowski’s choice of techniques and topics shows the connection between our daily life and virtual world and demonstrates the progress in replacing the reality with images on a computer screen or smartphone. This is particularly true of the generation born in the 90’s and immersed in the culture of the ubiquitous image, the key tool in self-creation. It comes as no surprise Komorowski, an artist born in 1994, deals with the problem of the impact of the Internet iconosphere on the visual language.
While the CGI stills created by Komorowski represent very advanced forms of mimetism and are almost indistinguishable from analogue or digital photographs for an untutored eye, the viewer watching Alan Warburton’s “Spherical Harmonics” is instantly aware the film features a virtual computer generated world. Warburton himself brings it out – the film title refers to mathematical algorithms used in CGI software. Similarly to other works, the artist deconstructs virtual reality and focuses on the medium specificity. He uses tools such as green box or 3D mesh to demonstrate a full range of computer animation capabilities. His video is a vision full of computer generated memories and fantasies. At the same time, it can be treated as an online tutorial that shows the subsequent layers in the post-production process. “Spherical Harmonics” was commissioned by the London-based Photographer’s Gallery in 2014. The film is a blend of narrative telling a beautiful idealized story and explaining the process of its creation.
Karol Komorowski (b. 1994, Poland, based in London), a photographer and filmmaker, currently exploring the field of CGI. He debuted at Lookout Gallery in Warsaw in 2012 with “In darkness” and “Girlfriends” series. In his oeuvre he analyses the influence of digital technology upon our everyday life and tries to define the changes in our visual perception induced by this process.
Alan Warburton (b. 1980, Scotland, based in London), an artist and writer with a background in fine art and commercial visual effects. His work often deconstructs CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) and postproduction workflows, reflecting on the use and impact of these technologies on the visual culture.
Works featured in the slideshow:
1. Karol Komorowski, Wired, 2014, Courtesy of Lookout Gallery
2. Karol Komorowski, Light, 2014, Courtesy of Lookout Gallery
3. Alan Warburton, Spherical Harmonics, film still, 2014
4. Alan Warburton, Spherical Harmonics, film still, 2014