Digital Artifacts

2014

During the 2013 Architecture Triennale in Lisbon Bart Hess presented Digital Artifacts, looking at a future of cyborg couture, where glitches play across our skin and transform our bodies.

 

‘our bodies are end­lessly photographed, monitored and laser scanned with millimetre precision. from this context of surveillance, facial recognition, avatars and virtual ghosts, we imagine a near future where digital static, distortions and glitches become a new form of ornament. for the youth tribes of future perfect the body is a site for adaption, augmentation and experimentation. they celebrate the corrup­tion of the body data by moulding within their costumery all the imperfections of a decaying scan file.

Shimmering in the exhibition landscape is a network of geometric reflec­tive pools of molten wax. their mirrored surface is broken by a body, suspended from a robotic harness, plunging into the liquid. a crust of wax crystallises around its curves and folds, growing architectural forms, layer by layer, like a 3D printer drawing directly onto the skin. slowly the body emerges, encased in a dripping wet readymade prosthetic. it is a physical glitch, a manifestation of corrupt data in motion, a digital artefact. they hang from hooks like a collection of strange beasts and frozen avatars. body prints, imperfect and distorted and always utterly unique.’

Digital Artifact film

with Postmatter

 

Digital Artifact @ Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

2017

 

Architecture Triennale

16 sept 2014

 

“During the Architecture Triennale the Digital Artefacts ritual is translated into a series of performances. Surrounded by the audience, a model will be dipped into a puddle of hot liquid wax resting in the center of a water tank. Under water her body is transformed into an architectural sculpture that will slowly be revealed when the model is lifted out of the water.

 

The water tank is a part of the Garment District platform: a platform of 9 water tanks in total. Floating above the water tanks, body sculptures will be presented that are the result of previous performances. The visitors walk through a landscape of dynamic waxsculptures that collectively visualize the unique character of the design process."

THE DUALITY BETWEEN ANALOG AND DIGITAL, THE PHYSICAL AND VIRTUAL WORLD THAT THE TITLE DIGITAL ARTIFACTS CARRIES IT AND FIVE LINES TO REDEFINE THE WAY WE WORK

 

 

BY : JONATHAN OPENSHAW

POSTMATTER, 2014

 

 

Computer aided design and 3D modeling has more traditionally been used to create perfect images, trying to eliminate glitches and unpredictable elements. A lot of digital art is now celebrating these imperfections though, and many designers are translating the glitch aesthetic back into tangible objects. Why is this blurring of boundaries interesting for you?

 

Well my design process is actually two parts – I spend hours and hours making small details by hand working with materials, and then I spend hours and hours sitting behind my computer exploring effects and watching tutorials and getting to know programs. Both worlds influence each other, and it’s a balancing act. I don’t want to make work that is too scary or too beautiful, and I don’t want it to look too digital or too analogue. I want it to exist somewhere in between, where the viewer has to really think about it, and ask is this real, am I getting manipulated now? Most commercial imagery wants to obscure the imperfection of skin or tactility of materials, but for me I like to see how your skin deforms when you’re wearing a really heavy material, or what if that material gets wet, or burns a bit, or when the body is very cold. I think this allows the viewer to read the material by seeing the skin’s reaction to it.

Why is this blurring of boundaries interesting for you?

 

Well my design process is actually two parts – I spend hours and hours making small details by hand working with materials, and then I spend hours and hours sitting behind my computer exploring effects and watching tutorials and getting to know programs. Both worlds influence each other, and it’s a balancing act. I don’t want to make work that is too scary or too beautiful, and I don’t want it to look too digital or too analogue. I want it to exist somewhere in between, where the viewer has to really think about it, and ask is this real, am I getting manipulated now? Most commercial imagery wants to obscure the imperfection of skin or tactility of materials, but for me I like to see how your skin deforms when you’re wearing a really heavy material, or what if that material gets wet, or burns a bit, or when the body is very cold. I think this allows the viewer to read the material by seeing the skin’s reaction to it.

The exhibition is about a future city, where humans and machines are one. Is that a utopia or dystopia for you?

 

I think it’s quite interesting to explore ideas where you don’t really know yourself if it’s positive or negative. My feelings about my work changes every day. If I have a really bad experience with technology one day, like I loose all my files or something, then I see ugliness in my projects and really hope that technology is not the future. But then if everything goes to plan or a new program works really well, there’s great beauty. So for me it’s important that sense of not knowing, or a feeling that my vision of the future can change every week – every day, actually.

 

Materials are central to your work, what attracts you to a certain material?

 

I’m interested in any materials that you use daily – it can be paper, washing up liquid, wood, textiles of course, latex, whatever – but what I like is to really dive into that material and to try to make some magic by using it in a way that you’ve never used it before. I try to push and test the material as far as possible to see how it reacts. You always have expectations of how a material will respond and behave, but very often it does the exact opposite when it’s pushed to extremes. This moment inspires me, where you can feel the tension in the material; you can almost feel it in your belly, something strange is happening. A big thing in my work is that I try to make fluid materials static, and I try to make static materials almost fluid.

 

3D printing is an obvious reference point for this piece, in that it bridges the gap between the virtual and the real. It feels like it’s impossible to escape projects that involve additive manufacturing right now – why are you engaging with it?

 

I think 3D printing is a technique that I will never use for my own work, because you can’t test the material, or play with boundaries where things are almost breaking. I like the idea that the dresses feel rapid prototyped in this piece though – I’m using the same white, and using the reference of a body that is slowing building up. The finished dresses look like they could have been computer rendered, but then you see the ripples where the water interacted with the wax, you realise this could never have been made on a computer. I think your mind is always limited, and although nature has rules, those rules are always a bit flexible and unpredictable.

DIGITAL ARTIFACTS

MOBILE VERSION ONLINE SOON

 

 

Bart Hess

info@barthess.nl

 

 

Studio Address :

Gasfabriek 18

5613 CP Eindhoven

the Netherlands