"Unclaimed", Interactive Installation, 2015
part of the Denver Biennial of the Americas "Now? Now!" Exhibition at the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art
Curated by Lauren Wright
Laleh Mehran and Chris Coleman are fascinated with the air space between a city’s roofs and the lower troposphere used by aviation. This is one of the last truly unclaimed territories: it is not controlled by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, not privatized, and is mostly occupied by birds, kites, and the occasional drone. In a sense, the space is shared internationally: the molecules above Denver mix up with those coming from above Buenos Aires. The artists produced a material visualization of the unclaimed space where the viewers breath across the roofs of a city model will cause disturbances in the rise and fall of the physical layer of air in the gallery.
Technically the project uses many open source tools. The city is a collection of several hundred buildings modeled in Blender (and freely available here: https://www.thingiverse.com/digitalcoleman/collections/unclaimed-models ). They are printed in biodegradable PLA on the LulzBot Taz5 open source 3D printer. The central computer listens to 9 microphones connected to a Teensy microcontroller and is running an application made in OpenFrameworks. The application then communicates to two other Teensy microcontrollers, each controlling 98 computer cooling fans via i2c and a series of relay boards. An Arduino controls the DMX lighting in the room which cycles through the colors of a full day every 10 minutes. Two HD cameras positioned above the ceiling of fans feed real-time video to two monitors at each end of the room, providing another perspective of the evolving shape of the unclaimed space.
Digital Derivatives (404 Festival Edition) from Chris Coleman on Vimeo.
In the Digital Derivatives project, I 3D scan members of the public in order to capture their data. I then distill and refine the person's data in real-time until the essential unique features barely remain, turning them into a simplified shell which is then printed in 2D and shared with the visitor. The project is connected to a long history of portraiture and more specifically street caricature drawings. As opposed the way these drawings exaggerate a person's features to make them "ultra" recognisable, I was interested in how much detail I could remove from a person and still have them recognise themselves. It is connected to our digital representations, especially the ones we shape in social media platforms. We distill who we are into happy parents, fancy food eaters, and world travellers for the world to see, but it is the thinest slice of who we are. I am also interested in how 3D scanning provides a new type of "picture" of people, often slicing them into pieces, removing them from any context with the result being an infinitely thin hollow shell.
Above is a quick video showing many of the 160 portraits created during the 404 Festival 2015. I used a Structure 3D scanner to scan each Visitor and then ran the model through a 8-12min. process in Blender to customize each portrait and then print (in 2D) and share them. With these images I use a very digital aesthetic carefully tuning the surface quality and polygon decimation for each person, an isometric perspective, and then choose a background color based on my artistic sense of who they are.
See all the portraits here: http://bit.ly/404Fest
Find instructions and a sample Blender file here: https://github.com/digitalcoleman/polyPortrait
Music by HWLS: 004 w/ Noah Breakfast (https://hwls.bandcamp.com/releases)
Single Channel HD Video, 2012
collaboration with Laleh Mehran
The act of invasion is called exploration when the more powerful entity recalls history. When entering new territory a great deal of caution is required as micro-particles can easily penetrate, changing the current biology permanently. Through modern technologies we can view from a safe distance to decipher, categorize, and influence without being affected.