In his latest project OMOTE, Japanese producer Nobumichi Asai combines explicit real-time face tracking and projection mapping to create unbelievable transformations of a human face. While projecting computer generated imagery (CGI) onto buildings, room walls or cars isn’t new, using a live model as a dynamic canvas demonstrates an advances use of technology.
To accomplish such realistic and mesmerizing effect, Asai gathered a team of digital designers, CGI experts, and make-up artists. Together they created a set of digital “masks”, or, as Slash Gear referred to it, “electronic equivalent of makeup”. As shown in the video, model’s face should be scanned and mapped so the graphics can be projected and manipulated in real-time, even when the face moves around.
Despite that lots of technical details about OMOTE are left unsaid, Internet users have already started speculating on the possible use of such technology. Most suggestions include testing of products such as make-up, clothing, or even tattoos. Some state that advanced versions could be employed for medical purposes, like projecting X-Rays or creating “instant previews” of plastic surgery. Not to mention the game industry. (via Gizmodo)
The Unknown Fields Division is a traveling design research studio (directed by Liam Young and Kate Davies) that has sculpted traditional Ming vases out of mud taken from a radioactive lake in Inner Mongolia. This “lake” is a noxious swamp made of debris created in the production of some of our most desired (and idealized) technology items. In an effort to explore the transnational origin of these items — and, indeed, explore the dark underbelly of their creation — Unknown Fields has made each vase proportionate to the amount of waste produced by the following objects: “a smartphone, a featherweight laptop, and the cell of a smart car battery” (Source). The result is a trio of apocalyptic-like earthenware vessels. Their grim, blackened surfaces are covered in a glistening “glaze” that was created when heavy metals contained in the mud melted in the pottery kiln. The vase materials were so toxic that the sculptors had to wear full-body protection at each stage of production, from on-site collection to creation in their London workshop.
These vases are part of Unknown Fields’ greater project to follow an international supply chain of “rare earth” elements (which are used in the creation of electronics) back to their place of origin: the toxic lake in Mongolia. Kate Davies explains the metaphorical purpose of the vases in this investigative journey:
“The vases are a way to talk about ideas around luxury and desire. How both are culturally constructed collective sets of values that are fleeting and particular to our time. These three ‘rare earthenware’ vessels are the physical embodiment of a contemporary global supply network that displaces earth and weaves matter across the planet.” (Source)
When we hold our cellphones and laptops in our hands, we rarely think about their origins. As Liam Young insightfully points out, “terms like ‘cloud’ of ‘Macbook Air’ imply that our gadgets are just ephemeral objects — and this is the story we all want to believe” (Source). We must not forget that such technologies, despite their polish and glamor, derive from earthly materials processed in factories and shipped across the world. Just as Ming vases were once subjected to an international demand based on their beauty and associations with wealth, Unknown Fields’ creations remind us of how such systems of consumer culture are continuing. “The three vases are presented as objects of desire, but their elevated radiation levels and toxicity make them objects we would not want to possess,” Davies explained. “They represent the undesirable consequences of our materials desires” (Source).
The vases will be on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum “What is Luxury?” exhibition, which runs April 25th to September 27th. Accompanying the exhibition is a film by Toby Smith, which documents Unknown Fields’ journey from container ships to factories to the radioactive lake (the trailer can be viewed above). Visit the Unknown Feilds’ website for more explorations of remote landscapes with surprising (and unsettling) intersections with our daily lives. (Via Fast Co.Create)
Is that an amazing relief print I spy? I do believe it is!! Dennis McNett puts his impressive carving ability to work, making striking woodblock prints that tend to include mythical animal imagery. McNett, who teaches printmaking at the Pratt Institute in New York, has also designed killer graphics for Vans, Anti-Hero skateboards, Volcom and Adidas, so you could say that he’s got the serious skills to pay the bills.
Stills from New York photographer and film maker Elle Muliarchyk‘s new film project. She dressed up model Meghan Collinson in ten different disguises and sent her to different New York based psychics, filming the interactions with hidden cameras. Each costume resulted in a different fortune. The stills are more reminiscent of a beautifully styled period film than hidden camera surveillance.
Mary Jordan’s Water Tank Project brings to the New York skyline a beautiful and pertinent reminder that water is, in most respects, sacred. The project has brought glorious eye candy into the periphery, yet its first and foremost mission is to spread awareness regarding the dire water situation the majority of this world experiences.
The backstory to the effort reads like a movie: filmmaker Mary Jordan was working on a documentary in Ethiopia back in 2007. Three months in she became deathly ill from accidentally ingesting contaminated water. Nursed back to health by the women of the village she was living in, Jordan survived and was urged by these women to thank them through working to increase awareness on the water crisis within their country and the world.
One day, while back in New York, Jordan gazed up at a water tower and had an epiphany: “They’re like these little temples that hold water,” she thought, and realized the inherent symbolism of the structure itself, and the potential power to communicate that it held. Thus, the Water Tank Project was born. Jordan founded Word Above The Street, with the intent of utilizing the city’s water-related infrastructure to showcase water-related art and increase awareness.
The project gained an impressive level of momentum as artists Jeff Koons, Maya Lin, Andy Goldsworthy, Jeppe Hein, John Baldessari, and many, many others have signed up to produce graphic wraps for the over 100 water towers included in the project. With the tag line: Art Above NYC, Water Above All, Jordan is doing a remarkable job at fulfilling her promise, and getting you to think about your relationship with water and what effects the conservation of water can mean to those in countries less fortunate than ours.