Carpet Weavers is an installation which consists of a projection mapped on to a physical object – a pile of cardboard cubes. This work was exhibited in January 2020, as part of Push Pop Repeat, a showcase of MA Computational Art student works.
My art practice is generally very conceptual, and can be quite sombre in tone. For this project I wanted to push my comfort zone aesthetically as well as technically, and have a bit of fun with it. I set about trying to create a series of graphic patterns which complemented and augmented a boxy structure. I chose to use a pallet of vibrant, at times inharmonious colours. I hoped this would arrest attention and that the colours would translate well to projection. Predictably, when installed there was some colour bleaching and at certain points the area around the structure was more brightly lit than I would have wanted.
The structure of the boxes was intentionally haphazard, and the final structure was confirmed on the day of installation. Although we didn’t plan the precise arrangement of boxes ahead of time, we knew we wanted the structure to have a tangible depth and physical presence. The intention of this was to foreground the mapped images, rather than the structure.
The overall look I was trying emulate was a combination of 1960’s textile design, science fiction and kitsch. I referred to the work of op artists including Victor Vasarely and Bridget Riley, and fashion houses/designers including Mary Quant and Marimekko. The inspiration for the individual patterns themselves initially came from textures I observed in everyday objects – the texture of a fibreglass suitcase, a carpet in a pub, a gif of a candle lid under a ceiling fan. I would then set about reverse engineering the patterns with OpenFrameworks. I maintained a cohesive aesthetic by using a specific colour pallet, and reusing the grid structure. This in turn reflected the textile designs to which I was referring. The piece ends with a scene of a cluster of points moving in space, with stars slowly blinking in the background. This is intended as an explicit nod to science fiction, and a design aesthetic that’s both futuristic and retro.
I am happy with my work but I think if I were to do this project again, I would draw less granular patterns as some of the detail was lost when translating from a screen to a projector. Although I hoped to keep the audience’s attention with transitions and scene changes, some of the patterns were quite static, so I would incorporate more exaggerated movement. I did try to push myself technically by creating lots of patterns and scene changes. However, my confidence has increased significantly in the short time since writing the code for this assignment. Therefore somewhat conversely, if I were to start this project again, I would focus more on creating an elegant and succinct work – rather than stress out about my visuals being too simplistic.
ofxPiMapper – openFrameworks Addon, Krisjanis Rijnieks 2019