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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Digital prints bring technology to art

    Although the futurists of the early 1900s revered technology and gave it an aesthetic grace, it’s hard to imagine what they would think of “”Thinskinned,”” the new digital frontier in fine art.

    Lilla Locurto and Bill Outcault’s Joseph Gross Gallery exhibition of three-dimensional body images spread out on the flat plane of the digital print is not just visionary, it’s frightening.

    When you look at most of the prints, it’s impossible to tell that the subject is human at all. Each plane shows a myriad of interconnecting brown lines, blobs and strips all on top of each other and flowing around, protruding from a stark black background. The patterns are complicated and chaotic, much like a picture of atomic particles from a chemistry class.

    The images are startling in their intricateness, but abstract and sterile. There is no brush stroke to breathe life into the blobs; there is no fingerprint. Only a computer-generated series of strips; a video game purgatory.

    To make these images, Outcault and Locurto used a three dimensional scanner to collect thousands of surface points on the body and then played with computer animations that deconstructed the 3-D body, manipulating the figures in relation to the camera. The images experience an object from many different viewpoints and multiple angles at once, all on a 2-D surface.

    In “”Thinskinned [b7],”” the paper-like strips form a tumbleweed that gets denser in the center, colliding in flurry rings and straight sticks all molding into each other. It almost looks like somebody burst open a can of brown confetti and taped it exploding into the room in slow motion.

    “”Thinskinned [eb_2]”” replaces the rings with thousands of straight sticks latched together like a wreath. The print is reminiscent of tiny woodchips and looks pointy and dangerous. There is no gradient between the sticks and the blackness; they cut off suddenly in an extreme juxtaposition of the colors.

    But some of these pigment prints are not like the others. The “”selfportrait.map”” series, also on display, were made much earlier than the others (in 2001) and give us a glimpse of a real human body. The portraits show a blobby human face and body superimposed on an open world map. The blurry face looks like it was run over by a steam truck or fashioned out of clay and the body’s bare nipples are hovering over the South Pole. The globe is seemingly an illusion to the similarity between their techniques and the creation of topography maps, also abstract series of lines and shapes.

    But while it’s hard to comment on the theme of these selections, the other pieces reinforce man’s disconnection with his own body in the advent of technology. The images are cold and robotic, mirroring the man they are made of. Is this new separation from ourselves beneficial or worrisome? It remains unknown. But at the least, it’s a force to be reckoned with.

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