New Imaging: transdisciplinary strategies for art beyond the new media

Transdisciplinary Image Conference
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
New Imaging:transdisciplinary strategies for art beyond the new media, 2010, pp. 103 - 111
Issue Date:
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If the eighteenth century Picturesque can be regarded as a proprietorial strategy for mediating the visual experience of landscape, then the proliferation and configuration of webcam networks to promote iconic city form can be seen as its contemporary counterpart. These digital systems, in their most voyeuristic and passive form as a new privileged vantage point for the 'remote' tourist to view the city, allow civic authorities to curate the visual experience of the contemporary urban landscape. Unlike the formal stability of the Picturesque view, the webcam's digital conversion of the real provides viewers with the opportunity to adapt and mediate their experience. Importantly, this digital conversion is able to offer the designer new ways to materialize three-dimensional form. This adaptive facility of webcam content paradoxically subverts the surveillant and the promotional uses of these systems and converts it into qualitative and experiential material. The paper will discuss how open-source digital software can be recruited to process and interpret virtual qualitative data from webcams to the point where it can generate a formal response to civic space. This digital manipulation of the two-dimensional webcam view, asks the designer to relinquish the images commonly used to substantiate urban form and to respond to duplicate virtual and real-time sites whose coexistence shifts the temporal framework traditionally used to guide formal intervention. The application of this unprecedented technique reveals an opportunity to reinterpret the paradigm both for our experience of 'virtual' and urban space and for material intervention within it.
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