The Out of Hand: Materialising the Digital exhibition at the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS), examines the increasing importance of digital manufacture in contemporary art, architecture, science and design (MAAS, 2017). Featuring more then 60 artists, designers and architects from around the world, whose works explore the impact and place of digital technology in object design and production. The works experiment with the changing technologies and techniques that have emerged from past ideas and are establishing new possibilities (MAAS, 2017). There were various interesting works but one work that stood out was ‘Future Events’ by Louis Pratt.
‘Future Events’ is a 3D printed self-portrait of multiple attitudes, digitally meshed together. In order to create these surreal figurative sculptures Pratt experiments with the capabilities of 3D printing and scanning technologies (Sydney Design, 2016). Inspired by the growing impact of technology and our relationship to it, Pratt creates these sculptures by taking data from 3D scans of people into the digital world. He then employs digital algorithms to the digitised forms of people in order to manipulate the scanned data. Pratt then applies 3D printing technologies to prototype the data from cyber space back into the real world. (Pratt; About, 2017)
In earlier works Pratt explored second dimensional algorithms in three-dimensional data, which resulted in static three-dimensional sculptures, where you only see the person at that one moment in time. However, Pratt is now aiming to make a fourth dimensional sculpture, a static depiction of a three-dimensional object in movement. (Gillie and Marc, 2014) His aim is instead of only seeing the sculptures subject at one moment in time to create a static sculpture that shows the subject over multiple time frames at once. This is achieved with ‘Future Events’ by taking multiple scans and digitally combining them, creating a sculpture combining Pratt’s attitudes over four time frames to generate a static sculpture with the illusion of movement.
When first viewing the work I was struck by the uncanny nature of the piece, and thought it was representation of Dissociative identity disorder (multiple personality disorder). After research about the process of making the sculpture and the representation of it I began to be more intrigued by the piece, as it shows the conflicting between our reality and our cyber presence. According to the artist statement that accompanied the work ‘Future Events’ is a “commentary on the multiple selves needed for contemporary life. It also references quantum computing and the simultaneous existence of multiple quantum states.” (MAAS, 2017)
Pratt makes the point that we are at a historical point of history when it comes to technology and the effect it has on our lives. Pratt says “They say art imitates life, I feel like I’m imitating or examining a process that we are engaged in which is relevant to society today. We embrace technology without question, it is the future and is now developing at such a pace that I wonder if we (as humans) are developing fast enough for it. We are in a technological revolution, morally and ethically there is no precedent for it.”(Maude, 2013) Pratt uses his art to reflect where society is socially and historically, by looking at our insatiable desire for the cyber world (Pratt; About, 2017). By manipulating data to create sculptures that exist somewhere between cyberspace and reality, Pratt creates a metaphor for how human life and relationships have changed through the increase of online participation.
By taking data from real people, putting it onto a computer, manipulating it through digital tools and algorithms then bringing it back into the real world, Pratt creates a dialogue with the way we enter cyberspace and depict a specific image of our self then come back to reality. By distorting the body of the sculpture Pratt further explores the impact of technology, by suggesting that as we continue to live our own lives in-between cyberspace and reality our perception of our self and of others becomes distorted (Maude, 2013).
Art Almanac (2016). Louis Pratt, Future Events. [image] Available at: http://www.art-almanac.com.au/inaugural-winners-of-the-tom-bass-prize-for-figurative-sculpture/louis-pratt-future-events/ [Accessed 30 Apr. 2017].
Gillie and Marc (2014). Artist Chat | Louis Pratt. [online] Gillie and Marc. Available at: https://gillieandmarc.com/artist-chat-louis-pratt/ [Accessed 29 Apr. 2017].
Louis Pratt: About. (n.d.). Louis Pratt. [online] Available at: https://www.louispratt.com/about [Accessed 28 Apr. 2017].
MAAS (2017). Out of Hand: Materialising the Digital. [online] Museum Of Applied Arts And Sciences. Available at: https://maas.museum/event/out-of-hand-materialising-the-digital/ [Accessed 30 Apr. 2017].
Maude, A. (2013). INTERVIEW WITH SCULPTOR LOUIS PRATT by Anna Maude. [online] Art Right Now. Available at: https://artwrite51.wordpress.com/2013/06/01/interview-with-sculptor-louis-pratt-by-anna-maude/ [Accessed 29 Apr. 2017].
Sydney Design (2016) Out of Hand Studio Tour: Louis Pratt. [online] Available at: https://sydneydesign.com.au/event/out-of-hand-studio-tour-louis-pratt/ [Accessed 28 Apr. 2017].
Vivid Sydney (2017). Louis Pratt. [image] Available at: https://www.vividsydney.com/speaker/louis-pratt [Accessed 30 Apr. 2017].