Visual Reality leads to surreal abstraction in the real world

After another session in the Fab Lab drawing people’s ‘can’t live without’ ordinary things, I’ve been thinking about what I can do with these drawings. I want to be able to show them. I would love for people to be able to enter them, walk inside them, feel them without ‘feeling’ them. However, that isn’t going to happen in the near future. So, in the meantime, I need to use them to create something that I can easily show in the real world.

This is as close as I can get to showing the VR world – someone’s ‘can’t live without’ cat

On returning home with no virtual means of creating or referencing to hand, I decided to re-create the drawings using a traditional medium: oil. To do this, I had to rely on my memory of the drawings. I didn’t have the images (or a means to enter the images) any more. Everything is on a datastick but I can’t see them.

A selection of objects including a turtle, a keyboard and a hoover

This act of recreating the virtual reality drawings of ordinary objects in oil allowed me to abstract them even further from the original objects -a copy of a copy of a copy etc. I didn’t use any extra creativity in this act. I just painted as I remembered. Interestingly, I cannot show here the images in my memory or the virtual reality drawings as I mention above. That is an impossibility.

The objects have now travelled along a trajectory as follows:

Object – Subject (person making the choice) – Photograph – Digital Image on Social Media – Print of Digital Image – Memory of Subject (me) – VR Drawing – Memory of Subject (me) – Oil Painting.

A shoe in oils

The excise had a further level of difficulty for me. I was ‘drawing’ with oil paints in two-dimensions an object that I had previously ‘drawn’ in three-dimensions using a digital ‘pen’. I had struggled to render the objects in three-dimensions and now I was having to draw them again as flat objects. This new negativity felt very peculiar. It was a challenge to fight this.

A mug of tea

I have so far created four oil paintings: a pair of glasses, a shoe, an inhaler and a mug of tea. I can easily show these here. The VR drawings of these objects remain in my memory. I cannot share them. This renders the VR environment a mysticism that nobody else can access right now. It runs parallel to my imagination. It is real though but I can’t prove it.

Dave’s specs

And to point out the obvious, despite weeks of obsessing over monochrome, I painted the objects in vivid colour. They are in vivid colour in the VR realm, so to take the colour away would be to remove them too far from their VR incarnations.

Can you live without an inhaler?

Now, in oils, the objects are real again. They are real created from digital. They seem to be a bizarre hybrid of the real and the digital and the imagined. There is a strange irony there. They are abstractions from the digital to the real of the digital in the real. Is still-life art still fresh? You decide.

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