A Window to Reality #002 was from @Mistabreakfast AKA Mono, also known as Leigh Drummond.
His install comprised of a full wall mural in spray paint at Canal House as part of AR City: A window to reality. Over Dec 19 / Jan 20 we are executing a new installation from a local artist with six in total. We record the performance, it can then be re-watched again in Augmented reality, and using the Graff.io Arts AR app.
The following interview was conducted between Mono and Andy Harper from Graff.io Arts.
What was your initial thinking with the project?
As it's being filmed and which creates an interactive animation, or piece of AR that could be viewed ( which is unusual ) then it could be more about the process than the finished piece, to a certain degree. So I wanted to create a story within it, like an event happening within the technique. Not necessary a story, but more what is involved in the process and how that could be displayed as something that is visually exciting & could work back and forth.
Did it give you the chance to work in a different way ?
Definitely. When I do a mural for example, it might get filmed, or not. But to have a record that everyone can see - thats really quite different. It also links in with animation. eg to put animation on the internet... is difficult. Whereas artwork with animation that can be viewed in-situ is possibly more powerful & that's interesting to me.
Do you feel that adding AR / XR layers to a piece of artwork is important right now?
Right now, it is, definitely. it's important as we're in a time where viewing things in a non static way is more trending, not just trending but the capabilities are now there. The kit has slowly shrunk down and the platforms are there now, combining it with what I do - something in-situ and offering the potential to view back the history of its creation is a powerful thing.
Surprising for a new tech that it hasn't been pushed to a new level yet. It could be something that we have every day in the future. Some of the potential is interesting. It could affect all art in everyday in every way in the future.
Initial steps at this level are necessary, viable & exciting. There's a lot of experimentation going on. Things haven't been completely taken over, people aren't aware - so there's the chance to impress upon people a new tech that relates to previous things.
Painting murals is a very public art form. To have an extra layer to it, and to not only see the process, but the created product would then be able to be animated, and perhaps monetised of the back of that- they are all interesting possibilities.
Do you think the original Graffiti scene has changed? (~10 mins)
Graffiti has changed - Graffiti writers are now considered Graffiti artists now. The movement is considered as an art movement in academic terms now. The original ethos of doing it illegally in its purest sense is still there. Things haven't been taken over yet. Graffiti needed to change & evolve to stay interesting. It's spread from it's one form.
I think the original scene is still there though. I mean, CCTV did more damage to the original scene. We need change to prevent things stagnating. If something becomes a repetition of what it was, then it just becomes boring.
XR / AR / VR - it's just another level that is only just coming about. That the kids are extending it further.
Can you see a point in the future where all pieces have some kind of XR involved? (~13min)
Potentially I can see XR used in all pieces in the future. And it may not even be done by the person who did the artwork - ie you just saw the piece on the street - you then create a piece of XR / AR to go around it. It's a possibility - wherever the artist intends that is another matter. The Streets in general will probably become quiet augmented anyway. So who knows?
It could go quiet sci-fi with retinal displays, built into your head & you could be advertised upon when you don't want it. Hopefully that wont happen!
You've touched on something really interesting there - that it may not necessarily be the artist that adds another layer of reality to the artwork....
There's levels within AR, Even just creating a virtual tour could be done in every city and could focus on graffiti. Or it could be all the art in a city - to include graffiti and all the art galleries. That could be done by individuals in the future.
I don't think every piece will be created with the intension of having an AR focus. To understand the process, sometimes you have to go backwards. I personally do a lot of very stark, simple artwork, in the form of drawing and sketching, to go back to the root. Sometimes all you've got it just a mark and a surface. It's nice to have the ability to do that anywhere. Having the reliance on digital software could become a reliance, then generations could loose old skills.
A Window to Reality is taking high street spaces & gives artists the chance to do something which can be used as an augmented reality layer. What were your intensions in doing an installation in a small space? (~16 mins)
The first thing we have is the scale - Graffiti is normally done on a large scale - which can be easier. Working small you have to you other techniques - that alters the way the artwork goes - slightly. The AR gave me the chance to work differently - so the chance to add more process than usual. Overlaying and showing a more dynamic creation from the beginding, starting with things that I wouldn't normally do - ie to create
4D artwork. As time is involved. Needed to be more than the image - it needs lots of layers.
So there is a 4th dimension in AR. The overall image is larger but then end image is smaller. So I can expand outwards and work towards a smaller point.
Any commentary on the empty shops on the high street? (~20mins)
Empty shops is happening everywhere. A big factor of that is Internet based shopping. But also we are living in a time where people maybe want more out of the high street. They see the high st stagnating in other ways - not just in shopping - the shops are still there. But there's a lot of other aspects - life has now changed - people want to have these interactive experience a lot more.
We have had the standard of the hi-street, since Victorian times (and pre)- that has changed. We are still at the beginding - we don't know where this could go. This is an interesting beginning -we have a lot of empty space on the hi streets and people don't really know what do do yet. So it cold create a lot of interest.
It could give something to the people where so they can have a visual ref of where they're been - you could create an actual activity for people to partake in.
Hi streets are failing. Not just because of online shopping. there's more to it - the whole high street just does need modernising.
If society is completely evolving, does it feel like we're going to have to go back to basics, where towns and cities become a place to bring their goods to market, a more experimental place to commune and interact on a physical level. (~23 mins)
It could be very necessary as well as if people are on the digital world not communing it could be very detrimental for mental health. So having areas to go, not just bars to go to. We have had museums, but where do we go next? We might go backwards for a bit - We don't know yet! In some ways, this isn't any different from anything that happened in the past - as it feels new now but in the future it will just be another change that we had to go through.
Do you think that the arts could heal society?
I think the arts are aspirational - perhaps born of decadent society where people have the chance to create art freely. But having this opportunity to do things freely - maybe we should create things which are for the public more -there is a certain amount of responsibly which can be ignored. But it's nice not to!
That's what I love about Graff jams - the feeling, the energy levels seem to change in the space.
Again, perceptions from the public help - so when they go to a jam, they no longer feel threatened. It's a back and forth thing - they go to a jam and realise that these people aren't just criminals. They are just trying to express themselves.