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During my first half of the second year in the bachelor in fine arts in film I took the elective course “Drawing as narrative” with Behjat Abdulla. During the course I got interested in working with augmented reality as a digital overlay on a drawing and I went into the final project wanting to make a drawing that somehow incorporated this. I wanted to examine the relationship between the digital layer and the physical drawing and how the process of creating these two layers would shape each other. Having worked with programming, AR and VR and towards the internet before but not in any bigger project of my own I realised that the project would also be somewhat of a public artist statement putting myself in relation to these technologies. I decided this artwork will be a personal introduction of me as a digital artist.

I started with the picture of myself on my GU card as this felt symbolic to my current art studies and also practically a personal identification key to the resources of the school. I printed it out, ripped it to pieces, taped the pieces to a board and scanned them to the computer. I then rearranged them until the notion of a face had almost disappeared. I then set up structured lines in Photoshop, drew lines with the same measurements on the canvas we had received and transferred the collection of pieces to the paper. The pieces still had details from my face but in the drawing process I decided to make every piece in a dark grey color using charcoal and a loose lead pencil. I then fixed the paper to be able to draw more on it. After that I painted the rips with white acrylic as I found this to be an interesting detail of the pieces and something I wanted to direct attention to. At this point I felt finished to a certain degree, but I also felt that the drawing was not strange enough. The sense of too little estrangement in the painting came out of my own split feelings towards working with tech, digitization and the screens we have around us. I wanted these feelings to manifest in the painting. I then cut stencils out of paper and wrote with black spray paint “Not strange enough” on the drawing. I felt this more clearly declared my way of feeling towards tech. A way of saying that the situation is complex and a message to the viewer of the drawing to look further.

While doing this I had also started testing what the digital layer could be. Early on I decided I did not want to work with any external material such as video or computer generated graphics. I had all the pieces scanned so I started to cut them out digitally and then put them into Adobe After Effects. I had some idea of what I wanted, something flickering and with the feeling of being unstable. I made all the pieces flicker and rotate using a wiggle expression. This generated the effect that you could now see pieces that had previously been covered by other pieces. Also the text written on the drawing is now only partially visible when putting the digital overlay on top which was something I liked. I used the app Artivive to host the augmented video overlay and this is also how you can view the final product. Download the application and point your camera to the image of the drawing and it will show up.

You can also see the process in its whole incompleteness at this link since I used my website as a public documentation diary.

Elective course - Project documentation