PORTRAITS OVER GCHAT is a collage of internet portraits, the backers of this project its participants. I'm raising $25 to cover the cost of materials (drafting pencil, small sketchpads, adhesive, and posterboards), and sending everyone an image of the final work tonight.
Check out the video to get a sense of the set up!
What is this project about?
In some ways this is just an experiment in images created by a series of translations. An array of lenses and screens will serially transcribe your portrait -- the lens of your laptop or phone's camera, the pixelated image on my screen, a prism capturing your lighted image, reflecting it on the page below, my phone's camera recreating the portrait -- my hand being the last part of the transcription process.
These several mediating layers will collapse the distance between you and me as I trace your portrait in the final step. By achieving that closeness, however, something else is being exchanged: with every replication -- through each looking glass -- something about the person's image has changed. As George Kubler described the actuality of the present in The Shape of Time, these changed moments are "infinitesimally small but ultimately real."
I'm also interested by how this alters a typical sitting experience. Even though a webcam carries private connotations, I imagine that this will be more mechanical than intimate. Overall it may resemble the mundane aspects of contemporary culture: you may not see me drawing you; you will see me looking at my phone; this will be over gchat.
Risks and challenges
As opposed to drawing from life, I'm drawing from an image saturated by the light of my laptop and phone. While this makes the image clearer to draw, it also makes me blind to my hand. For most of the time that I'm drawing your portrait, I'll be focussed on adjusting my laptop screen's brightness (some of this depends on the brightness of your environment) and re-focussing my phone's camera.
These portraits are also super gestural (i.e. there's a good chance you won't recognize yourself), but I'll try to faithfully reproduce what I'm seeing!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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