#LumenInFocus: Hyperplanes of Simultaneity

#LumenInFocus: Hyperplanes of Simultaneity

Charlotte Lee

Fabio Giampietro, alongside Alessio de Vecchi, took the 2016 Lumen Gold Award for the vertigo inducing artwork Hyperplanes of Simultaneity. Superbly navigating the worlds of art and technology, Hyperplanes brings the boundary between the voyeur and the work of art tumbling down.

Fabio spoke to Lumen’s Assistant Director, Charlotte Lee about his collaboration with Alessio, his inspiration for the piece and his decision to delve into the world of virtual reality.

Hyperplanes was never meant to be an ultra-interactive experience in a fictitious dimension, rather a hypertrophic glance into the canvas itself - a process of identification with the painter.

So, you’re a painter by trade – tell me a little bit about how Hyperplanes of Simultaneity came about; what was your creative process?

I have been painting well over a decade. I get to my atelier in the morning and I start chain-smoking. Between one cigarette and another I start landing some strokes on the canvas. By that time, Alessio - who now lives in Tokyo and sleeps VERY late - also wakes up. He usually calls me up and we start talking ideas, but mostly nonsense. I stand in front of the canvas sipping beer while he turns on his workstation and drinks green tea. I send him pictures of what I am working on and he sends me screenshots. Through this daily routine we got to conceptualize and execute Hyperplanes. Each of us incarnates his respective dimension, physical and virtual. 

And these dimensions become accessible through Hyperplanes?

Yes, Hyperplanes is a project about the three temporal planes and their paradoxical simultaneity through the combination of a traditional exhibition and a virtual reality experience. 

The inspiration for this came from the block universe theory in which these three temporal planes coincide. The plane of the past is represented by my artistic production of the last decade and the VR side allows a glimpse into the future. 

So, Hyperplanes is in a sense foretelling what viewing an artwork will be like in the future? With that in mind, do you think that technology has the ability to break down the barrier that exists between the work of art and the voyeur?

My whole artistic production hinges on the concepts of 'vertigo' and 'immersion'. Vertigo isn't meant as acrophobia, but rather as a research into the voids, and I think Hyperplanes somehow fills this void, building a bridge between traditional fine art and digital art.

Immersion in this project, and in others I have previously worked on, was meant to take the spectator inside and beyond the painting. I believe, and here I quote Umberto Boccioni from his Futurism Manifesto, that through new technologies we'll be able to create the illusion of being immersed in the artwork. And this is what Hyperplanes is all about.

The subject of my paintings always lent itself to some sort of interaction on the spectator's side. Especially the "Vertigo" series. I started noticing that people were constantly attempting to take selfies pretending they were falling in the canvas. At that point I realized this body of work had potential to be broadened and virtual reality would be the way to get the point across. 

Alessio has being working with 3D for over 15 years and, given the long time friendship that unites us and the understanding of mutual artistic sensibilities, collaborating with him was an obvious choice.

When we hear about VR we immediately think of complex algorithms, programming skills, videogame-like worlds: a distinct departure from reality. This wasn't the case with Hyperplanes. We amplified the very nature of the painting.

...through new technologies we'll be able to create the illusion of being immersed in the artwork. And this is what Hyperplanes is all about.

Hyperplanes was never meant to be an ultra-interactive experience in a fictitious dimension, rather a hypertrophic glance into the canvas itself - a process of identification with the painter.

Therefore the challenge was barely technical, but human, emotional. It was all about maintaining the warmth, the haptic component of the original media, conveying the power of the brushstrokes, the vibrancy of the gesture, the integrity of the vision.

For the first time the viewer gets offered not only the point of view of the artist, but the exploration of a broader context of inspiration, that literally puts him in the middle of the experiential journey.