American artist and conceptor of this artwork Matthew Mohr, speaks to us about this incredible interactive artwork “As we are”, which forces us to look at ourselves, “as we are” …
A 14-foot sculpture that displays a larger-than-life image of your face. It is located in the Greater Columbus Convention Center, Columbus Ohio.
“As we are”, the power of technology in service of art…
What is your source of inspiration for your “As we are”?
As Claes Oldenburg did with common objects, I work with small, common moments to recontextualize them as larger experiences worth interaction and examination. My process is highly defined and includes desk research, qualitative research, and meditation. And although I work with technology, I’m much more interested in humanist ideals and moments that near-universally defines our lives.
“As We Are” addresses the relationship between self and representation of self, asking the subject of the portrait to reconsider presence through magnification. It is intended to provide amusement and evoke larger discussions around the phenomena of social media, diversity, and the power dynamic of public art.
What kind of technology, technical or software used for this project?
The sculpture was engineered and fabricated by an amazing team at Design Communications Limited of Boston. Jeff Grantz, Tom Saylor, and Mac Pierce at DCL are utterly fantastic and great to work with. Other companies that contributed crucial expertise include Direct Dimensions which created the imaging software using the photogrammetry process. Sansi North America custom engineered the LED screens just for this application, and Creosphere developed the interface and tied together with a number of disparate technologies. It’s the first of its kind in many ways and if I might add, this is only the beginning. There is added functionality that will come to light in the next couple of years.
Why did you create this artwork? Reason for creating this artwork?
Any good public art delivers a visceral reaction with added layers open for interpretation. At the root level, most people are having fun with “As We Are”. Some find it very intense, some find it creepy. It ties into the social media aspect mentioned earlier.
The sculpture also has a democratic nature. Everyone displayed has been in the booth. All are welcome. After their portrait is shown, it is added to the database and displayed randomly based on an equal distribution of skin tone. I worked with Fringe22 on community research and branding to represent respect for all who visit Columbus and give an opportunity for residents to make the sculpture theirs.
Why can this artwork be a source of inspiration for others?
I believe in the power of technology in service of art. The concept, meaning, expression drive the work and the technology should disappear. The relationship between digital/physical interaction and form is a magnificent conversation that has been with us for eons and seems only to become exponentially more exciting and important with every new expression.
I’m fielding a number of queries around installing of “As We Are” in other cities. The possibility of a cultural exchange is very exciting. I’m also interested in new expressions through art-focused corporations and individuals. Much is in the works.
The link to Matthew’s website is http://matthewmohr.com