Studio Days: Visual Communication

Joana, Jin and Christina share a common interest in the consequences of a total immersion of human lives in the digital world. Their workshop, titled ‘Phygital World’, invited young people or ‘digital natives’ to reflect upon, explore and challenge the gaps between physical and digital spheres.

The day began with an exploration of situations where the digital and the real meet and merge, or where a physical action transforms into a digital one. The group played iPhone Ping Pong, in which phones become bats that simultaneously record the game. Afterwards, they laid out their devices and watched the recording, tracking the ping pong ball from screen to screen. Next, the group were asked to describe qualities of a range of materials. They were then asked to list characteristics about themselves on post it notes and made physical connections (with tape) between the material qualities and their personal descriptions to create a kind of map 2D/3D map.

The group were then introduced to their task: to create a 3D and a 2D self-portrait. Christina invited pairs to digitally scan each other using a 3D scanner, whilst the rest of the group created a 2D portrait exploring their characteristics. They used tactile materials to build up a collage on acetate that was then 2D scanned — they played with the different potentialities from the scanner to enhance their compositions such as changing light levels or dragging their composition slowly to blur the image. They noticed changes such as textures having a different quality in reality and when digitised. Jin, Joana and the group discussed how their physical presence has been converted into the different digital dimension with a file size rather than a physical weight.

After lunch students were presented with a physical print out of their 3D scanned portraits and 2D scanned portraits. They discussed what was lost or gained in each and how their 3D scanned images made them all look the same. The session concluded with a game, similar to Pictionary, inwhich the group used emojis to try and ‘spell out’ popular sayings. This emphasised how information can be lost or misinterpreted in digital realms. All the scans were complied into a publication and sent to the schools after the workshop.