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  • Inventing New Modes of Digital Visualisation in Contemporary Art
  • Eugenia Fratzeskou (bio)

In my latest research and professional fine art practice, I focus on the invention of new types of digital visualisation for advancing fine art. In particular, I have developed a new mode of volume-based computer 3D modelling for advancing digital media art, through investigating the mechanisms of computer 3D modelling and the ways in which they affect the visualisation of a computer 3D model. I have thus rejected a superficial focus on the end product of computer 3D modelling. The infrastructure of a computer 3D modelling system is highly heterogeneous and complex, affecting thus the outcomes of computer 3D modelling in unexpected ways. Consequently, paradoxical forms and geometry emerge when using such systems. The outcomes of my research into these systems have undermined and surpassed the existing modes of digital modelling, visualisation and simulation in art.

Volume-based computer 3D modelling is widely used in architecture, science and art, as it facilitates the advanced creation and visualisation of digital 3D volumes and their geometry through direct and simple transformations. Despite the apparent simplicity and ease of using computer 3D modelling systems, their infrastructure is highly complicated as it has several heterogeneous levels. Consequently a large number of complex data conversions occur from one level to the other during the modelling process [1]. William J. Mitchell and Malcolm McCullough present a concise description of the highly heterogeneous levels of a computer 3D modelling system, their basic elements and operations [2]. I have adapted their description as follows:

  1. 1. Drafting/Modelling System:

    Lines, solids etc.

    Insertion, selection, deletion, transformation.

  2. 2. Numerical Model:

    Co-ordinate vectors, transformation matrices.

    Addition, subtraction, multiplication, division.

  3. 3. Binary Model:

    Bits, bit vectors (0,1).

    Boolean operations, binary arithmetic.

  4. 4. Hardware:

    Logic circuits.


The data conversions between those levels are not only highly complex and abstract but also inconsistent because of the numerous heterogeneous levels, elements and operations of that infrastructure. In their separate reviews, the software engineers C. Hoffmann and Vadim Shapiro explain that the conversion errors occurring between those binary, numerical and graphical levels are a major recurring problem in those systems [3]. Consequently, the outcomes of computer 3D modelling are contradictory and disproportional to the quality of user input. The visualisation of a computer 3D model is therefore highly inconsistent.

Through my practical experimentation with computer 3D modelling systems, I have invented an in-depth visual analysis of the ways in which digital 3D volumes become irregular because of the problematic mechanisms of those systems. I have also identified new types of irregularities in digital 3D volumes. An irregular digital 3D volume has non-manifold boundaries, as its geometry is inconsistently defined by the system. In particular, the faces of a digital 3D solid cannot be explicitly defined, while the connections between faces, edges and vertices cannot be fully determined. These inconsistencies can be visually recognised in a variety of ways. The faces of those solids may become fragmentary or self-intersecting. Irregular edges that connect less or more than two faces or points may also appear. Compound solids are also generated, as the original intersecting or subtracted solids cannot be fully integrated together as one solid. The colour, geometry and position of the original solids can be therefore deciphered in the resulting solid. Moreover, the faces of that solid are overlaid and thus the interior and exterior sides of the solid are not well determined. The geometrical elements of that solid may be also disjoined, causing tension on the surfaces of the solid, which results in shaded and folded faces or fragmentary edges. Consequently, new paradoxical forms and geometry emerge due to the inherent irregularities of computer 3D modeling systems.

The irregularities of computer 3D modelling that have been discussed in this article are the most important computational problem that occurs in all digital visualisation applications and computer systems that have a graphic interface, as all those have similar computational infrastructure. The outcomes of my research facilitate the expansion of digital media art in terms of revealing new types of visualisation and interaction with digital 3D forms, while developing a wider discourse on the role of digital visualisation, modelling and...


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