I don’t know why I’m so fascinated by these low-fi 3-D mapped objects—a messy room, a dirty sink, a solitary bowl of ramen, a pair of feet. But the more I look through this Tumblr account, the more I see our future. The future of open world video games. The future of Google Maps. The future of cheap digitization of the world around us. And the future of the way we actually experience that world, through our Internet-connected phones, laptops, and tablets, most of the time.
It's the omniscience of compression.
This is the work of Akihiko Taniguchi—everyday objects that he’s digitized in 3-D using a Kinect. When I emailed Taniguchi to ask him more about his work, I’ll admit to encountering a frustrating language barrier that didn’t allow me to understand the full intent and nuance of his work. (Though to be fair, his English is a lot better than my Japanese.) But I did learn that he works with a collective of artists working in the Internet Reality Study Group, who’ve created the exhibition Internet Art Future.
They’re preoccupied with what they call "Internet Reality," or the modern world in which people have been born into an instantaneous, collective, digital consciousness as the norm.
"We discuss the presence of human beings in the Internet, and human embodiment in the Internet," Taniguchi writes.
With that philosophical tidbit in mind, you can begin to glean some intent behind Akihiko’s simple Tumblr, Recording of Everyday Life. His 3-D photos, sculptures, scenes—whatever you’d like to call them— index the analog world into the digital.
But it’s more than a catalog. The textures of a microwave or a sink are imperfect and clearly not real, but the access you have as a viewer, in spinning a scene with the shift of a mouse, is incredibly immersive all the same. We’re drawn into a representation of our own world so that each image becomes a microcosm of the Internet itself.
Nowhere is this perspective more clear than when in a related project (above), Taniguchi went so far as to map his own Internet browsing to a 3-D model of his desk and laptop in real time. He’ll claim no specific message behind the piece—and it's certainly not meant as a joke—but it seems to highlight the disconnect of the virtual experience. He’s not just browsing the web through a computer. He’s browsing himself in the real world browsing the web through a computer.
Is it absurdity? Is it realism? Is it hyperrealism? The only thing that's for certain: It's Internet Reality.
[Hat tip: Creative Applications]