My latest work is an introduction to a new direction of combining analogue photography with new and interesting digital technology. It is based on the ‘obsession room’ in my 2016 exhibition Une Femme at Huis Marseille, museum of photography, in Amsterdam. In this white cube constructed in the middle of this rather ornate location, over one thousand small photos (8x10cm) were exhibited in close proximity. The pictures show objects from the life of the exhibition’s main, Beirut based, narrative character, M. Khiar, against a white background. It details the obsession of the photographer with M. Khiar’s daily life and is set against their mutual experience of conflict, in M. Khiar’s case Lebanon’s civil war and in the photographer’s case, his war photography.
Now, the overwhelming feeling created by these images all grouped together in a large white space can be experienced at home, or in any location of your choosing, though the miracle of Apple’s latest augmented reality (AR) technology. Simply open it on your iPhone or iPad and transport yourself to M. Khiar’s obsession room.
While analog methods possess the ability to generate nuanced tangible expressions that are challenging to capture using easily reproducible and shareable media, I am currently engaged in an experiment within this domain to integrate the digital aspect. There exist two versions of the augmented reality (AR) piece: one residing online, accessible and viewable by anyone, and the other residing within a physical box. Over a span of 99 days, the online version gradually deteriorates and becomes unshareable, while the boxed version, having retired from the digital realm, gradually unveils an increasing number of images. This progression is facilitated through the utilization of blockchain technologies. Access to the artwork is exclusively granted through the porcelain medium, thus reinforcing the original concept behind blockchain, which is to create something truly unique.
To introduce this new work and anchor it to its analogue roots, I have created unique sets of twelve randomly selected photos from among these images. The sets of twelve photos are being presented in porcelain boxes finished with an engraved aluminium band and with an etched photo on the lid.
The use of NFTs, each unique with its own code, echoes the uniqueness of each analogue print, which will always show slight variations and tell-tale characteristics despite an effort at consistency. The AR obsession room opens up a new way of looking at what was initially and expressly an analogue work. Yet, the link with the objects remains tangible and authentic through the photos and the incredibly durable porcelain box.
This artwork is intended to fund my upcoming project, which will involve filming using Kodak motion picture film stock. The project will be projected using analog projectors. Currently, KODAK VISION T Color Negative Film is priced at $791 for a 304-meter roll, which yields approximately 10 minutes of footage. Based on a rough calculation, purchasing this artwork will fund approximately 3 minutes and 20 seconds of filming.
Summary of the work: 1 handcrafted porcelain box signed and numbered by the artist which contains: 12 printed images on silver halide paper, each one of two editions + artist proof 1 Augmented reality digital work from an edition of 333 eventually only accessible through Blockchain technologies and engraved code on the porcelain box.
Pre-sale price. The objects are made in batches and take a long time to make. The next batch will be ready end of January.