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Live canvas: digital interface as creative medium

Al-Taee, N. (2019) Live canvas: digital interface as creative medium. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00084824


In the context of ‘digital art’, an interface is the threshold between the artist and the digitally mediated artwork environment. A combination of hardware and software components working in collaboration to provide a form of artistic ‘existence’ within the production process. The continuous processes of digitising the artist’s actions and undigitising the medium’s responses as visual results and systematic feedbacks, forming a trilateral relation (artist-interface-artwork). This research examines whether this form of relation has any role in the final artwork, and also considers the possibility of employing this relation to form a different artist-artwork relation. The outline of this thesis is as follows: Firstly: a historical and theoretical analysis of the idea of ‘Interface’, is presented and is followed by a technical and visual analysis of selected artmaking approaches and relevant artworks. The second aspect of this project presents a new digital interface approach, titled ‘Live Canvas’. ‘Live Canvas’ attempts to transform the artwork from its position as mere receiver of the artist’s intentions and ‘end result’, to an active element or component of the interface itself. By providing the digital canvas with a range of realtime visual and tactile sensors (including heart rate, body temperature and facial expression) and a processing system, ‘Live Canvas’ attempts to return or replay the processed data as a visual structure of effects ‘performed’ directly on the artwork, which in turn reconfigures its structure while the artist continues to work. ‘Live Canvas’ was then tested as a series of performances where the use of the interface and the interaction between the different elements was itself seen as the artwork, experienced both in terms of observable ‘results’ and future potentials. Often the artworks presented the possibility of a more radical operation of interfaces and the ability of the human body to adapt to new forms of interaction in unexpected ways. Thinking through the possible changes, for instance imagining adjusting the colour or the brightness of the tools, the interface recorded a very clear response on many occasions. These dialogical interactions are presented as the artworks themselves.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Russell, J.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Arts and Communication Design
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Art
ID Code:84824

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