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FRAGMENTED REALITY

AN INTERVIEW WITH DIMITRI DANILOFF

Dimitri Daniloff is a Barcelona based artist who has moved from pure photography into the virtual world, aiming to explore the relationship between human consciousness and the digital void. In a world that is becoming ever more virtual. In a tell all interview with he VR specialist, we uncover Daniloff's journey through the arts and the development of technology in the arts.

"Please start by telling us about you."

Im a French artist based in Barcelona who is curious about everything. I consider myself to be a 'Plastic Photographer' exploring 3D, video mapping, projection and when none of these existed I was using a lot of photoshop. 

I've been around for a while, I won the Grand Prix award in Cannes. My work is mostly about the extension of possible outcomes. I try to go over the limitations of body and thought which is why tools like retouching and 3D are so necessary to my practice. Starting with 2D such as photography was never enough for me. I try to go over the limitations of body and thoughts.

"Tell us about your Digital Landscape series."

Digital Landscape is an exploration between Photography, Video Mapping and Projection. There is no 3D at all in these photos, it's all shot in camera. The idea was to create minimal landscapes inspired from the zen garden, where a line is represented of a natural scape. Colour and vibration will convey a certain sensation. It's the essence of a landscape, but entirely artificial.


"What I love is that my 3D work is situated in a tridimensional universe. I can combine anything I want from the real or virtual without limitation."


"Your work very much lies within the realm of technology, how does technology allow you to convey the ideas you have in your head?"

Tech and Art is progressing ever more quickly, and as technology is developing I am provided the opportunity to explore new aesthetics. Technology can also decree new aesthetics both for technological art and fine art. I've never been scared of technology, but I'm not a tech nerd either, my interest lies in pushing the limits of what I can create.

In 2003, I got my first digital camera to make my creative process easier instead of scanning analogue images to play with them in photoshop. Photogrammetry is some kind of 3D photography; with it I can import an object and import it into my 3D programs. The imported image allows me to change the colour and texture, my photoshop work has become more skilled and more elaborate with Photogrammetry. What I love is that my 3D work is situated in a tridimensional universe. I can combine anything I want from the real or virtual without limitation. 

"Virtual Reality is very much where your work feels at home."

VR is a great space for creating my images and sculptures; some people have a studio to work but my work is all int he Virtual. I can sculpt reality and use the real world as a raw material to physically sculpt turning it into a print or 3D object. 

Virtual Reality has become an extension of the real world and in the virtual world is becoming ever more real. The virtual and the real are complimentary to one another and ultimately becoming merged.

"Your photography lies beyond the Real. There is always something otherworldly about your work. Are you an escapist?"

Haha no i'm not an escapist! Im down to earth and I love reality, but to understand reality, I need to question it. That is why I put so much effort into details such as skin in my Virtual Reality artworks. It is a way to bring people back to reality when facing something that doesn't feel real. I am constantly questioning the appearance and what we see. 

The funny thing is that the real world is looking more digital, if you look at all these filters on your phone they are designed to play with your image. Im doing just the same thing.


"What I find to be most profound is how human consciousness can intersect the ever virtualisation of our world."


"Tell us about your Human Unlimited series."

Human Unlimited is about a new way of conceiving image. 3D has always been about making this digital world look real, but I am interested in the reverse effect; taking things from the physical world and making them visibly virtual. The series aims to immerse the viewer, to get the visitor closer to my characters. To go beyond Photography is fascinating to me.

I wanted to stay close to The Milkmaid, by Vermeer (1658). I thought this painting was reassuring – because of her human proportions – contrasted by the boundless digital universe. And this window through which we see the real world reassure us as well, it connects us to what we know. I was also inspired by mythology: I like looking from above, thus placing the virtual man in the position of a God.

I aim to push the limits of 2D image by creating a picture which exists in two different formats: turning us into actors and spectators. 

"And how does the juxtaposition between virtual and reality come into play particularly when using a human subject?"

I try to go over the limitations of body and thought, especially in this series. In this ambiguous universe between 3D and realism, there is a space where you can choose your appearance, you are not limited by the body. The reality of both worlds interests me, as the virtual space opens up, I explore what is possible with the technology.

I wish to show our ability to become gods through the digital universe. We are able to get past our earthly body, we can be here and there at the same time, or have a fragmented identity, and real only parts of it. Those images show our imperfections through a digital rendering, being imperfect is what makes us human.

Human Unlimited questions the future. Virtual future is merely the disappearance of the boundary between the real and virtual worlds. We create a doppelgänger who lives in a virtual zone, perhaps soon our virtual self can live independently; and I'm interested in what our world would be like if that were possible. Would we be able to navigate between one and the other? Or would we merge and become one? And in the ‘virtual’ zone, we may reach immortality, thanks to data accumulated throughout our lives. It is clear from my work that im attempting to understand the crux between virtual and reality, but above all what I find to be most profound, is how human nature and consciousness intersects the. Im fascinated by the virtual meeting reality but above all, what I find to be most profound is how human consciousness can intersect the ever virtualisation of our world.

"How did you get started with Photogrammetry and how does it aid your work?"

I work in a shared studio in Barcelona and we had Occulus when it first came out. We did a couple of workshops to create VR experiments and that was my first encounter with Photogrammetry. To be honest, l wasn't convinced at first! The quality and process was quite poor and i'm used to a certain standard of definition because of my digital cameras. I didn't want to be defeated by something new so I began to investigate. 

I got more and more involved but craved that level of quality that I had in my photography. Now i'm doing Photogrammetry with Metashape.

"Are you a surrealist?"

I wouldn't say im a Surrealist as such, but the surreal does come into play in my creative process as I don't follow any reason our logic. I start with a vision and build from there.

This series is in collaboration with Tamal de Canela. A special thanks must also be made to to Ladislas C. for Brush work.

Discover Dimitri Daniloff's website and Instagram.

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