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sougwen chung's 3D avatar conjures serpentine sculptures in virtual reality in GENESIS

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genesis: a series of speculative machine constructions

 

At the intersection of art and technology, Sougwen Chung’s GENESIS explores the synergy between the human hand and the robotic form as the two evolve into new spatial and temporal orientations. The collection is the first chapter of a growing library of forms, a collection of speculative machine constructions sculpted through a bespoke virtual reality process guided by the artist’s avatar. In a cinematic symphony traversing between sculpture, drawing, and dance, suspended mechanical drawn lines unravel to reveal chromatic, serpentine forms as they echo the intricate choreographies of Chung.

 

The gestures are collected as movement data culminating in a ground-breaking spatial dataset forming the foundation for the upcoming D.O.UG._6 AI system, posed to advance the creation of symbiotic machines. ‘I’ve been thinking about hybridity – of artistic mediums as well as machine systems. Artistic mediums that span from a dataset of 3D lines; lines that operate as drawing, as sculpture, as dance. A process of sculpting and thinking about not just the drawn line, but what the future of the robotic form can be. An embodied process to create different speculative machines of my own imagination,’ Sougwen Chung tells designboom. Returning the marks-made-by-hand in virtual space back to tactile materiality in the physical realm, a series of 3D printed sculptures resembling liquid mercury were then produced and installed in collaboration with Bulgari in Milan. The first of these datasets was debuted at Art Dubai Digital 2024 on February 28 with HOFA Gallery alongside the first NFT drop.

sougwen chung's avatar manifests serpentine sculptures in virtual reality
all images and header video courtesy of Studio Scilicet (unless stated otherwise)

 

 

from virtual reality hand drawings to 3d printed sculptures

 

For Sougwen Chung, drawing serves as the foundation of human communication, shaping understandings of time and envisioning both past and future. I’m drawn to the expressive gesture, and I’m always trying to push and translate it, whether that’s through robotics, or biofeedback or virtual reality. Experiencing it through performance, or in the studio on canvas, they share. With GENESIS, this fundamental concept is taken to new heights allowing for the exploration of drawing in novel multisensory and multidimensional experiences. The artist’s LIFE/LINES process forms the basis of this collection, leveraging spatially recorded gestures to generate digital geometries for physical fabrication.

 

By utilizing technologies such as virtual reality fabrication and motion capture avatars, the movements of Chung’s body are recorded and rigged to a virtual 3D avatar. In this immersive virtual performance, the digital sculptures are given shape. These are brought to life through diverse techniques ranging from large-format 3D printing to custom chrome plating, creating sculptural representations of abstract serpentine forms for the debut installation in October 2023. Suspended within the room, they mirror the liquid mercury texture, with their contours refracting the intricate process on the surrounding walls. ‘These constructions are inspired by living organisms, by bio-engineering, by insects, by the natural world… they are research artefacts for different ways of thinking about what a machine can be beyond the robotic arm,’ notes Chung.

sougwen chung's avatar manifests serpentine sculptures in virtual reality
Sougwen Chung unveils GENESIS

 

 

sougwen chung enhances human-machine collaboration

 

GENESIS spotlights the integration of sensory processes and machine intelligence to shape perceptions of the mark-image relationship, while utilizing technologies such as infrared, lidar, and positional sensors. As such, the research project establishes a new foundation for an integration of embodied cognitive processes, rooted in the belief that novel sensory processes can create new speculative forms. This convergence of art and technology unveils new forms of expression, demonstrating the potential of spatial sensing and human-machine interoperability in shaping emerging artistic intersubjectives.

 

Reflecting on the role of AI in art and their practice, Sougwen Chung shares:‘To me, the artwork isn’t the finished image, it’s the process. How do we find ways to think beyond the image? Generative AI models are trained on images; finished representations on a 2-dimensional plane. The relationship of text prompt to image generation is interesting, but in that relationship, the gesture, the mark, is erased. A sense of embodied authorship, perhaps.

I’m trying to push back the despair of erasure of the line, and really celebrate the mark-making process by reinventing it. What gives me hope about the future of art is knowing that there are still really vibrant and interesting ways of engaging with creative technology and tools. The processes I create aren’t about replacing a medium, but creating a whole new genre.’

sougwen chung's avatar manifests serpentine sculptures in virtual reality
exploring the synergy between the human hand and the robotic form as the two evolve into new orientations

sougwen chung's avatar manifests serpentine sculptures in virtual reality
the motions of Sougwen Chung’s body are recorded and rigged to a virtual 3D avatar

sougwen chung's avatar manifests serpentine sculptures in virtual reality
suspended mechanical drawn lines unravel to reveal chromatic, serpentine forms

genesis-sougwen-chung-VR-NFT-designboom-w2

sougwen chung's avatar manifests serpentine sculptures in virtual reality
the gestures are collected as movement data culminating in a spatial dataset for the upcoming D.O.UG._6 AI system | image © Nikita Paslshkov

sougwen chung's 3D avatar conjures serpentine sculptures in virtual reality in GENESIS
GENESIS utilizes technologies such as virtual reality fabrication and motion capture avatars | image © Nikita Paslshkov

sougwen chung's 3D avatar conjures serpentine sculptures in virtual reality in GENESIS
inspired by living organisms, the constructions give shape to serpentine forms | image © Nikita Paslshkov

sougwen chung's 3D avatar conjures serpentine sculptures in virtual reality in GENESIS
the first NFT drop was unveiled at Art Dubai Digital 2024 | image © Nikita Paslshkov

genesis-sougwen-chung-VR-NFT-designboom-1800

sougwen chung's 3D avatar conjures serpentine sculptures in virtual reality in GENESIS
GENESIS Forms

 

video courtesy of HOFA Gallery

 

 

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the GENESIS process, from virtual reality drawings to 3D printed sculptures
the GENESIS process, from virtual reality drawings to 3D printed sculptures
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project info:

 

name: GENESIS (Stage 1)

artist: Sougwen 愫君 Chung

studio: Studio Scilicet 

location: Milan, Dubai

production: Sara Casella, Tessa Nijdam
sculpture production: Aardvark Studios
fabrication lead: Patrick Shillenn
supported by: Bulgari
 
LIFE/LINES film (header):
 
score: Aquarian
film direction: Kevin Peter He
film technical direction: Eric Chang
film Production: Zerospace
unreal artist: Daniel Sierra
mocap lead: Sammy Sords
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