Monday, 29 July 2013

57th Rome

^Two pieces from the "57th Rome" 3d-printed Ceramic Collection

There was this old history doc on More4 the other day that had these really bad early cgi fly throughs of a super low-res version of Carthage. They were going on about how grand it had been, rival to Rome, how violent the siege had been, what a loss to the world its destruction had been etc. But its huge circular harbour, its acropolis and its piled up buildings were all rendered in badly bitmapped cylinders and rectangular extrusions, and everything was blurry-edged and a bit fuzzy cos the animation had been really badly de-interlaced. It felt more like Mario64 does Carthage with a faulty graphics card than anything else. It was gorgeous though. I’ve always liked ruins and their reconstructions, they always get me thinking and guessing about what this bit was, what that bit did, who lived in it, what was the world like then. This kind of did that, I mean just hinting at Carthage is enough to set your fantasy-loving mind off on a Game-of-Thrones-like bender, but it was also like another kind of reconstruction, of the early digital era, of when I was 12 and CD-Roms were new and we played Myst, a time that seems hazy and as impossibly remote as the colonnaded agora in which the Carthaginians sacrificed their children to the fire. The ancient Mediterranean meets antiquated technology, with somehow the former being infinitely more sophisticated than the latter. Take a Carthaginian column and you’ve got a stack of amazing sculpture, its capital, fluting, entablature, it’s all rich as hell. But then stick it through the filter of early computers like they did in that documentary and it gets completely changed. It gets reduced to a kind of even more ancient, prehistoric sort of primitiveness. The fluting goes, the capital loses everything except its bounding box, the entablature becomes a flattish surface. It’s a double ruin. The city got reconstructed from the ruins of its story, its traces, but the limit of the animator’s tools meant that in a way they ruined the reconstruction, instantly joining together for all eternity, in perpetuity, through the vehicle of that animation, a certain moment in the sped-up technological time of the 90s, and the pungent era of epic mythological time of Carthage and Rome. I think we should try and do it more often, what that animation did. We should reconstruct things that we are obsessed with from the impossibly distant past: things, objects, buildings. We should reconstruct them with all the modern tools at our disposal, knowing full well that we are ruining them in the process. Ruination through making. Fabrication Technology as Time Machine that transforms the past. Amphorae, Oil Lamps, Candelabra; NVidia Quadro, ZCorp6500, Photoshop CS6.

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