Machine vision allows autonomous objects to sense the world around them. These machines then use their vision to make instantaneous spatial decisions — avoiding obstacles on city streets or more efficiently arranging objects in a retail storage warehouse — but also to record the world they inhabit. They are thus both navigators and documentarians, scanning, recording, remembering. In the process, these machines build up a digital version of our world to produce a model that we ourselves increasing rely upon, a copy supplanting its original, a replica becoming mistaken for what it was not meant to replace.
The lecture will explore what it means for machines to sense the world alongside us — even as those very machines also reshape this world for their own perceptual needs.
ScanLAB Projects observe the world through the eyes of these machines. It is a pioneering creative practice founded in 2010, half art studio half research laboratory, led by artists/architects/technologists Matthew Shaw and William Trossell. Their primary medium is 3D scanning, a form of machine vision that they argue is the future of photography and much more beyond. As the electronic eyes for billions of mobile phones and driverless vehicles, 3D scanners are the cartographers of the future. By critically observing places and events through the eyes of these machines their work hopes to glance at the future we will all inhabit.
Matt Shaw, co-founder of ScanLAB Projects, will talk through recent projects re-enacting photographic expeditions into Yosemite National Park, discovering Mayan civilizations, charting the asylum process in the UK, and digitally archiving spatial events. His background is in architecture, digital fabrication and speculation about digital cities of the future. Over the last five years he’s been turning the relentless, machinic eye of the 3D scanner on anything and everything from giant mirrored sculptures, Arctic ice floes, Roman Sewers to graceful dancers.
The evening will begin with a lecture by Matt Shaw and will transition to a conversation with Geoff Manaugh — writer, founder of BLDGBLOG and the author of A Burglar’s Guide to the City.
The day prior, on Aug 5, Geoff Manaugh will be joined by writer Nicola Twilley to discuss quarantine as a kind of human-exclusion zone as part of Spatial Fictions of Quarantine event.
LIDAR Storytelling is part of a larger series of The New Normal public events at Strelka marking the end of the three-year research program and think-tank. Curated by program faculty, this series will investigate some of the core themes of the program, defining the new contemporary condition we call “the new normal”.
The lecture will be held in English, with simultaneous translation into Russian.
For accreditation — firstname.lastname@example.org.