Watch the IG Live with Alex Gibson and Chelsea Yuill from April 15.
Alex Gibson’s Untitled (Garden) series blends animation, glitch, and photogrammetry to create surreal compositions that illuminate queer futures.
A technology that is primarily used by architects and geographers, photogrammetry is the art and science of producing digital three-dimensional models from objects, structures, and spaces. Gibson uses a smartphone camera and an app to access this technology to scan flora, fauna, garden structures, and the body. The resulting scans are fragmentary images of organic forms and living beings. This real-world imagery, along with pop culture animations, merge in the three-dimensional open-source software known as Blender where the image further evolves through manipulation. As a result of this digital process, image quality is lost and what emerges are glitches, or random malfunctions in image data. The disruption and lack of definition becomes a metaphor and affirmation of queer and non-binary existences. At the same time, these looping compositions ask speculative posthumanist questions that seem more pertinent than ever: what does it mean now and what will it mean in the future to exist beyond the state of being human?
Further merging physical and digital worlds, Gibson distributes this series as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) through an online platform where artworks are bought and sold using the Ethereum cryptocurrency. At a nascent stage, NFTs are at once controversial and revolutionary. For many artists and collectors, this decentralized structure makes it easy to bypass artworld gatekeepers, offering an alternative stream of income and community. Gibson’s engagement within the crypto world, like many other queer artists working within it, acts as a reclamation of a space within a realm conventionally dominated by heteronorms.
Where there is a world, there is an image, and Gibson reminds us that the radical potential in digital imagery is in its circulation and ambiguity.