Self-Pixellation

In his recent work “Papercraft Self Portrait”, 3D artist Eric Testrole did something really cool for Halloween. He pixellated his own head!

It was kind of inspired by big-head mode seen in videogames. I really wanted to get the faceted geosphere look with wireframe.

He’s been a character designer in the video game industry for nine years, so this is a case of life now mimicking his art, as his skills having now ‘absorbed’ his very being. Very spooky. Here’s how it happened:

The head was created from a blocky 370 polygons, using 3ds Max
A model was created from a blocky 370 polygons
He then used Mudbox 2010 and Photoshop CS3 to add texture
Texture was added to match his appearance using PhotoShop
He then printed, cut and folded up the pieces using high quality paper.
The ‘polygons’ are printed, cut & glued together

The finished result is the surreal creation you see prowling the streets in the below Flickr photoset. Hit fullscreen for best effect:

Conclusion

I set out to assess the implications of a wholly new medium, one which had received little academic attention written from a media theoretical perspective. I made clear use of an industry connection to gain inside knowledge of the developments occurring to bring this medium to the mainstream. Building a methodology that could sustain the level of analysis that I hoped to achieve, I observed the interactions between technology and industry, market forces and cultural influences. Having positioned my subject at the crest of a curling wave, I employed critical media theory to explore the potential implications of my subject in its wider context of social reality. This ambitious task has granted me insight into how the complex interactions of various fields give rise to social change. Along the way I have revealed seams rich in potential for further analysis.

McLuhan is proven to apply to yet another medium, the perspective he offers served my analysis quite well. A further exploration might make use of his Acoustic and Visual Space probe, Cavell’s basis for McLuhanistic spatial enquiry in his book McLuhan in Space (2002) would be a good starting point for such work, since it applies McLuhanism to the media of time and space, thus a good start for work on the presence of virtual objects. Media analysts occupied with screen design might wish to extend Bolter and Grusin’s (1999) work on remediation to the emergent Mobile AR technology, perhaps from an explicit digital gaming perspective. Those with interest in advertising or business as applied to Augmented Reality would do well to continue Benjaminian thought to its logical end: manipulating a virtual object to hold added-value for commercial enterprise. Those with a more creative bent might enjoy a study of the public perception of AR artworks using Benjamin also. There is scope for research into AR-based social interactions; gaming styles; immersion and identity formation, but this sort of work necessitates that first Mobile AR spends at least some time in public consciousness.

Finally, I believe that I have convincingly laid out an argument showing that AR is currently being developed and packaged as an entertainment technology, but its potential for community-driven, self-proliferating excitement of user-created content makes AR a significant and culturally-transformative technology. Convergence between media types will enable and drive the creation of innovative content which if successful will itself rely on new ways of accessing and viewing content and ultimately new forms of content and user experience entirely. We are at the crest of a wave. Will it wither and let a larger wave pass above it, or will it grow to reach tidal proportions? Despite my predictions, only time will tell.