Centre for Software Research & Development in collaboration with Karachi Biennale has arranged an interactive workshop for the students of Computer Science & IT and Software Engineering departments with Dennis Rudolph, hosted by Mr. Holger Ziegeler, the Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany. The workshop held on November 26, 2021 at German consulate Karachi office. The workshop demonstrated the artist’s unique practices of connecting traditional mediums of art with contemporary mediums, such as augmented reality.
Twenty students, along with two faculty members, had the honor to attend the workshop. The students were accompanied by faculty members Dr. Raheela Asif and Ms. Asma Khan.
The workshop commenced with the artist demonstrating an AR project, Hermes’ Tears. Mr. Dennis’ artistic practice derives its primal momentum from a melancholic reworking of the heritage of western culture. The augmented reality (AR) installation Hermes’ Tears consists of three paintings: Eye of Eurydike, Orpheus Eye, and Hermes Tears. These paintings are details of larger figures that have been painted in virtual reality. They essentially work as markers for his AR app ‘Hermes Tears’. The app can be downloaded from App Store and Play Store. Once installed, the camera scans the paintings, starting with Eye of Eurydike. The paintings then appear in 3D, as seen on the screen of the smartphone. Concurrently, the tunes of Wagner’s Prelude to Lohengrin run in the background.
Mr. Dennis explained how the new media of art, i.e. AR and VR, became the main inspiration for his paintings. “I paint small details of the huge VR figures with thick oil paint, physically representing fake digital brush strokes. The paintings look abstract at first sight, but if you watch them with the AR app, you realize the painting is part of something bigger. It is important for my work to have the immaterial together with the material.”
After experiencing the emerging figures through augmented reality, the students had a brief conversation with Mr. Dennis, where they engaged him in questions around his practice. They learned how the artist, with no educational background in technology, created the masterpieces with the help of Unity engine. When asked how he’d go about preserving his artwork, Mr. Dennis replied with a smile, “I’m going to convert my art into NFTs.”
For the students, the workshop has shown a new perspective to approach technology - as an effective tool to bring new innovations in every field. It has been explored that augmented reality offers a new space for people to express themselves, complement their artworks, or simply surround their work with interactive experiences.