By Meghan Power
Through the process of photogrammetry, my body was captured first in 2D, through photographs from all angles and then that 2D data was converted into a 3D object file.”
The exhibit was presented in real life at Broadcast Labs, Arts Commons, Calgary and online, as a digital exhibit, in a virtual reality space, an alternative for those who didn’t feel safe attending a public event during the pandemic. The in-real-life gallery space was photo captured through photogrammerty and then converted to a 3D virtual space that could be “walked through” and experienced in a more immersive way than just watching a YouTube video.
Photogrammetry literally means the act of deriving precise measurements from photographs. It involves taking a set of overlapping photos of an object, building, person, or environment, and converting them into a 3D model using several computer algorithms. Originally developed by the military, today it’s being used by architects, interior designers, in film, by celebrities, and by people who have a presence in the metaverse. According to Uii, this technology is still relatively new: “There are no studios in Calgary that can do photogrammetry. I had to work with specialists at Scanlab, a studio in Vancouver. The body scan took about 30 seconds and cost about $2200.”
“Without this funding, this project wouldn’t have happened. Digital mediums are expensive—there’s specialized equipment, technology, software, and sometimes an artist needs the assistance of a digital specialist. CADA’s funding was essential in allowing me, an emerging artist, to explore and push boundaries with digital mediums and virtual spaces.”
Uii feels an immense amount of gratitude for the funding received: “This funding gave me the ability to push the boundaries of a medium that’s new for me, in a way that aligned with my artistic integrity. I think I was also looking for a sense of justice, as a queer artist who felt particularly vulnerable during the pandemic, having to adjust to being in a constant state of physical restriction—how I navigated real-life space. And, on another level, the distorted, blurred reality between real life and the soft-core metaverse that we have all been living in, through our social media networks.
“I’m excited to see the interest growing around photogrammetry. There are still no studios in Calgary, but I think my work has helped to generate curiosity around the technology and generate conversations amongst my peers, who may not have considered it as an artistic medium before. I’ve met a lot of folx through this work who are interested in exploring how to bring 3D into their artistic practice. I feel like my work is helping to make way, in the Alberta arts sector, for new ideas about how 3D technology can be used by artists.”