It is what it is

Introducing an exploration of the in-between, this series of 100 hand-made Luminograms is an experiment between analogue and digital. These works pay homage to the concrete photography movement, a form that seeks freedom from representation, focusing on the materiality of the medium itself, to create art that is simply itself, in accordance with Max Bense's observation of concrete art as the non-abstract.

It is what it is at Untitled Art booth in Miami 2023
‘Dimensionality’ exhibition by TENDER

It is what it is at Untitled Art booth in Miami 2023
‘Dimensionality’ exhibition by TENDER

In the context of the release of this series, Charles Damga from Foundation and Marcel Schwittlick had a talk about some of the background. Read it here

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In this collection, we delve into the curious realm of Luminograms, an exploration uniting the worlds of photography and generative art. The project is a humble experiment, a gentle probe into the nebulous spaces between the analogue and digital, where the concrete meets the abstract. Drawing inspiration from the traditions of concrete photography, this series offers a glimpse into a domain freed from the constraints of representation, where images are liberated from their duty to depict, instead existing solely as themselves. It's a journey into the sensory discrepancies between the human eye and the photographic paper, where we perceive continuous light, while the paper reveals the undetected flickering of a laser. This process is a deeply immersive dance between the artist, the apparatus, and the algorithm, an exchange that engages the body, the mind, and the heart, and resists externalization or mass production. The guiding light in this adventure is the book Generative Fotografie, by Gottfried Jäger, which explores the transformative potential of the photographic apparatus and the emergent aesthetics of algorithmic art.

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Influenced by the ideas in the book Generative Fotografie by Gottfried Jäger, these Luminograms reveal how the human eye and photographic paper perceive differently, the latter capturing the fast pulse-width modulation (PWM) flickering of a laser that our eyes miss. This series represents a passionate exploration of the interplay between perception, the medium, and the algorithm.

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In the words of Megan Ringrose, "The concrete method proceeds in the opposite direction, inductively. It starts with the particular, 'nothingness', the non-visible, for example, a thought, an idea, and allows a new 'object' to emerge from this: a complex whole, a construct. The resulting image is new, visible, yet quite different... It is something unique; it is itself."

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These Luminograms, therefore, are neither icons nor symbols. They are not representational, but rather, they are a new form of reality. They are the result of an immersive process that involves the body, a process that cannot be externalized or mass-produced. It is about the conception of the apparatus and the algorithm, a form of 'apparative kunst' where the device determines the style. As such, these artworks capture the essence of the 'gestalterische zielsetzung der photographie', the artistic intention of photography, where the artist is an integral part of the process.

A WIP shot from the process. A regular green laser is moved over photographic paper, exposing it to light- drawing with light. In the next step, the paper is developed and fixed using the usual method of photo development.

A selection of editions right after drying

A typical 5v laser attached to a pen adapter fitting a plotter

Connected to a simple arduino circuit for turning the laser on/off using PWM

The DIY photo-lab

The setup: A vintage Roland DG DXY-1200 plotter & a lab PSU for variable voltages

All editions of the series are on ILFORD MGRC Multigrade PE paper

With three different finishes: glossy, satin and pearl

Click for high res scans

TLDR; These 100 pieces were created by plotting with laser pen on photo paper in a darkroom setting.