Interview with Marcus Wendt, the Co-founder/ Creative director of FIELD

Interview with Marcus Wendt, the Co-founder/ Creative director of FIELD

DeepTime-1, a remarkable collection made up of 10 generative artworks by FIELD have just been launched on Sedition. Taking inspiration from Timothy Morton's book Hyperobjects, and essentially from the unfolding climate crisis which Morton frames as a 'hyperobject' in his book, DeepTime-1 is a subsconscious manifestation of the many questions that move the London-based multidisciplinary creative studio. Made up of 10 different 'cycles', starting with Cycle-01, DeepTime-1 explores the concept of time through digital simulations of nature in what appears as aerial views of ever changing, large scale digital morphing landscapes. This special collection marks the first release by FIELD on Sedition since the release of Forays: Object I-IV and Forays: Scan I-IV collections that have been launched in 2014.

Coinciding with the launch of their latest series, we talked with the Co-founder/ Executive Creative Director Marcus Wendt about the concept behind their new work, his latest fascinations and the updates from the studio that has just recently rebranded into 3 individual units FIELD.IO - Digital Art, FIELD.SYSTEMS - Future Spaces + Advanced Design Systems and FIELD.BLUE — Design Research for Future-Positive Products + Services.

Cycle 09 &Cycle 10, from DeepTime-1 by FIELD

Could you please tell us some of the concepts that you interrogate in your latest projects? Has anything changed after the pandemic in terms of the concepts you’re interested in or the approaches you’ve been using in your works?  

Markus Wendt: Observing nature and deconstructing its beauty into digital simulations of physical forces was what got me immensely fascinated about generative art in my days as student of New Media + Video Art at the Kunsthochschule Kassel, Germany (ca. ~2006-2009).

Creating systems made from many small modules of code that together can produce beautiful, ever-changing, complex + emergent outcomes feel like creating a small aspect of ‘life’ itself in the computer. Once you get the parameters ‘just right’, often through a long discovery + code tweaking process, the simulation suddenly comes to life — it feels a bit like magic every time again!

The formation of landscape through processes like tectonic plates colliding, erosion + dilation through rain or building and melting of ice sheets through temperature change is a theme of special interest within generative art to me, probably because I’ve always wanted to become a landscape painter.

 

Gerhard Richter, Landschaft, 1985

Our work Interim Camp, a generative film made using Processing, Eclipse + Maya in 2009 was our first moving image foray into this genre.

 FIELD, Interim Camp, 2009

Where this links up with the pandemic is the unstable and fragile nature of our digital simulations and this state of constant anxiety that seems to surround us in these last years.

This feeling is perfectly captured in Collins Dictionary Word of the Year 2022 — Permacrisis or the recent writings by Shumon Basar on the The Dawn of Endcore.

The other aspect many of us in developed countries have experienced first-hand during the pandemic is how software and the digital are slowly but surely “Eating the World”, a trend long ago predicted by famous venture capitalist Marc Andreesen of A16Z already in 2011, but now felt much more directly by a vast number of people.

Finding an expression for this feeling of relentless transformation of our natural, social and economic environment is at the core of this new body of work.

What served as the inspiration for DeepTime? Could you please tell us more about the concept and the process of the making of the recent series that is released on Sedition?

Markus Wendt: The inspiration for this project came after reading Timothy Morton’s book on Hyperobjects and probably a general awareness and concern over where we’re heading in the unfolding climate crisis.

 

In the book Timothy postulates that we’re essentially limited in our cognitive capacity to truly grasp objects so massively distributed in time and space as to transcend localization, such as climate change, although they have a very real effect on us eventually.

It seemed very tempting and ambitious to take an aspect of this huge topic and try to make it relatable to us and the viewer.

When you work with digital simulations you generally can’t recreate the fractal, infinite details of nature because that would require more than infinite computing power. So, you have to rely on approximations in your models, which can however feel conceivably realistic to give you a sense of what could happen. 

The special beauty of digital art and simulations is that we’re free to experiment and imagine alternative futures as we wish however!

Change one parameter and everything will be different. Time does not have to be linear. Scale can be adjusted dynamically. Gravity doesn’t have to be constant. Digitisation can be reversed. Nature can rewild! 

We can and do make some artistic choices here. 

The piece is meant to feel like a large-scale mural or aerial painting of an ever-changing landscape, taking a more removed point of view and reflecting on the process of transformation and the passage of time from a distance.

It is an invitation to reflect on this change and our position within it.

DeepTime, exhibited as part of TX HUAIHAI at Shanghai in 2019

Could you tell us some of the updates/news from the studio? What’s next for Field? 

Markus Wendt: FIELD itself is in a process of growth and transformation throughout 2022. 

We’ve just recently reorganised and rebranded into 3 individual units FIELD.IO - Digital Art, FIELD.SYSTEMS - Future Spaces + Advanced Design Systems and FIELD.BLUE — Design Research for Future-Positive Products + Services.

Because the nature of our studio work keeps bouncing between commercial, experimental and artistic projects, I will publish the more personal artworks under my own name - as Marcus Wendt - in the future.

There will be some bigger announcements very soon! :)

Which concepts are you looking forward to experimenting with in your future projects? Are you interested in exploring the potential of any specific subject/concept or technology?  

Markus Wendt: I think this concept of digital nature will forever be something I’m deeply interested in. In the next evolution of this work, we’d like to combine the even more unpredictable and vast qualities of AI with our digital, generative simulations.

With their abstract forms, soft colours, minimal soundtrack & movement, the works in Forays Object I-IV, and Forays Scan I-IV appeal to many senses. Besides the audio-visual experience, they also revive a tactile sensation. What inspired you to experiment with the tactility of things?  

Markus Wendt: I came to design initially from an interaction and experience design background. Exploring the limits of our perception and senses has always been highly interesting to me. Forays was literally an experiment to see how we can speak to our purely physical senses through digital simulations to tickle the brain into these odd sensations.

The interactive audio-visual experience Together, The Distance Between Us has travelled to Perth, Australia this summer and will be touring until March 2023. 

What did you intend for the audience to experiment in the immersive installation; Together, The Distance Between Us? Could you please tell us a bit about the project? 

Markus Wendt: It’s a playful + interactive social experiment conceived during the pandemic with the ‘social space between us’ as the central object of interest. 

The movements and constellations of all visitors as a group compose a unique musical experience together. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to play it - very close and intimate relationships or rather loose groups are equally rewarded. However, the interaction mechanics incentivise the visitors to shift their position and therefore experience perhaps more intimate encounters with strangers than they normally would.

Another exhibition will open at Museu del Disseny de Barcelona (Design Hub Barcelona) as part of DIIM Digital Impact from March 9th, 2023. Which artwork shall we expect to view from Field during DIIM? 

Markus Wendt: We’re working on the next iteration of DeepTime (version 2) which will run live and incorporate a custom trained AI as part of the digital painting process. It’s all work in progress, so I can't reveal too much yet!

How do you see our future relationship with digital? What excites and potentially challenges you about the future of digital art?

Markus Wendt: Although it’s currently a hotly debated topic in the digital community (and very rightly so), I’m personally very excited about the potential of the new AI diffusion-based generative tools that have shocked and disrupted the digital creative world in 2022.

In the future we will see these new tools being integrated into many new and old workflows and enable new types of experiences that were previously unthinkable or unavailable to independent artists.

 

Mentioned artists
FIELD
FIELD
Followers 673
Artworks 22