Some thoughts on AR in Luanne E Witkowski’s Work


How did the printmaking works lead to a project in augmented reality?

Decades ago I’d been trained in printmaking, and had been teaching alternative and non-toxic printmaking workshops, yet my studio practice had shifted to painting.  I’d moved from a traditional and minimalist approach to a mix of traditional and non-traditional materials, and applications that included natural materials, environmental installation, light and video projection culminating in a constructed dimentionality that crossed processes and layering. My work has always been informed by a printmaker’s sensibilities and approaches, but it was not printmaking.  Meanwhile, I was having some very strong printmaking cravings.  Having an opportunity to explore collagraph intaglio printmaking again recently opened up a cross-over from constructed pieces to constructed plates that satisfied a buried itch and a very satisfying return to my roots.  I began a series of collagraph intaglio monoprints that would lead to the work in Same Not Same, my current show in Kingston’s Project Space.

LEWitkowski_No.11_30x22_Archival Monoprint

My curiosity about AR arose last spring after viewing an exhibition of augmented letterpress prints from the “Disobedient Design” course at MassArt. I was really surprised by what it was and how it was applied to the prints on display.  After conversations with Martha Rettig and Sofie Hodara, the faculty and creators of CabinAR (the program and app used to create the AR) and George Fifield of Boston CyberArts about other AR apps, Sofie and Martha invited me to a workshop to learn more about it.

I decided to try it with one of my collagraph intaglio monoprints and was quite entertained by the possibilities and results.

LEWitkowski_No.4_30x22_Archival Monoprint

What do you think are the intersections between the printmaking process you use and the technology for AR?

Layering!  I really enjoy the layering involved in constructing the plates, and then the layerings possible in the actual printing process. In the AR I created for the Same Not Same No. 11 print, I used layers of the actual materials used in creating the plate to ‘float’ them ghost-like off of the image they were used to create. It was an interesting concept and the Project Space’s premise of allowing for experimentation and investigation within our art and practice gave a big nod to exhibiting it there alongside what I consider a successful series of prints in their own right.  The surprise for me was learning that the CabinAR app was strong enough to recognize not just the “marker” print, but the plate! So it works on all five of the prints created using that particular plate (#s 6, 7,  8, 9, 11) regardless of color, inking and additions to the prints themselves.

What may be future projects where you use this technology?

I’m still not sure how I feel about AR as applied to works of art. I want people to look at the pieces up close and personal.  I’m not sure I care for looking through a ‘device’ (phone/tablet)  I can see it as an educational or environmental or activist tool though and may explore those options as I go forward.

Margaret Hart: Situated Becomings is on view in the Kingston Main and Center Galleries and Luanne E Witkowski: Same Not Same is on view in the Kingston Project Space through October 27, 2019.

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