Minnesota artists David Bowen and Brett Smith use computer imaging and cinematic illusions to create dramatic shifts of scale in real and virtual environments. These artists are interested in how space can be both immersive and disorienting.
Bowen's elaborate interactive installations are based on digital data gleaned from remote locations, translated into physical forms and movements. His hypnotically complex exhibition, "Underwater," is at the bleeding edge of technology and interactive environments. An Xbox Kinect has been collecting data from the surface water of Lake Superior for months. This information has been fed into a complex motor-controlled grid structure that is suspended from the gallery ceiling. The grid will rise and fall, corresponding to the collected wave data. When visitors stand under the structure, they will see a fascinating contrast between the natural undulations of the waves and the mechanical movement of the aluminum rods and motors.
The title of Smith's show, "Superimpostor," could be the name of a comic-book or movie superhero; an inconspicuous worker by day becomes a crusader for good by night. This kind of superimposition, in which a person takes on two roles but struggles to keep them from overlapping, fascinates Smith; he wants to know how the facade is made and maintained. Smith has an encyclopedic knowledge of science-fiction special effects and hand-built cinematic sleights of hand used to create illusions on film before the widespread use of computer-generated special effects. Visitors will see expertly crafted scale models of seemingly familiar movie sets using mirrors to create expansive and deceptively realistic lunar landscapes.