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|Originally published at MaximusClarke.com
Maximus Clarke’s 3DOLATRY images represent the emergence of a distinctive approach to 3D portraiture, shaped by the influence of expressionist cinema, and the era of black-and-white screen idols.
The 3DOLATRY series addresses the artist’s central preoccupation with the formation of the individual self in a world of technological alienation and visual overload. The portrait subjects exude a sense of mystery; they seem close enough to touch, yet they keep their secrets.
All the subjects are wearing glasses of some kind, suggesting vision mediated by technical devices, and reflecting the experience of the viewer donning 3D glasses to encounter the image. The 3D format itself is both a revelation of reality and a contrivance.
Along with each portrait, Clarke created a matching deconstructed image, in which the 3D effects are deliberately miscalibrated and impossible to visually interpret. The deconstructions gesture toward the complexity of stereo vision, and the artifice of stereoscopic 3D.
The complete 3DOLATRY series was first exhibited at Devotion Gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in 2011. Enlarged versions of the 3DOLATRY portraits are on view at the inaugural edition of the Portal Art Fair, May 4-10, 2016, at Federal Hall in downtown Manhattan.
PROJECTS: AROUND THE CLOCK
This 3D video installation, created from 16 stereoscopic images captured inside the clock chamber of the historic Bank of Manhattan Tower in Long Island City, Queens, was commissioned by the Center for Holographic Arts, as part of the summer 2014 PARALLAX series.
The image sequence moves rhythmically around the interior, exposing stained brickwork and the cracked glass of the four massive clock faces, accompanied by the sounds of tolling bells and elevated trains. As each new orbit begins, viewers may contemplate the relations between the fullness of space and the quantum pulse of time; and the tension between time’s linearity — the unswerving arrow of change and decay — and its circularity — the renewal promised by each sweep of hands round the dial.
AROUND THE CLOCK offers a singular experience of grounding in four dimensions, and a rare vantage point: from the hidden center of constructed space, on the inner side of divided time.
AROUND THE CLOCK was originally presented in July 2014 at the Holocenter House on Governors Island, NYC. A remastered version was presented at the PARALLAX:PERSPECTIVES exhibition at the Flux Factory, in December 2014.
PROJECTS: AUTHORITARIAN IDOL
In a world of a billion channels, information is power… but ignorance is strength. So what happens when authority meets idolatry?
AUTHORITARIAN IDOL is an audiovisual mashup of pop, politics, and performance art. The remixed words and images of presidential candidates stand as testimony to the collision of civic ritual and media spectacle that is the American electoral system.
Hosted by Maxx Klaxon, AUTHORITARIAN IDOL combines thematically attuned electropop songs with interactive video interrogations of politicians’ digitally animated avatars. The result is a darkly entertaining satire of an infotainment-driven democratic process.
This multimedia performance was first staged at venues around the northeastern US (in New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Wilmington, Delaware), during the months leading up to the 2008 presidential election.
A completely updated version of AUTHORITARIAN IDOL was presented in a series of performances during the fall of 2012, with a special encore show after the election at the RE/Mixed Media Festival in Brooklyn.
PROJECTS: DREAMS LESS SWEET
Experimental musicians Psychic TV have produced innovative and provocative work for over three decades, blending elements of psychedelia and dance with industrial sounds.
In 2013, Psychic TV invited a diverse group of filmmakers to be part of a collectively created video work. The result was DREAMS LESS SWEET, a 75-minute film designed to accompany and commemorate the 1983 Psychic TV album of the same name.
The film includes a 3D sequence produced by Maximus Clarke. Clarke’s segment features stereoscopic video footage, which he captured with a dual-camera rig during a shadowy nocturnal journey on the Seattle monorail system.
For this film, the footage was composited and rendered in the anaglyph format. It can be viewed in 3D with red/cyan glasses.
DREAMS LESS SWEET had its premiere at the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, in the summer of 2013. Since then, the film has been screened at numerous venues, including the 20th annual Chicago Underground Film Festival, the limited-run Monkey Town Denver screening series, Brooklyn’s BAM Rose Cinemas, and thePICTUREshow in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
PROJECTS: EMERGENT HYPERSTEREO LIVING ROOM
This 3D video loop was created for the spring 2014 REAL ESTATE exhibition at Ventana244 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and reflects the show’s themes: geography, economics, and the built environment.
The piece was designed to be projected onto the gallery floor, into a collage created by artist Alan Lupiani. The projection consists of an anaglyph 3D image of Clarke’s own living room, photographed in hyperstereo (using two cameras spaced widely apart from each other on a crossbar). The resulting stereoscopic image seems miniaturized to dollhouse scale when viewed with red/cyan anaglyph glasses.
At intervals, the image is suddenly pixelated into a flat matrix of large squares, blending into the geometric array of collage elements. As the video loop continues, it is depixelated in steps, back to full clarity; the process resembles a sequence of satellite views of land being subdivided into an ever-denser urban grid. Finally, the image resolves again as a tiny dwelling space, seeming to hover just below the floor.
EMERGENT HYPERSTEREO LIVING ROOM was presented again as part of THE LUMINOUS SURFACE, an exhibition at the Mission for Temporal Art, in Marshall, North Carolina, in June, 2014, with an added audio track consisting of manipulated ambient sound. It is also part of the reprise of THE LUMINOUS SURFACE at Salisbury University in Maryland, from August 24 to October 31, 2015.
PROJECTS: MAXX KLAXON
The Maxx Klaxon project is an ongoing satirical interrogation of the psychology of authoritarianism. After the 9/11 attacks, Maximus Clarke began to expand upon a fragmentary alter ego he had first invented as a high school joke: an idealized poster boy for an autocratic regime.
As the United States moved into a period of heightened paranoia, he developed the Maxx Klaxon persona as a critique of the political uses of fear. A combination of aspiring dictator and electronic pop idol, Maxx uses music, monologues, and videos to warn against shadowy threats.
“Comrade Klaxon” promises his followers protection from enemy mind control… through submission to his own better, stronger mind control. This serves as a multivalent metaphor for terrorism, war, media messaging, hero worship, and other methods of “manufacturing consent”.
The project encompasses the creation of electropop songs, multimedia segments, and live performances, saturated with the iconography of totalitarianism. Historically evocative imagery and rhetoric serve as means to examine the contemporary realities of life in a nation consumed by an endless and vaguely defined War on Terror.
PROJECTS: PER SPECULUM IN ÆNIGMATE
PER SPECULUM IN ÆNIGMATE is a meditation on the tension between concealment and exposure in the surveillance society. It is also a functioning encrypted communications system.
The project’s name comes from the First Epistle to the Corinthians (“For now we see through a glass darkly”). Today, our desire to “know even as we are also known” by those in our social networks conflicts with our essential need for a zone of privacy. The virtual spaces we inhabit are controlled by government and corporate entities that desire to know us in full — while being known by us, at most, only in part.
During the fall of 2013, project participants sent PGP-encrypted messages to the artist. He converted the messages — which he could not read — into QR codes, and superimposed them onto anaglyph images of an anonymous model, concealed by pixelation, but still partly discernible when viewed via red/cyan 3D glasses. As images were posted to the project’s Tumblr, intended recipients were able to scan and decrypt the messages hidden therein.
An artist lecture on the project was presented at the HOPE X conference in July 2014, along with prints of the images. For details on print sizes and prices, please contact the artist.
Almost every facet of our existence is now subject to government and corporate surveillance and data mining systems. To them, we exist only as sets of quantified information — not as living beings. RENDER is a depiction of human personhood under the reifying gaze of this new panopticon.
On each of the 3 screens built into the vault-like structure, images of a woman and a man appear in stereoscopic 3D. As they are analyzed from all angles, their individual selves, and their relationship, are rendered into abstract numeric values by the omniscient surveillance apparatus.
Finally, they lose their depth and dissolve into flat, pixelated grids of pure information. The data becomes the primary reality, and the people from whom it has been extracted disappear from view. We are left with a question: Can the private self endure in this new age, or are we all just ghosts in the machine?
RENDER was developed during a summer 2015 residency at the Center for the Holographic Arts. It went on view for the first time in completed form at the 2015 Governors Island Art Fair, every weekend in September, inside the ammunition magazine of historic Fort Jay.
SLOTS is a projection-mapped video installation built around the concept of a slot machine, in which images are repeatedly combined to produce unpredictable results.
In SLOTS, conventional slot machine symbols are augmented with iconic depictions of human figures from the history of Western art. When a spin of the machine produces a winning combination, the “payout” is an interlude featuring one of various quotations. Textual sources include Andrei Tarkovsky, William Butler Yeats, a slot machine patent application, and Genesis chapter 28 — in which Jacob dreams of a ladder to heaven and a divine promise of prosperity.
The projection of slot machine imagery onto a set of stairs juxtaposes the repetitive, contained futility of the gambling device with the functional, hierarchical structure of the stairway. Among the questions raised: Is the art world a set of steps that the artist can credibly climb to achieve success and significance, or just a game of chance, in which arbitrary forces hold sway, and everything is rigged?
SLOTS was first presented as a site-specific installation in 2012 at Radiator Gallery in Long Island City, Queens, New York. A freestanding version was presented in 2014 at the Governors Island Art Fair.
Maximus Clarke’s stereographic 3D practice encompasses a wide range of subject matter: documentation of landscapes and the built environment, politically engaged street photography, individual portraiture, and experiments in photocollage, installation, animation, video, and the deconstruction of stereo vision. He regularly posts new 3D images at Parallax City.
Almost all of Clarke’s stereo images are rendered in the anaglyph format. As such, each actually contains 2 images superimposed: the image intended for the left eye is visible through a red filter, while the image for the right eye is visible through a cyan (blue-green) filter.
Viewed with a pair of red/cyan 3D glasses, an anaglyph image presents different content to each eye, achieving a stereo effect. The technique dates to the 19th century, but the images can now be processed with the aid of software, and can be reproduced accurately on almost any digital screen. Free anaglyph glasses can be ordered online. (Other types of 3D glasses will not work with these images.)
Some of the following images are available as limited edition 3D chromogenic prints. For information on print sizes and prices, please contact the artist.
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