HYPER GEOGRAPHY BY JOE HAMILTON



Just come across Joe Hamilton’s Hyper Geography. The video fuses images of landscapes and digital technology. There’s a mix of a lo-fi jpeg textures with high-end and low-end 3D renders. There may even be a bit of live action footage in there as well.

Hamilton’s Tumblr site includes a quote from Raymond Williams which helps illuminate the focus of the work:

“What in the history of thought may be seen as a confusion or an overlapping is often the precise moment of the dramatic impulse.”


So clearly the work deals with overlapping and intersection between technological and natural worlds. It’s quite post-structural in that it ‘pulls’ at the point where the 'text’ seems to point in more than one direction. My immediate response, however, focussed less on the conceptual and more on the aesthetic, which I thought was a kind of slick but jarring digital joinery. The more I think about this theme, the more I like it. There’s a lot of mileage in the idea of digital joins and seams, visibility or invisibility, integration or disintegration.

Much high end 3D and digital imagery is all about seamlessness - if you can see the joins it means the craftmanship is bad. This leads me to think about real world traditional joinery - cabinetry, marquetry etc - and the opposing approaches to seams or joints. First is the 'artisan’ technique of constructing seamless joints (dovetail, butt, bridle, mortice and tenon and so forth). The second is the resurgent rustic or 'heritage’ technique, where you allow the construction to show through. The latter method is perceived as more 'honest’ and down to earth. It’s quite attractive to the back-to-basics hippie hipster crowd who want to bake their own bread, homeschool their children and build their own eco-homes.

The parallel between digital and wooden joinery is slightly tenuous, but I like the idea that by making seams and joins apparent, the construction of an object is highlighted. The joins leave an obvious trace of the maker and the making. Joe Hamilton’s Hyper Geography draws attention to the construction process in some places, whilst pulling off quite marvellous joinery tricks in others. It’s like a hybrid cabinet, fully assimilated in places and awkwardly co-existing in others.

Whether this supports his apparent attempt to explain how the digital is beginning to integrate with the natural is up to you… I’ll just continue thinking about digital furniture. This may be an unnatural preoccupation - the other day I was browsing 3D model library and almost bought a chair because I thought it would look nice in my flat!