Relics is a multifaceted artistic project based around a recurring series of short term, public-access, site-specific art installations. For the last 10 years the visual artist Matt Wright has been living in, documenting and drawing creative inspiration from the beautiful and varied landscapes of Wales. Relics will showcase his unique view on these landscapes through the first large-scale implementation of his 360º photospherical practice, where he presents high definition 360º panoramic photographs as spherical sculptures back at their exact point of capture.
For the project Matt will be visiting a number of historically relevant Cadw sites across Wales. At each location he will capture a large number of panoramic views and from these initial shoots a number of photospherical sculptures will be produced. He will then return to each selected site to install the chosen ‘viewpoint’ back at its source, allowing the visiting public to reflect upon the environments concerned and on photography’s place as a recording mechanism. During these installations Matt will extensively document the Photospheres in-situ through a variety of capture techniques. Finally the Photospheres will be brought together alongside the documentation to create a large scale touring visual arts exhibition.
The project has been designed to inspire and surprise audiences, using an innovative and accessible art form to provide a unique reflection upon the beautiful and varied historical ruins of Wales.
Matt Wright is a Cardiff based visual artist who explores lens based techniques to question human visual perception. He studied Photographic Art at the University of Wales and since graduating has dedicated the majority of his practice to exploring the creative potential of 360º imagery. Matt was a founding member of Punctum Photographic (a marketing and services co-operative for freelance photographers) and Urban Reaction Research Lab (an interactive arts agency) before recently establishing 4Pi Productions (a multimedia production company specialising in the creative utilisation of 360º). Alongside his creative partner Janire Najera he conceived & developed the far reaching Ghosts in Armour project and the award winning Dance Dome platform.
Matt conceived the Relics project as an opportunity to extend his practice firmly into the public domain. Although he has produced and installed around 10 photospheres across continents, they have always either been in hard to access or out of bounds locations. Due to this they have rarely been witnessed in-situ and have therefore existed more within their documentation. Relics will allow these captivating forms to be witnessed in the context of the environments that created them.
His practice often concerns itself with exploring the boundaries between human perception and the technological constraints of the recorded image. He uses techniques such as timelapse, slow-motion, light painting or extended exposure to question our perception of time or to make the invisible visible and he uses High Dynamic Range or 360º/Gigapixel/Fulldome capture to extend past the restrictions of human perception, opening up colour information or fields of view previously unatainable and thus new to our visual language.
“As a visual artist I am often drawn towards environments that have been lost or forgotten. There is something powerful to me in the emotive resonance of spaces left behind that have become redundant from their original use. I love photography’s ability to alter our understanding of the world and actively seek out the discrepancies between our own & a cameras capacity to record and see the world.
The Photospheres are a captivating new art-form developed over the last 10 years here in Wales. The artform was originally conceived in 2005 between Matt Wright & Chris George when the two began an artistic collaboration under the moniker WrightGeorge. Both Artists were studying at the University of Wales and experimenting with the potential of panoramic & spherical image capture and presentation and upon graduating began the development of the medium towards its current form.
Since 2008, Matt has been continuing the evolution of the artform alone, concentrating on the mediums unique attributes when the spheres are placed back at their individual points of conception. Site specific installations have been undertaken in locations as diverse as the top of an abandoned Blast Furnace in Northern Spain, pre & post demolition steel landscapes in Newport, windswept slot canyons in Utah, high mountain plateaus in Colorado & within historically relevant buildings in Los Alamos, New Mexico.
Matt is the only artist currently working worldwide exploring this unique photographic format and he is delighted to be engaging with and showcasing the landscapes which have so inspired him during the photospheres development.
In the simplest terms, the Photospheres are a full 360º photograph presented back in a spherical form. To create each sphere, a number of photographs are taken looking outwards from a fixed position in all directions, and these separate images are then digitally combined to create a master panorama which contains all the visual information possible from one point in space. These Master images are then distorted and separated into flat printed gores before being physically constructed into their final spherical form.
For capture, Matt uses a specialised panoramic head combined with a professional DSLR and a range of optics to shoot each image in high dynamic range. This is when a number of varying exposures are captured and combined to display more colour information then is possible within a single photographic exposure. By combining various exposures, the resulting images are able to display more visual information then we are accustomed to seeing in contemporary photography Each image that appears on a sphere can contain anything between 72 & 342 individual images and capturing these can take anywhere between 3 minutes and an hour. To date there have been 9 photospheres produced for the Relics project which vary in size between 1.3m and 4m in diameter. This results in the final printed surface areas ranging between the smallest at 5m2 & the largest at over 50m2, which is by far the largest print that Matt has ever produced.