Unclaimed from Chris Coleman on Vimeo.

"Unclaimed", Interactive Installation, 2015
part of the Denver Biennial of the Americas "Now? Now!" Exhibition at the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art
Curated by Lauren Wright

Laleh Mehran and Chris Coleman are fascinated with the air space between a city’s roofs and the lower troposphere used by aviation. This is one of the last truly unclaimed territories: it is not controlled by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, not privatized, and is mostly occupied by birds, kites, and the occasional drone. In a sense, the space is shared internationally: the molecules above Denver mix up with those coming from above Buenos Aires. The artists produced a material visualization of the unclaimed space where the viewers breath across the roofs of a city model will cause disturbances in the rise and fall of the physical layer of air in the gallery.

Technically the project uses many open source tools. The city is a collection of several hundred buildings modeled in Blender (and freely available here: https://www.thingiverse.com/digitalcoleman/collections/unclaimed-models ). They are printed in biodegradable PLA on the LulzBot Taz5 open source 3D printer. The central computer listens to 9 microphones connected to a Teensy microcontroller and is running an application made in OpenFrameworks. The application then communicates to two other Teensy microcontrollers, each controlling 98 computer cooling fans via i2c and a series of relay boards. An Arduino controls the DMX lighting in the room which cycles through the colors of a full day every 10 minutes. Two HD cameras positioned above the ceiling of fans feed real-time video to two monitors at each end of the room, providing another perspective of the evolving shape of the unclaimed space.

Digital Derivatives (404 Festival Edition) from Chris Coleman on Vimeo.

In the Digital Derivatives project, I 3D scan members of the public in order to capture their data. I then distill and refine the person's data in real-time until the essential unique features barely remain, turning them into a simplified shell which is then printed in 2D and shared with the visitor. The project is connected to a long history of portraiture and more specifically street caricature drawings. As opposed the way these drawings exaggerate a person's features to make them "ultra" recognisable, I was interested in how much detail I could remove from a person and still have them recognise themselves. It is connected to our digital representations, especially the ones we shape in social media platforms. We distill who we are into happy parents, fancy food eaters, and world travellers for the world to see, but it is the thinest slice of who we are. I am also interested in how 3D scanning provides a new type of "picture" of people, often slicing them into pieces, removing them from any context with the result being an infinitely thin hollow shell.

Above is a quick video showing many of the 160 portraits created during the 404 Festival 2015. I used a Structure 3D scanner to scan each Visitor and then ran the model through a 8-12min. process in Blender to customize each portrait and then print (in 2D) and share them. With these images I use a very digital aesthetic carefully tuning the surface quality and polygon decimation for each person, an isometric perspective, and then choose a background color based on my artistic sense of who they are.

See all the portraits here: http://bit.ly/404Fest

Find instructions and a sample Blender file here: https://github.com/digitalcoleman/polyPortrait

Music by HWLS: 004 w/ Noah Breakfast (https://hwls.bandcamp.com/releases)

METRO Re/De-construction from Chris Coleman on Vimeo.

Sound Design by George Cicci
METRO is a journey, beginning outside and moving inwards. Sometimes enveloping and sometimes sparse and shattered, time produces forward motion and simplification. It is documentation of a physical space, captured millimeter accurate coordinates, colors and varied textures. Several real journeys have been digitally distilled to become a beautifully abstracted experience, not unlike to the disconnection one has while riding public transport.
With a handheld 3D scanning device and a laptop, the artist rode the Denver Light Rail as he does every day for his commute. The train was scanned by walking through the car from one end to the other while en-route and train stations were captured with short strolls between stops. The fragmentation and gaps in data are defined by the physical bumps, speed, and curves in the journeys affecting the hand of the artist while scanning. While the final models are still, they are in fact documents of time, perspective and perception. In this way no two scans will ever be the same; each is documentation of that unique body on that particular journey.

Shot with PrimeSense Carmine and Skanect. Rendered in Blender Cycles with the help of render.st

A newly produced 4-wall version has been created with new editing and surround audio. It is available in 4 channel 1080p. Below is a combo video collapsing all into one 1080p stream.

Evidence of Intensive
Set of 6 Digital Archival Prints, 2013
84cm Wide x 180cm Tall
Collaboration with Michael Salter
Edition of 2 with 2 artist proofs

These prints were created as part of a process over the 5 week journey across China. We gathered photographs, icons, ideas, and colors. Michael Salter used digital illustration and photographic manipulation. Chris Coleman wrote 12 new pieces of software that destroyed, altered, interpreted, and remixed all the materials. Together they arranged and choreographed the final prints and then had them printed in China and then carried them back to the US.

Early image of an interactive 3D visioning collage software written for the project.

Two of the prints framed at Plus Gallery in Denver CO

In early 2014 Two of the pieces becoame billboards at the corner of 14th and Champa in Denver CO

Transitional Fragments
Collaboration with Laleh Mehran
Hybrid Media, 2013

In the Anderson Academic Commons at the University of Denver, the three floors of the maps make up three differing explorations of “what a map is, has been, and may become.” How do we define where we are and the importance one place has over another?

We have used a series of procedural (generative) methods to describe texture, form, and pattern for components of all of these works. The artworks also contain a sort of mathematical imagination of world’s appearance and arrangement.

The Mercator Atlas maps were a source of inspiration for Transitional Fragments. These famous maps were drawn from memory and human perception. They reveal the evolution from an analog experience of the world to an increasingly Cartesian space.

As we have shifted from the sort of mapping created by walking or sailing across the world, we have invited digital mediation into the description of our world. Satellites tell us where we are and rescan each inch of the globe every several days to further define the spaces in which we exist.

On the top floor we see the perspective of the satellites, yet in this case, they are unable to capture the landscape below. The atmosphere provides temporary cover to those in the streets, leaving them to the mundane or the revolutionary paths of their day, untracked. Only the upper echelon remain in view, atop their skyscrapers, connected to the tools that allow them to have “the big picture” as they ascribe the flow of material and information. From this perspective, transparency is not broadly empowering – it is a panopticon. Both the sun and this omniscient point of view are blocked by the storm. It is in the shade that true flux and progress can happen.

On the main floor, we capture progress and inscribe it into a terrain. The topology is digitized and left a step away from the analog smoothness of reality. The arrows are drawn from human and animal migratory patterns, the spread of cultures and languages, and from viral vectors. They speak to acquisition, conquering, and digesting new territories. Within the frames, we see a divide, a shift from a singular linear path to a delta of options. Or perhaps instead we see many paths narrow down to one – intermeshing and refinement.

On the bottom floor, you will find an array of structures – all subterranean. They describe major underground resources spanning the globe. Resources in which we start wars over and define where people can and cannot live. Resources that shape the evolution of humankind. They have been unearthed, exposed, and remolded so that we might understand the extent to which this terrain defines more about who we are than the mountains and seas.

Tumultuary Regions Abroad from Chris Coleman on Vimeo.

HD Video, 2013
Sound Design by George Cicci - soundcloud.com/evasdad
Far above information is gathered, collected, processed. From this vantage point, borders are data points, just more manipulations of the land below. Territories are clearly demarcated, and where there is unclarity, there is tension. Over time, the information is the landscape, there is little need for physicality - it is just digested and stored like everything else. The engine is ever hungry.

The Geometric Boundary Structures.

Single Channel HD Video, 2012
collaboration with Laleh Mehran

The act of invasion is called exploration when the more powerful entity recalls history. When entering new territory a great deal of caution is required as micro-particles can easily penetrate, changing the current biology permanently. Through modern technologies we can view from a safe distance to decipher, categorize, and influence without being affected.

The Glorious Light of Reason.

Created for the Denver Arts District Digital Billboard in Denver CO
Made with After Effects

The W3FI is a social movement, a philosophy, a path to responsible connectivity between our online/offline lives and to each other.

Every day we find more and more of our lives integrated in the digital world, no longer able to lead separate lives, one virtual and one real. This means that we have to take control of and responsibility for how others see and relate to us in the digital world. We are proposing a new philosophy, a new strategy for our online interactions. It is called "W3FI," a combination of WiFi, the word "we" and the slang use of the number 3 in place of the letter "e" to reference the digital parts of our lives. Currently people already consider WiFi to be a sort of invisible shared connection that is all around us and shifting it to "We" indicates a new awareness of how interconnected we really are online. The W3FI project is much more than an awareness campaign, it is a movement in social activism to ask a new set of questions for each of us every time we click, text, or share a photo.

Borrowing from a Buddhist path to enlightenment, the project will take the participants through a journey of understanding starting with consideration of how their digital self (we are using the term "S3LF") impacts their everyday lives. Next they see how connected all S3LFs are and therefore how every action affects the S3LF of others; how their S3LF is a part of the W3. The final step is to decide to move from being a passive part of the W3 to being part of the W3FI, the collective of S3LFs who lift up each other by interacting positively, with encouragement, help, sharing, and understanding. In this way we address issues ranging from cyber-bullying to open-source knowledge.

W3FI will exist in real and digital spaces, educating and linking people; online it will be represented by websites, pages and identities in the various social networking realms. Offline we will have a traveling exhibition, where engaged learning allows for introspection about the participant's personal and global roles. Data and social networking information about the region to link the local to the global; tweets, statistics, and past visitor information will all create ever-changing landscapes of image and text on walls.

We believe the power of an activated learning experience offers a pathway for moving forward together in a world where more than 3 billion people carry a possible connection to everyone else in our pocket.

For more information please visit thew3fi.com

The following images are from W3FI in Santa Fe NM as part of the Currents New Media Festival.

Points of Volatility

In Points of Volatility the endlessly generated horizon offers the promise of boundless space and resources, however it is all a machination, an illusion.  The slices are reminiscent of statistics and daily stock market indices, ever shifting like a harsh white noise. No matter how many claims are made to predict and control the plethora of information streams, time and space have been sliced into so many nano-segments that the human mind can only make vague divinations about where we are headed.

Points of Volatility is an endless landscape machine that uses laser cut profiles of Colorado mountain ranges, a modified industrial conveyor belt, and tilt sensitive spheres with LED lightning strings. Two small surveillance cameras transmit live views of the landscape to a pair of projectors.

This project was made in conversation with Brandon Vogt, Assistant Professor of Geography at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. The exhibition in which this piece premiered, "Hypothesis," was organized around pairing up scientists and artists to look at the connections between the ways each deciphers the natural world. When learning about Vogt’s research I was struck by the visuality of it, as well as the micro and macro examinations he explores within the academic framework of “Geography.” We worked together to imagine the machine and he provided the topographical slices used in the work. The spheres of lightning were an attempt to make physical the mathematical theories he has been working on to understand where lightning will strike. In these veins of research we are often limited to probabilities and forecasts as the full complexity of the landscapes can never truly be systematized; it is here in these spaces where art and science fold over one another as we attempt to decipher the world around us.