FIELD speculates on the future of algorithmic entanglements

Author
Published

Topics

FIELD is a studio split between its headquarters in London, and a recently established satellite office in Berlin. They excel in generative design and immersive interactive experiences. Not limited to computer generated graphics, the studio also experiments with photography, physical objects, and the blend of all three mediums, as in Quasar, a VR experience complete with bespoke headdress-like helmet designs. FIELD was co-founded by Vera-Maria Glahn, the Managing Director who is also the lead producer, and Marcus Wendt, the Creative Director responsible for the studio’s conceptual prowess. However, the duo wear multiple hats, becoming involved in different parts of the shape-shifting beast that is digital art production. Wendt is also an avid photographer. His self-initiated photographic explorations, such as the hyperreal neon flora of Suprachromacy, undoubtedly feed into the overall aesthetic of the studio.

FIELD’s point of difference from the plethora of 3D whizzes that flood Instagram with trend-focused work, is the studio’s emphasis, not only on technical quality, but on a solid conceptual foundation in their work. It’s rare to come across a studio that employs emerging technologies and operates in the sweet spot between more academic artwork and pure commercialism. Too often, the visual fireworks are not backed with much substance. FIELD has proven that they can create large scale interactive work that big brands love, such as Unique Flow for Toyota, or the Track + Field projection for Nike. But, they also leverage their experience to make room for more speculative work. Such experimentation is essential to maintaining an inspired creative practice. All the more so when it comes to the field of emerging technologies, where new breakthroughs and work-arounds seem to appear every week.

Hidden Layer is one example of FIELD’s animated meditations that use the tools available today to contemplate future horizons. It’s the first in a series of films set to investigate the effects of the increased influence of machine learning algorithms on human subjectivity. Hidden Layer showcases FIELD’s special ability to use abstraction, colour, movement, sound, and digital materiality to make invisible processes visible. The film’s title refers to the layers between inputs and outputs in artificial neural networks used to train machine learning algorithms. While this term refers to a complex technical process, FIELD’s visual speculation is intuitive and aesthetically charged. An androgynous woman clad in Issey Miyake’s Pleats Please — the  fabric that still signals innovation — is suspended in a liminal space. The transparent panels and twisting wiry forms suggest a structure of concealed computational processes. Suddenly, the pattern bursts apart, throwing the relationship between human and machine into further confusion. Hidden Layer is precise in technical skill, yet open to interpretation — a perfect mix. Find more thought-provoking work from FIELD here.