Feeding Consciousness presents the most ambitious exhibition to date by leading digital artist Dominic Harris
Harnessing the magical, fantastical and the sublime, Harris invites the viewer to explore his intricately created worlds, igniting imagination and offering a glimpse of the infinite. Harris’ visual inventions have been digitally painted by hand through a painstaking process that is comparable to traditional oil painting, though his use of technology as a means to produce movement and interaction, creates an immediacy with the viewer that no ordinary still life ever could.
Harris’ landmark innovation, and namesake for the exhibition, is a 10-foot digital sculpture inspired by the Biblical story of the Tower of Babel. Harnessing Artificial Intelligence and datasets, the artwork acts as a sculptural feed of the country’s collective consciousness, presenting the top five trending subjects on Google’s UK search engine. The topics dominating the communal psyche (but not necessarily deemed official news) are splashed across the tower’s 180 LCD screens and accompanying split-flap Solari display.
Immersive Scale Installations
Five works will be presented in an entirely immersive space, specially cocooned within Halcyon’s new home, that allows Harris’ worlds and characters to completely envelop the viewer. Endurance is a 360 degree immersion into a hyperreal Antarctic landscape imagining the terrain traversed by renowned explorer Ernest Shackleton. While conventional VR environments requires the viewer to don headsets and other sensory proxies to transport the human subject into its digital space, Endurance needs no hardware. Harris places the human as the master of that environment: upon his or her actions, which are registered and interpreted by sensors and code, the viewer is witness to their own influence on changes in climate and wildlife, consequently exposing the fragility of these pristine environments.
In his immersive multi-sensory installation, Elements, Harris focuses on his beloved butterflies, which for the first time have taken on unique identities representing the five fundamental components of the universe: Elements of Wood, Earth, Water, Fire and Metal. As the butterflies move and interact, they remind us of the interconnectedness of all things and the need for harmony in our relationship with the natural world. The viewer’s sense of total immersion within the artwork is completed with a spatialized interactive soundtrack in which each of the 5 elements are sonified, and the collective shifting of butterflies translated into a dynamic audio landscape.
Dominic Harris is a digital artist who approaches every new artwork subject with a keen curiosity and a unique perspective. Drawing on his background in design, craftsmanship, architecture, and the natural world, Harris begins by delving deep into his chosen subject matter, uncovering histories, patterns, and other valuable perspectives that inform his creative process.
Harris initially sketches his visions on an iPad, combining hand-drawn lines, photomontage and other digital tools to virtually sculpt and test ideas before engaging the more sophisticated software which defines his unmistakable style. He is aided by his sizeable team who occupies a veritable warren of workshops, research and testing labs at his Notting Hill studio.
Harris's artworks often feature real-time responses and interactivity, layered with complex or hidden meanings. Harris considers the viewer of his pieces to be a ‘performer’ or ‘collaborator’ of his artworks. This role reversal of the viewer becoming a performer within the artwork is a powerful tool Harris uses to engage the audience and create a deeper connection between the viewer and the artwork. By breaking down the traditional boundaries between the viewer and the artwork, Harris's pieces become more than just passive objects of admiration – they become living, breathing entities that inspire and delight.
Harris’s ultimate goal is to achieve a synergy of beauty and a unique digital experience. Once the lengthy process of development, assembly and installation is complete, the new owner of a Dominic Harris artwork must live with each piece and learn it in all its states. Whether a butterfly or a landscape, each artwork is infused with subtle nuances and behaviours that can only be fully appreciated through observation and engagement. His creations serve as a reminder of the beauty and complexity of the world we live in, and encourage us to appreciate and protect the natural world around us.