Professor Clarkson will hold his first solo exhibition in Japan

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Exhibition “Everything from here to infinity” by Alex M. Lee

Still image from the exhibition “Everything from here to infinity”

From April 29 to May 6, 2022, Alex M. Lee’s first Japanese solo exhibition will be held at Hakusen Gallery, Tokyo, Japan. In this exhibition, the visualization of data in virtual reality will be honored. Lee, who is an associate professor of digital arts and sciences at Clarkson University, takes the data produced by the most comprehensive survey in the known universe, The Sloan Digital Sky Survey, and visualizes it as brushstrokes digital abstract expressionists. Lee invites viewers to visit the known universe with a heightened sense of presence by wearing the virtual reality headset.

This project is inspired by surrealist writer Jorge Luis Borges’ short story, On Exactitude in Science, in which an empire made a map so large that it encompassed the entire empire itself. A metaphorical equivalent of Borges’ tale that speaks to our present moment and the abstraction of our reality to cosmological scales is the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.

That’s about 100 terabytes of data on every celestial object from here to infinity. A random sample of 10,000 stellar objects is pulled from the database for viewing at any time. The user can walk the entire map in virtual reality, from the Milky Way to the cosmic luminous horizon, which is about 13.8 billion light-years away, finally ending in a barrier made of an image of the cosmic background radiation.

The objects depicted in Lee’s exhibition are depicted as abstract expressionist brushstrokes. These brushstrokes can represent galaxies, quasars, and intergalactic dust. This is the most complete map of the universe known to date. There is also a sound component to this VR experience. Audio is taken from sonifications by Jon Jenkins made from Kepler star observations, University of Birmingham resonant acoustic oscillation recordings of stars in ‘M4’, and recordings of cosmic background radiation . The Doppler effect – where a sound can be said to move towards or away from them – can be observed when users move closer to or further away from sound sources.

Lee commented that his work “is an investigation into the possibilities of digital imagery in an increasingly technical and automated world”. Lee uses the technologies of science, science fiction, mathematics, physics and modernity to create his works. His work is endless, which adds to the abstraction of time, perception and space. He plays with software and manipulates algorithms to find new visual possibilities. “The work,” he says, “uses relatively effective looping, slow pacing, and stillness.”

Alex M. Lee is an artist who uses 3D animation, video game engines, virtual/augmented/immersive reality platforms, machine learning and the potential of simulation technologies to investigate contemporary fashions of representation, artifice and technical images – from internal concepts. science, physics, philosophy and modernity. He obtained his BFA (2005) and his MFA (2009) at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the United States.

Born in Seoul, South Korea, Lee grew up in the United States and is currently an associate professor in the Computational Arts and Sciences program at Clarkson University. He divides his time between his work in Potsdam and New York.

Lee has exhibited internationally in North America, Europe and Asia. Selected exhibitions include: Trinity Square Video, Toronto, ON; Mio Photo, Osaka, Japan; Daegu Art Factory, Daegu, Korea; Eyebeam: Center for Art and Technology, New York, NY; LEV Festival, Madrid, Spain; Elektra Festival, Montreal, QC. His work has been published in articles spanning art, science and culture including: Metaverse Creativity, Smithsonian Magazine, Routledge Press and Canadian Art.

To learn more about the Alex M. Lee exhibition, click here.

To learn more about the work of Alex M. Lee, click here.

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