The history of the computer has always held at its heart a dream that one day it would be possible to mathematically simulate the physical world so precisely as to generate graphics which would be indistinguishable from reality.


As technological capabilities have edged towards this absolute realism, there are visual artists working at the fringe of what is currently possible, creating short films for a lively community on social media platforms, often accompanied by tutorials on how their simulations were achieved.


After developing an interest in this community while working with computer simulation and modelling in their own respective artistic practices, Andreas N. Fischer, Sascha Pohflepp and Chris Woebken conceived the exhibition Island Physics, to be set in on Governors Island, building 15, currently operated by Eyebeam Art & Technology Center, and one of several small houses made seasonally available for public art projects.

In a former dining room, tracking markers remain on the wall as if demarcating a testing-ground for alternate realities and impossible happenings. Island Physics evokes a space between the real and the hyper-real, an island where the laws of nature may well be completely different.


Using video footage shot at Building 15 as the visual basis for their pieces, the five selected artists – Kai Kostack, Moby Motion, ANF6000, BlenderDiplom, and blazraidr – each created simulations which were then placed in the space where the original footage was taken, displayed on screens positioned to match the vantage point of their respective piece.

Island Physics installation Video. Governors Island, Building 15. August 23 - 24, 2014.

As a curatorial project, Island Physics aims to develop an aesthetics of realist computer simulation, but also to act as a survey for the largely overlooked community of hobbyists and technical enthusiasts who create artworks as a means to demonstrate new software capabilities.

While these works originate from a place in between conventional artistic and academic worlds, and could be regarded as mere technical demos, they often have a unique aesthetic – a sublime that emerges from the hyper-accurate rendering of scenes ostensibly surpassing realism to become their own dreamlike, hyper-realities.


Participating Artists:

Floating Fluid Particles - Blender 2.71 - blazraidr

All images courtesy the artists, curators, and Eyebeam Art & Technology Center.

A selection of works from Island Physics will return to Governors Island for Eyebeam-Off-The-Grid, an exhibition also featuring Ingrid Burrington, Torkwase Dyson and Marisa Olson. 6 September - 28 September 2014, Building 15, Nolan Park, Governors Island, NYC