The Sea of Ice12


The Sea of Ice – Berlin, GER Personal Work

Painting: The Sea of Ice – Caspar David Friedrich
Location: Latitude: 52.480493 Longitude: 13.391947
Type: Augmented reality
Scope: 3D model, stereoscopic images

Software used: Maya, 3ds Max (VRay), Photoshop.

The images presented here should be best viewed with anaglyph red cyan glasses for the stereoscopic effect to happen.

When I was wandering around in Berlin the newly opened to the public landscape at the former Tempelhof Airport really fascinated me, while living close by I made some excursion around this huge empty space, being mostly flat with the exception of the actual airport building in the distance. This vast landscape fascinated me, recalling some romantic images by painters like Caspar David Friedrich with his desolated landscapes where the observer seem to always shrink and watch what is in front of him in awe. While the park had such an atmosphere it was always to me still lacking some kind of attraction, something to focus the attention onto to get closer to a feeling of the sublime described by Edmund Burke and Immanuel Kant or even in the paintings of C. D. Friedrich.

In regard to this connotation I came across the image The Sea of Ice – The Wreck of Hope from 1823-24 by C. D. Friedrich. In the image’s centre shards of ice are piled over another in a broken ice sheet, becoming some kind of abstract tombstone for the ship’s wreck visible on the right side buried underneath, with its stern being the only thing left sticking out of the surrounding icescape. The paintings desolation, wreckage and illustration of collapse and failure in the context of nature fascinated me while I was mostly interested in the resulting form of the ice shards with their different directions and diagonal composition in the otherwise flat landscape.

Fascinated by the shapes I started to rebuild the image in a three-dimensional space transforming all the information I could gather from this single point of perspective inside of a 3d software turning the two-dimensional painting into the third dimension. This method certainly always leaves some difficulties and mere assumption with it, which I don’t want to extend on right now. Here should only be mentioned that the ship’s stern is one of the only clues for the actual dimensions of the icescape. The ship is to some critics referred to as the HMS Griper of the British Navy taking part in an expedition to the Arctic led by William Parry with a beam of 6.7 m and gun deck of 26 m.

In search for the right spot for positioning my first locative art piece I had to deal with the situation that the original viewpoint of the icescape is from a heightened perspective. While I was considering before placing the object somewhere in the middle of the empty landscape of the areal, I now had to find a place where you could actually view it from above. The only place in this regard was the roof terrace of the main airport building, which I was able to visit at a guided tour at the airport during one of my visits, leaving the location for the installation in front of the building on the airfield itself, which worked out as a quite exhilarating place to code my first installation for.

With the resulting size of the installation I had still to alter its scale in order to fit it onto the site and allowing a view from the on top of the roof, while its original size would have been to large allowing the original view only to be experience from a standpoint 42 meters above ground. So I altered the dimensions accordingly for the maximum height of the building and fitting it still onto the airfield while keeping the proportions intact.

Regarding the materialisation of the object I decided to change the original brownish, yellow ochre colour of the paintings front motive into a colder bluish tint more reminding me about ice and coldness and closer to an image I had for Berlin in my mind, suiting the desolated and empty character of a shrinking city with an old fading metropolitan aura. Further on the material should be transparent to a certain degree in order to let the context shine through the installation always being visible not to obstruct the original view with the augmented reality.

The images shown here are meant to give an impression of the hopefully soon to be achieved detailing made possible by the technical improvements in the field of computers and smartphones with their ever increasing capabilities. Therefore in the concept stage the printed images here are rendered as 3d images viewable via anaglyphic red/cyan glasses with an 3d effect taking place, while the real 3d AR lacks some of the detailing due to the current technical limitations being right now limited to only 5.000 triangles for an object and smaller maps for the texturing.

3D red cyan glasses are recommended to view these images correctly.

All images on this page copyright Tristan D. Grey.