No. 172

Digital Landscapes

By : Koen Fraijman

Entrant’s location : The Netherlands



Journey through fictive worlds Not too long ago, one had to be very wealthy and brave to travel and discover the world. These days, travelling have become accessible to a very large amount of people. Not only because of declining prices of airline tickets, but mostly due to increased travel confidence and safety by digital applications such as google maps, google translate and online banking applications. Unfortunately, this huge increase of travellers has negative side effects such as overtourism/touristification (think of Venice, Amsterdam and many other places). Next to climate change, this is a serious problem we have to solve to keep our world livable. ‘Digital Landscapes’ explores a digital solution for this problem. Many people feel the need to travel and explore the world. But perhaps this can also be done digitally? Many videogames have vast digital landscapes, which are good for hours and hours of exploration and discovery. Digital Landscapes is a series of laserpaintings depicting scenes from both the real world and from videogames. By doing so, it proposes the question if, and till what extends, these digital and analogue landscapes differ. If these digital landscapes are so similar to analogue/real landscapes, should we not collectively try to migrate our travel needs from the tangible to the digital world?

What did you create?

A series of laserpaintings. Each depicts either a scene from the real world, or from the digital world (a videogame)

Why did you make it?

Travel and exploration is a reoccurring theme in my work and my life. I used to travel a lot, but since the seriousness of climate change has become clear to me this significantly decreased. I do feel certain guilt when I travel by plane. To meet my travelling needs, I started playing a lot of videogames. Suddenly it hit me that this could also be a solution to another big problem: overtourism. I’ve lived almost all of my live in Amsterdam, a city which has seen a dramatic increase of tourism. I started thinking, what if these people could see the place they want to see, but do not really have to go there? These developments and thoughts were the basis of my ‘Digital Landscape’ series.

How did you make it?

This series of painting is made with a technique I developed, which I call laserpaiting. Step 1: I apply multiple layers of paint, each a different colour, on a carrier (e.g. a canvas). Step 2: An image (e.g. a picture I took) is digitally converted to engraving instructions for a lasercutter. Step 3: A laser partially burns away the paint, exposing the colours from the underlying layers of paint By varying the amount of paint burnt away on each position/pixel, the desired image is created. A short video from the third step can be seen here:

Your entry’s specification

A series of 6 laserpaitings Each 29,5×44,5cm Each around 1kg Material: Acrylic paint of a sheet of black plexigass