Jamie Flatt and Mac Little: Thoughts on “Near Future”

In the second installment of the Rice Design Alliance’s fall lecture series “Near Future,” we were treated to a vision of distorted reality through the evocative lenses of Filip Dujardin and K.K. Barrett. Both artists discussed their respective approaches to carefully editing and collaging the built environment to produce compelling near realities that stop just short of the fantastic.

Dujardin led the audience to his creations through his portfolio of architectural photography, highlighting the deceit of the carefully framed views and ‘corrected’ perspectives that mark the trade. From this critical perspective, the images gradually progressed into his generative art work “Fictions”. Here his images became tight collages of documented ‘reality’ carefully juxtaposed and edited to produce wondrous architectural landscapes in the purely digital realm. At first glance, Dujardin’s Fictions portray ordinary, plausible, and highly vernacular scenes. Only upon close examination do their formal and structural improbabilities become apparent.

Following, K.K. Barrett presented imagery and commentary on his process for creating movie sets; specifically for “Marie Antoinette”, “Where the Wild Things Are”, and “Her”. Employing careful composition and deliberate subtraction, Barrett walked the audience through his approach to creating scenes that keep the viewer off balance through subtle twists on the familiar. Barrett emphasized the atmospheric impact of careful editing.  The plausible environments that result serve to focus attention on the story: taking liberties with reality while stopping just short of the fantastic. 

Whether it’s merging and shifting brick facades and windows to create hyper real images of fictional buildings, or borrowing from the organic chaos of bird nests to create spherical homes for “Wild Things”, both Barrett and Dujardin borrow from physical reality to create art. Because their raw materials are familiar and ordinary, the resulting fictions evoke a visceral uncertainty that sharpens the impact of these versions of the “Near Future”.

For more information on the RDA Lecture series, "Near Future," click here.

Contributed By

Jamie Flatt and Mac Little