Dan Tapper - Chimeric Spaces

Chimeric Spaces

Curatorial statement by Catriona Reid

Image capture: iPhone, Xbox Kinect 

Photogrammetry software: Meshroom

3D model manipulation and rendering: Processing, JavaScript, maxMSP, CloudCompare, Photoshop 

Chi·mer·ic (/kīˈmerik,kəˈmerik/): hoped for but illusory or impossible to achieve.

A genetic chimerism or chimera is a single organism composed of cells with more than one distinct genotype

Chimeric Spaces explores new work by Dan Tapper, a creative coder and recent graduate of York University’s MFA program.

Fusing digital and organic phenomena, Chimeric Spaces comprises sixteen works created using contemporary imaging tools such as an iPhone camera, 360° cameras, and an Xbox Kinect, manipulating these technologies through Javascript and Python programming languages. The works in the exhibition take various forms: still images, videos, and 3-dimensional models constructed using photogrammetry— the process of converting 2D images of an object or space into a 3D model. These digital tools are employed in new ways to produce works that achieve three things: together they recombine space as a digital form, fracture digital space, and computationally generate chimeras.

Works like “Trying to Become Something” and “Distorted Archipelago” are the result of Tapper’s desire to recreate a form from the real world in a way that is as realistic as possible. As sites become inaccessible to international tourists due to Covid-19, Tapper engages with the notion of collective memory of place. He asks, does this memory stay intact or break apart as it is manipulated digitally? Computationally-generated works like “Chimera Wireframes” and Tapper’s “Chimera” 3D sculpture are created through an intricate process which involves grabbing elements from 3D models and meshing them together. The result is something entirely abstract, yet simultaneously organic in feel.

As pandemic lockdowns cause us to redefine our relationship with space...as we spend less time outdoors and more indoors mediating life through our screens, Chimeric Spaces investigates how the places we know can be altered using different digital devices and lenses. Exploring the dimensionalities possible within his own home, sites he has travelled to, and spaces produced using technology alone, Tapper encourages us to reassess how we perceive the spaces in which we dwell, and if such spaces bear the same meaning once they become artificially abstracted, fragmented, or reconfigured.