238 x 504 cm
October 19, 2005 1:55 PM   Subscribe

Transparent Billboards Kasia Kesicka, at the Academy of Fine and Applied Arts in Poznan, creates a commentary on public space in various cities in Poland for his MFA final project in Photography. The result, mirroring the transparent laptop trick, is stunning and poignant {flash}
posted by MiltonRandKalman (36 comments total)

 
Very cool, but wouldn't it have been more fun to add random objects floating in the air or something?
posted by gwint at 2:02 PM on October 19, 2005


Would birds have a problem with this?
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:06 PM on October 19, 2005


Bird killer! ... nice, though most folks, I'm sure, won't notice.
posted by R. Mutt at 2:09 PM on October 19, 2005


The Designers Republic did an interesting study of the architecture of a public/private space hybrid. These sorts of artwork are interesting as the line between private corporate-owned or managed space and public commons are continuously blurred. Governments and public institutions are becoming extinct.
posted by Rothko at 2:20 PM on October 19, 2005


Its an interesting concept but aren't billboards put there to, you know, advertise something? Why have them there at all if they are see thru?

Am I missing something?

As an aside, the transparent screens group on Flickr has some pretty astonishingly well done photos.
posted by fenriq at 2:24 PM on October 19, 2005


Its an interesting concept but aren't billboards put there to, you know, advertise something? Why have them there at all if they are see thru?

It's not for advertising, but to make a creative statement about how billboards hide public space behind a private facade, turning it on its ear a little.
posted by Rothko at 2:33 PM on October 19, 2005


you know, advertise something?
Isn't public space supposed to be public or something?

The boards are not actually transparent, it's a photograph applied to give the illusion of transparency, much like the laptops.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 2:36 PM on October 19, 2005


Most likely her MFA final project, judging by the name
posted by beniamino at 2:37 PM on October 19, 2005


{slaps forehead}

These foreign names all sound the same to me. I also have a bad habit of referring to all pets as her. I'm sure Mefi'er could point out some sexist bias in my pronouns assumptions, but I'd prefer the bitch just keep it to herself.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 2:43 PM on October 19, 2005


Anyone know how this was done? I'm at a loss.
posted by crumbly at 2:46 PM on October 19, 2005


A bit of a tangent, but how'd this guy do this?
posted by TonyRobots at 2:52 PM on October 19, 2005


Crumbly: He admits to some creative cropping. Think of it as two pictures side-by-side and see if that helps. On the left a picture of his hand reaching for the screen, cropped so that it ends before his fingers and only contains the right side of the screen. On the right a picture of the screen. On the screen, a picture of his fingers. Calc open on top. Does that make sense? Once you realize it's two pics, it's somewhat easier.
posted by The Bellman at 2:53 PM on October 19, 2005


He says he cropped the image in photoshop, but that "the actual effect itself was achieved by how the pic(s) was taken." The semi-plural "pic(s) refers to the picture on the screen, and the picture of the screen (and surroundings.) So unless he's lying, yours is not the explanation, Bellman.
posted by TonyRobots at 2:58 PM on October 19, 2005


Photograph screen, print, cut out Calculator window. Stick cutout to left hand. Point with right hand. Need a tripod!

This would explain why the Calculator window is not lined up with the screen, too.

Maybe.
posted by beniamino at 3:02 PM on October 19, 2005


I don't think it's two pictures side by side, or cut-out calculator. My guess is that he first took a photo of his left hand against the wall and set it as the background image. Then he opened up the calculator, took a photo of that and set it as the next background. Next he took the last photo with his right hand pointing at the calculator and cropped it so you don't see the 'live' computer in the final shot.

If this didn't make sense, apologies, I think I have the bird flu and it's late.
posted by romanb at 3:03 PM on October 19, 2005


Why would you go to all that work, then not remove the lights which cast shadows onto the billboards, ruining the effect and rendering the whole thing crap?
posted by fire&wings at 3:05 PM on October 19, 2005


romanb, I think you've got it.
posted by crumbly at 3:06 PM on October 19, 2005


Romanb: It did make sense and it was what I was trying to explain as well, except that he can't have just cropped out the "live" computer unless by "crop" you mean some pretty substantial image manipulation. He admits there are two images involved, and I think he just stiched them together, but what do I know?
posted by The Bellman at 3:06 PM on October 19, 2005


Except I think calculator is open on his desktop (and not a part of the background) and that's why it appears angled oddly.
posted by crumbly at 3:08 PM on October 19, 2005


In my opinion the shadows enhance the effect, that is, if this works well enough in real life to make one believe it's just an empty frame. In that case the shadow plays a nice trick on the eye. Although conceptually I don't think the main point is to trick the viewer, more along the lines of what Rothko mentioned.

I will be in the area soon enough so I may check these out.
posted by romanb at 3:11 PM on October 19, 2005


(my last post was in reference to the billboards).

Bellman: only two images? I assumed it was 3. If it's 2 then, well, maybe he didn't use Photoshop but has a copy of the GIMP. Or I also don't know anything.
posted by romanb at 3:14 PM on October 19, 2005


What's old is new again. See also: trompe l'oeil.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:24 PM on October 19, 2005


"It's not for advertising..."

But it should be; then it would be creative. Isn't this more akin to Butthead getting a butt shaped tattoo on his butt...only bigger?
posted by j.p. Hung at 3:29 PM on October 19, 2005


Ok, my last post on this (sorry for the derail). Here's what I think he did:

1. Took a photo of the wall immediately behind his computer and set that as his desktop (the traditional "transparency" technique).

2. Took a photo of his left hand in front of his computer and set that as his desktop.

3. Opened Calculator, pointed to the screen with his right hand and took the final picture, which he then cropped to hide the non screen bits of his computer.
posted by crumbly at 3:32 PM on October 19, 2005


Something weird is definitely up with calculator, though. It isn't aligned with the screen, therefore, it isn't actually running. I think if anything the cutout idea is the closest to the truth.
posted by blacklite at 3:57 PM on October 19, 2005


MiltonRandKalman, how would you guys liberate these boards?
posted by mathowie at 4:41 PM on October 19, 2005


A different calculator hand
posted by smackfu at 4:42 PM on October 19, 2005


Calulator man explains his technique directly below the photo. He took a photo of his arm extended, with no computer there. Afterward, he extended his sleeve with no hand out until it looked like the desktop image hand was coming out of it, and had calculator open on the computer. Minimal photoshop jiggery-pokery involved.
posted by potch at 4:42 PM on October 19, 2005


crumbly has it right. The calculator is out of alignment because the wallpaper is askew.
posted by O9scar at 5:12 PM on October 19, 2005


I think they are perfect the way they are, however if I was a bugger I'd tack on phony (non permanent) graffiti to both the building and board.

Public art lends itself to public comment.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 8:08 PM on October 19, 2005


Why must all these art sites be buit on flash? Neat idea though.
posted by jeblis at 8:55 PM on October 19, 2005


poignant?
posted by HTuttle at 10:22 PM on October 19, 2005


I am not a professional or even amateur art critic, but I don't like that you have to be in one spot to see the art as transparent. Any other spot will make the art look out of place, which is kind of dumb, unless you can easily discover the one spot - kind of hard to do with a street in the way. I would prefer for a project like this to be set up along a T-intersection, with the preferred path approaching the sign from the correct angle, then breaking off to either side.

The only art installation I liked that only worked from one spot was some sort of white noise that was coming out of maybe 64 speakers at once. It all sounded like hiss, until you got to the sweetspot, and could hear a live audio feed of an ocean several hundred miles away. The discovery of the spot was awesome. I heard it in Trafalgar Square in 1999, and I will probably tell my kids and grandkids about it.
posted by bugmuncher at 11:34 PM on October 19, 2005


Beautiful.

Thanks for the link Uncle Miltie. Immediately bookmarked and (mentally) filed under "wished I'd a thunk it".
posted by sfslim at 12:09 AM on October 20, 2005


That sounds pretty remarkable, bugmuncher.
posted by Songdog at 6:34 AM on October 20, 2005


and cropped it so you don't see the 'live' computer in the final shot.

but you can see the live computer - the dark strip on the right, behind his hand, is part of the monitor.
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:17 AM on October 20, 2005


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