Assignment 5: Digital identities 2

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Full (low resolution) pdf version of the book, Geological kusudama, can be found here.

Assignment five represents the culmination of the Digital Image and Culture course.  It is essentially, the development and resolution of the project started during assignment four.

Please see the links below for more details about the planning for this assignment:

  1. Assignment 4
  2. Feedback from assignment 4
  3. Old mineralogy book
  4. Experimenting with presentation
  5. OCA South West new initiative meeting
  6. The completed kusudama

When I finished assignment four, I had constructed just one kusudama and presented it on a solid black background (the rationale for this was explained at the time).  By the end of this assignment, I have a total of nine kusudama (that took in the region of 90 hours to construct!), all of which have now been photographed and presented in a book.

The method of presentation for this project was very carefully considered.  Since the project was largely inspired by my background in academic geology, it seemed sensible to draw upon this same experience when choosing the method of presentation.  Consequently, I decided (with the help and advice of my tutor) to present my photographs in the form of a scientific publication.  The photographs are presented one to a page, in a style consistent with an old mineralogical textbook that I recently discovered (e.g., full bleed images set on a solid black/directionally coloured background with an associated caption).

The photographs are then supplemented with an academic-style essay, written by me in the third-person.  In the essay, I act as scientist who is attempting to identity the anonymous artist that created the kusudama as a representation of their digital identity.  This approach was strongly influenced by the works of artists such as Joan Fontcuberta, Johan Rosenmunthe and Yto Barrada.

With regards to how I intend to present this work for assessment, the book will be printed in a large square format.  This size and shape is more typical of coffee table art books than true academic texts.  However, I intend to have the book linen bound and embossed with the title and author’s name, just like a traditional academic thesis.  Visually therefore, the book will appear to sit somewhere between the world of art and the world of science.  In addition (and after receiving feedback about my project during the OCA South West group meeting), I intend to include a few of my original kusudama in with my assessment materials.  They will be presented in a black, archival box and each object will have its own specimen label.  Essentially, they will appear in exactly the same manner in which their discovery is described in the essay.  This will serve to emphasise the themes of truth and reality within my work.


I am very satisfied with the resolution of my kusudama project.  It innovatively communicates a sense of my own digital identity.  By incorporating my scientific background into the presentation of this project, I feel (perhaps for the first time) that my ‘personal voice’ is finally starting to emerge.

With regards to the assessment criteria, I believe that I have met these as follows:

Demonstration of technical and visual skills: Arrangement and juxtaposition of kusudama elements was judiciously thought-out.  Also, the scientific essay was written with considerable expertise.

Quality of outcome: Meticulously constructed origami models and beautiful photographs.  The finished book is a conscientious, artistic equivalent of an academic publication.

Demonstration of creativity: Innovative and intriguing approach to the concept of ‘digital identity’, especially the mixture of digital and traditional techniques.

Context: This project sits firmly between the artistic and the academic.  It draws heavily on my personal experience of both disciplines.  It also addresses key themes of truth and reality (both of which are fundamental the practice of photography).