SOFT EDGE OF REALITY

Definition: ‘Photogrammetry is the science of making measurements and 3D models from photographs.’

Figure 1: Example of a photogrammetry model construction. The blue rectangles indicate the position and orientation of the photographs used to make the model.

Figure 2: Close up showing the detailed resolution of the model – an apple rotting away on the pavement.

During his time as a researcher at Forensic Architecture, Stefan Laxness used photogrammetry as an operative tool to recreate accurate 3D models of locations where human rights abuse had been committed. In other instances, Forensic Architecture has used photogrammetry to reconstruct site models from drone footage and to archive destroyed heritage sites.

Figure 3: Interactive 3D model from The Ayotzinapa Platform by Forensic Architecture, 2017.

Figure 5: 19th century printed reproduction of a still life believed to be a circa 1832 Niépce physautotype (glass original accidentally destroyed circa 1900).

Figure 4: Image from 'The Destruction of Yazidi Heritage' by Forensic Architecture, 2018.

In ‘Soft Edge of Reality’, Stefan Laxness inverts the gaze of the camera, to explore how the same process can capture, present and archiving questions of domesticity, intimacy, memory and the passing of time.

 

Photogrammetry offers yet another tool for recording and archiving every bit of data produced by our day to day lives. However, unlike the single frame of the photograph, the photogrammetry model allows the viewer to explore a plurality of frames, revealing the edges of a scene - its underside, its vulnerability.

 

The photogrammetric process creates an accurate reconstruction of the scene, capturing scale, form, texture and environmental conditions, but the process is also incomplete. Areas hidden to the lenses of the camera, complex textures and reflections, produce voids and distortion left for the algorithm to interpret which in turn create distortions.

Like memory, the model registers distortions that prevent the full reconstruction of an incident. The accumulation of models produces a digital library of soft memories. It interrogates how these technologies accelerate rates of spatial preservation and the role new digitised realities play as objects of mediation between people, space, past and present.

Figure 6: 'View from the Window at Le Gras' by Nicéphore Niépce, 1826-27. Heliographic image and the oldest surviving camera photograph.