Navigate through the hills and valleys of Kim Kardashian’s face in French artist Gregory Chatonsky’s new generative digital installation, Perfect Skin II. Chatonsky, known for his modern day fossilization project and interactive installations, developed a program that pulls tagged Instagram photos of Kim K in real time, and filters them through a software program he made using Unity3d.
The software automatically navigates a generative 3D skin model, created from more than 51,000 pictures of the star. The project looks at the same subject, Kim Kardashian, but is constantly using a different image, creating what the artist describes as a “fascinating difference in the repetition.”
A video he released on his Vimeo page captures only a few seconds of the continuously moving art piece. “The video is like a performance documentation for understanding a small part of the process.” In the future, Chatonsky intends to convert Perfect Skin II into a physical installation: he describes a white cube that he believes will allow the piece to continue to grow and exist without the presence of a spectator.
Chatonsky remarks on the absence of a tangible talent that we can assign to Kardashian, and the obsession popular culture has with that emptiness. One of his inspirations for the project was the emotion he felt as a teenager watching Andy Warhol’s seminal art film, Empire. He tells The Creators Project, “Watching this movie, I knew I would not see everything. I was moved by those images that escaped me. I also liked the idea that someone else had probably saw what I had not seen.”
Perfect Skin II was also influenced by the writings of critic, philosopher and theorist, Boris Groys, on self-design and the production of sincerity. Chatonsky believes that Groys' analysis of our time as the design of existence finds a strong reflection in Kim Kardashian. “She has no talent, she has nothing exceptional, she is none other than our own design, that is to say the way she represented to us," he explains. "It is simply an extended skin, everything is on the surface. There is nothing to look behind." In this sense, according to Chatonsky, Kardashian is representative of the media in the Internet Age: “it’s like an abstract painting that represents nothing except his pictorial surface.”
This summer, Chantosky is working on a project entitled, Extinct Memories, with Dominique Sirois, Christophe Charles, and Jussi Parikka. It opens September 10th at Europe’s Interactive Media Art Laboratory). For more from the artist, click here.