Desktop Wallpaper Gets An Update (On Actual Walls)

See "Wallpapers," the collaborative effort organized by Sara Ludy, Nicolas Sassoon, and Sylvain Sailly, adorn the Drake Hotel and the New Forms Festival.

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Oct 13 2014, 9:00pm

Alien Energy by Brenna Murphy, on display at New Forms Festival in Vancouver

If you happened to be on the streets of Toronto for Nuit Blanche, you probably wondered why the Drake Hotel looked like its facade was turned into monumental digital projections. Well, look no further—new media artists and longtime collaborators Sara Ludy & Nicolas Sassoon were the culprits.

w-a-l-l-p-a-p-e-r-s.net is a full screen, computer-generated catalog, that features dynamic digital desktops designed by artists Sara Ludy, Nicolas Sassoon & Sylvain Sailly. Taking advantage of both URL and IRL formats, and nurtured by the inexhaustible creativity of the trio, the project cites multiple visual references, classical and contemporary, while drawing inspiration from both computer wallpapers, and the ones you'd find on your grandparents' actual walls. Regarding Wallpapers' offline experience, massive on-site projections impress moving, digital patterns onto physical environments, allowing audiences to interact with and immerse themselves in augmented architectures. 

Artists' wallpapers adorn the Drake Hotel in Toronto. 

Created by the artists, but also by special guests and friends, these GIF-injected and web-based image journeys revisit and upgrade the aesthetics of the desktop. It's all thanks to the powerful visuals and original creative processes of the artists: “The process varies between each artist involved. One common thread is that we all use mainstream 3D and/or animation software to develop our patterns. Although we work with modern technologies, the workflow is often inspired by traditional pattern making; including the graphic and immersive qualities of domestic wallpapers,” said Sassoon. The second series of wallpapers, crafted by a stellar roster, which includes Brenna MurphyKrist WoodLaura BrothersRollin LeonardLorna Mills and Rick Silva, was added online following Wallpapers' debut New Forms Festival debut in Vancouver.

Clockwise from top left: Imaprettyspysignal by Lorna Mills, Orbs5 by Sara Ludy, Window1 by Nicolas Sassoon, and a close-up of Future Shlock by Laura Brothers, on display at New Forms Festival in Vancouver. 

Three years ago, Ludy and Sassoon joined together to create the collaboration: “Wallpapers began in August 2011 when curator Lindsay Howard asked Nicolas and I to propose an exhibition project to 319 Scholes in New York. Since we both had a practice of making animated GIFs as well as creating large-scale video projections for music events, we decided to combine the two and create an immersive animated gif installation,” Ludy told The Creators Project. “We were so thrilled with the results of the exhibition that what we decided to establish Wallpapers as an ongoing collaborative project. Several months later, we invited Vancouver based artist Sylvain Sailly to become the third member of Wallpapers.”

Clockwise from top left: Cut Flowers by Rick Silva, Flecks of Spit by Rollin Leonard, Sol Waxing by Krist Wood, and UF19 by Sylvain Sailly, via

According to Ludy, the future of Wallpapers looks bright: “We are currently working on several exhibition proposals that we're very excited about, one being in an epic architecture as part of ISEA 2015 in Vancouver. We are also redesigning our website and considering other avenues for Wallpapers, such as collaborating with fashion designers.”

Follow the collective's multi-scaled digital awesomeness via Instagram and w-a-l-l-p-a-p-e-r-s.net

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