I shouldn’t use Thomas Demand work to start off again, but I really enjoy it, I think they this fantastic aura that makes it seem magical when it is a representation of ordinary scenes. And that is the exact feeling I wanted to get in the last work, with the toothpaste tube, and I did achieve it to a degree, while there was still room for improvement. As a result, I was really happy to have another chance to work in a virtual sculpture, however this time it was bound to be more complicated and we were asked to form groups.
I was grouped with Sara, an Italian-Brazilian student, and Krittin (Nino), from Thailand, and our instruction was to make a clothing piece and wear it in the end. Sara commented that she had a pair of pants that she wouldn’t be wearing anymore as paint had fallen in them and we could cut it up to scan and print.
Here it is. While it seems very nice, it was actually a very bad choice for this project, as it stretches and has these two holes in the knees. The stretching bit means that, in its “normal” form, the pants would be impossible to wear, which is not a problem when using fabric, as it can adapt. However, paper doesn’t have the same propriety and, at the end, we weren’t able to wear it. The knees also posed a slight problem as they had a very thin fabric under it, which effect is also impossible to replicate with paper.
Our first step was to cut the pants up, to allows us to scan each “pant” individually. Also, it is important to note that we had to scan each pant twice: once the front and once the back. Naturally, we had 4 pants, two out of stretchy leather (the front) and two out of an unknown material (the back), and each was scanned twice.
Here are the points we marked as the cutoff points when scanning, which worked fine mostly. There was a slight problem with the size of some of the printed pieces, as they were not in the same scale all the times. When that happened we had to go back and scan these points again. Another problem that can be seen here is that the back is actually slightly bigger than the front when taken apart. To fix that, we had to cut some of the back off in the finished product, as the normal fixed this problem by stretching the top.
Here you can see the exterior part of the front of the right light and the exterior part of the back of the left. These were scans we had to repeat as they were originally in the wrong size.
After printed, we had to organize all the pieces in groups (each part of the pants) and shave them down to the right sizes.
The first image shows the pants individually and the second depicts the problem I talked about earlier: the back and the front have different sizes. This is because of the difference in materials, the back is its natural size while the front has to be stretched to be wearable. Our next step was to put all of the pants together individually and progressively reconstructing the pair of pants.
While doing this, we noticed that it would be, in fact completely unwearable, so, to create the illusion that it was filled, we put small bags of air inside the pair of pants.
As seen here, it almost works. Another interesting thing is that the pair of pants can stand on their own.
This was technically be taking advantage of the other group’s work, the incredible paper shirt, but it did create a cool image. One thing that I really liked about their project is that it reaches almost Uncanny Valley levels of discomfort as it seems almost too real, by not being made of individual prints (they went to a professional printer to make bigger sized prints). Next, we took the pair of pants outside…
… to a nearby market, for example. It almost looks like it is being sold, however, some things get in the way of that impression. To name a few, the way the top part of the pants looks loose, but that same feeling is not replicated by the paper, the white line in the left leg, which I forgot to cut out, and the colour difference between the first two sections of the pants and the rest, caused by a glitch in the printer. This was our first attempt at outside experimentation with the pants and it shows, it is very shallow and obvious.
Next, we took it to Spitafields Market and tried to make the pair to look as humane as possible, by which I mean it almost became an invisible human. It almost seems to emanate an aura, despite its technical shortcomings.
Next, we tried to make it stand by itself using a pair of shoes as support, however, that was not possible, as it kept falling down as the result of the wind, seconds after it was put down, as seen by my presence in all the pictures. We had to change our strategy.
It simply is not as interesting as it standing by itself, it removes that sense of humanity from it, becoming just a thing standing in the corner. Even from afar, it looks very fake, to my displeasure. I couldn’t seem to accomplish what Thomas Demand creates with his works.
These two were the best pictures from this attempt. There is something very powerful about the way the businessman is walking, without wasting a second of his time to look at the strange object in the corner. For the father in the next picture, it is the opposite, it is very interesting to see him “resetting” his viewpoint after staring at the pants to look at something much more important: his son/daughter.
We decided to be cheeky for the next one and put it in one of those rentable bikes. It doesn’t really accomplish much, in my view, as there is neither a sense of being or the feeling of an object.
Our next stop was Liverpool Street Station, where there is no wind so we could make the pair of pants stand by itself, even if it took a long time (it did take about 5 minutes). As there is a lot of movement there, many pictures could be taken and we tried to make the most out of it, as seen above. Naturally, some are stronger than others, so here are the highlights:
While the pants are clearly fake, they take an almost supernatural aspect by simply standing there and this picture plays that up very well. A small but fascinating detail for me here are the shoelaces of my shoes, they take a form that almost seems to indicate sometinhing bigger.
Here the effect comes from the dissonance between the way the man with the cap reacts to the pants, staring at it, and and the way the man with the suitcase does, ignoring it completely. The dynamism of the second’s movement, the way the back foot is phasing, also creates a sense of passage of time that I find captivating.
And this one is the overall best picture we took. It is just mesmerizing. From its muddled colours to the perfect representation of a frozen moment and, finally, to the way it gives the sense of something much bigger, as if we are not seeing the full picture. Our teacher commented it resembled the poster for a horror film and that is another valid reading, that it represents something much more nefarious than a simple pair of fake pants standing by itself.
In the end, it seems I managed to achieve that magic I mentioned in the beginning, even if through other means than near-perfect technical abilities.
Thank you for reading!