Opinion

Quayola Fractures a Roman Cathedral

Quayola is a multimedia artist based in London whose hybrid projects blur the line between photography and animation, the digital and the real. In this video, the artist filmed a cathedral in extreme high resolution, then used custom-programmed algorithms to fracture the image.

This video, called “Strata #1” (2007), takes a little while to heat up, but when it does, the gentle classicism of the cathedral vaults turns into a splintered symphony of geometric shapes, creating a dynamism that reminds me of Kazimir Malevich’s Suprematism. Quayola takes his basic imagery, the pre-existing architecture, and abstracts from it, using a digital intervention to comment on the underlying geometry of the cathedral itself. With a stirring soundtrack by Autobam and photography by James Medcraft, the video is at heart a collaboration, a necessity when it comes to highly produced digital art.

I think Quayola’s “Strata #1” follows up on the thread of abstraction I’ve been following through the other videos I posted today, from Takeshi Murata and Nam June Paik. Where Paik uses a goofy, early-digital abstraction to comment on his “counterculture” content, Murata appropriates source material and attacks it visually , decimating the original to create a wholly new thing. Quayola comes in somewhere in between, abstracting his source material without destroying it.

Related:

  • Check out a Creators Project interview with Quayola that goes into the artist’s working process and the team he collaborates with.
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