Inkscapes Turns The Act Of Drawing Into A Performance

In Adrià Navarro's <i>Inkscapes</i> artists create drawings on an iPad which are then brought to life on a giant video wall.

Drawing is usually considered a private activity, someone busying themselves over an easel or desk in the confines of their studio or home, letting their imagination pour out onto the page. But in New York-based artist Adrià Navarro's new piece Inkscapes--currently exhibiting on a 120 by 11 feet video wall at the InterActive Corps (IAC) building in New York--drawing becomes an activity to be watched by an audience. 

"The original intention of the piece was to explore the idea of drawing as performance," the artist says. "Like [what] people like Shantell Martin or Zach Lieberman have been doing. Our interest was to create this confrontation between the very intimate action of drawing on a sheet of paper--or an iPad, in this case--and the huge scale of the video wall."

The piece features artists creating works on an iPad which are then scaled up to appear on the giant screen in front of them--all happening in real-time. This live component was an integral part of the work. "Improvisation was interesting to us. Building a tool, instead of scripting the whole experience." Navarro explains. "That way we could have different content every time, and let the artists appropriate the system to tell their own story. Eventually that could even include the audience. Then the piece also becomes easier to translate to a different context or location."

The style of the drawings has a very traditional feel. Fluid and wavy lines and forms curl about the video wall and, although abstract, they aren't the highly rendered CG forms of a digital aesthetic--though they are obviously created digitially, before being augmented by glitches.

"We wanted to start with a very analog aesthetic that had the feel of traditional ink drawings, that slowly evolved to a digital world." Navarro says of the piece. "We had the idea of the screen being the fourth performer, which would start malfunctioning to affect the current drawing and therefore influence the following ones. In the end, the fourth performer was me controlling the glitches from a control panel in my laptop, but with some more time the process could have been automated."

This union of digital and analog and exploring the fleeting moments of the virtual world are concepts present in Navarro's previous work Polaroid Cacherwhich allowed you to print screenshots through a polaroid camera to give you a physical momento of your time online. 

Images courtesy of Adrià Navarro