The Fundamental Units by Photographer Martin John Callanan


Photographer Martin John Callanan, a Teaching Fellow at the University College (London), an intense researcher, Editor of Leonardo Electronic Almanac and Publisher at a online artworks site called Merkske. That’s the kind of informed background he comes from.

His work over the years has included translations of “active communication data into music; freezing in time the earth’s water system; writing thousands of letters; capturing newspapers from around the world as they are published; taming wind onto the internet and broadcasting his precise physical location live for over two years.”

With scores of published and displayed works in Europe, The Americas, Asia and Australia, we loved his absolutely tech savvy project – The Fundamental Units.

With the bitcoins being all the rage and global economies facing a currency crisis here and there, countries constantly revamp or abolish their lowest denominations time and again.

Categorized as “worthless coins” in the economic setup, Callanan initiated to save all such currencies from across 166 countries. Not by taking up a anti-wipeout campaign but capturing these lost coins with his lens.

The creative series was first kickstarted with the works of Horrach Moya Gallery. The artist teamed up with the National Physical Laboratory(NPL) in U.K, that boasts off having Europe’s best 3D microscope.

The coins are photographed with 4,000 individual exposures and processed over a span of three days to produce these marvellous single photogrraphs shown below. Each of them weighs approximately 400 megapixels and measures 1.2X1.2 meteres, a good 3.9 square feet.

Martin opines that the high defination photography reveals the the “material makeup of the coin, marks and traces from their use as tokens of exchange.”

An interesting tidbit about currencies before you can check out these beautiful reproduction of coins from Australia, Chile, The Euro, Mynamar, Kingdom Of Swaziland.

Every coin the US State Treasury mints to produce 1 cent coin costs them 2 cents. Its best to undesratnd the value of the metal and the human resources that go into producing a small denomination of the currency. With people dealing everyday in millions and billions, probably the value of a cent goes unrecognized.

Do have a look at Martin’s samples below.

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Bridging Boundaries: Where Physical meets Virtual (2011)

Bridging Boundaries: Where Physical meets Virtual (2011)
Rhizome Curated Exhibition by fforster

As technology advances, the idea of the virtual and physical worlds being separate entities is becoming indistinct. This exhibition challenges the concepts of the two worlds and displays six pieces of art that cross these increasingly blurred boundaries.

While Chris Sugrue’s ‘Delicate Boundaries’ explores the visual aspect of crossing the boundaries, creating digital creatures that move through the computer screen becoming a part of the physical world, Aleksandar Macasev’s ‘Kontrola’ aimed to create a virus which could affect the virtual and the physical. Macasev claimed that the common denominator between a computer and a human is language, and he therefore made the linguistic Kontrola virus. Both of these artists’s works show how vague the separation of the two worlds is becoming, depicting how easy it is for something virtual to affect the physical too.

Both Tom Forkin, in ‘Body Extension’, and Martin John Callanan, in ‘Location of I’, have placed themselves into the virtual world. Through copying a part of himself onto the internet Forkin conceptually creates a body extension in the ‘other world’ he seems to straddle the line becoming both virtual and physical. Callanan also straddles the line, calling himself the ‘absolute citizen’, through uploading his physical location onto the internet continuously he has made himself a digital citizen. However through bridging this divide he has made himself vulnerable. Callanan’s piece describes not only how simple it is to cross that barrier, but the effects crossing the barrier has. Callanan seems isolated whether in a city like Dublin or desert in Morocco due to his marker being the only marker, making him seem the only citizen.

The final two pieces in the exhibition show examples of ways in which the virtual and the physical worlds interact but how influential the divide still is. In Pappenheimer’s piece ‘Breath on me’ he created an exhibition that was both online and physical. Online viewers had control of the webcams that were set up in the physical space, above each webcam was fixed a fan and in effect the online participants could ‘breath’, or fan air, at the physical visitors within the installation. Through this Pappenheimer enables communication, in the form of breath, between the two worlds. Along a similar idea, Karolina Sobecka’s piece ‘Sniff’ challenges the boundary of the two worlds through the ability for the human form to communicate with the digital animal. However the boundary is still evident due to the dog’s inability to cross through the wall it is projected onto. Although the dog still forms a relationship with the human, the divide is still apparent and tangible.