Vernacular Volumetric

Vernacular Volumetric is a research-creation project that uses speculative design to explore how volumetric video recording might look as a mundane future technology. It is part of a larger research investigation into the techno-social entanglements surrounding hybrid captured images.

The project seeks to envision and investigate the future of digital capture technologies in the creation, understanding, and use of everyday images. The project considers:

  1. How social and vernacular practices may impact volumetric capture
  2. The key affordances of a volumetric image
  3. The opportunities and challenges for this technology in relation to broader adoption and use
  4. How this technology may be appropriated and subverted by amateur practitioners

Vernacular Volumetric is a pilot project intended to develop into a broader scale research agenda exploring digital capture.

Hybrid image capture practices, including volumetric capture, are becoming increasingly common. Such projects showcase the incredible potential for this mode of computationally-enhanced capture, but also present a number of emerging issues. These technologies are, for the most part, restricted to technologically-savvy and well-funded art technologists, with the most common path of exploration being high-end production. Additionally, the rapid adoption and development of this technology has not been accompanied by a substantive reflective practice or analysis. Important questions remain with regard to our understanding and relationships to these images, and what this technology might look like upon wider consumer adoption.

Vernacular Volumetric is an initial exploration into hybrid image capture technology, specifically volumetric video recording, as it might look as a mundane future technology. The project examines the future of everyday hybrid image capture in the shift from professional to consumer adoption, with a specific focus on future vernacular (everyday) practices in the context of post-photographic discourse. This work project is also contextualized within discourse surrounding image creation, reception, and everyday use.

Using speculative scenarios, Vernacular Volumetric creates a series of small-scale image prototypes using volumetric capture. This series serves as a prompt for further discussion and research development in hybrid image capture technologies and practices. The project utilizes speculative design, a discursive approach which focuses on using the design process as a tool for envisioning and interrogating potential design futures. 

This research caters to a growing interest in the impact of emerging technology on approaches to non-fiction media production. It forms the basis for a broader examination of how digital technologies impact capture practices, and helps ensure that the development and conceptualization of hybrid image technology is not limited to high-end approaches and can instead be engaged by diverse socio-cultural practices.

Image prototype using volumetric capture: two views from different angles of a figure standing in a rectangular prism
Photograph of the team working in the lab, two people discussing content of a large computer screen amidst notes
Friday, November 24, 2017 - 12:00pm
Lab Member: 
Cindy Poremba


Thursday, October 9, 2014 - 11:00pm to Saturday, November 1, 2014 - 8:30pm

FUTURESCAPE provides a platform for artists to address concepts and tropes related to either an impending landscape (an envisioned place where Future Tense happens) or a fabricated artifact (an object that represents Future Tense). This exhibition is intended to spark conversation about the future as a place where artists and cultural producers are catalysts, which is an increasingly considered alternative to a future shaped by political or corporate bodies. The result is a collection of artists who either create work using high-tech media or use familiar materials to produce work that radiates futuristic ambiance, a wavelength that does not yet exist. 

Curated by Rajni Perera.

Artists: Erin Lewis / Nep Sidhu / TALWST / Niki Sehmbi / Alex McLeod / Todd Westendorp

Venue & Address: 
OCADU Studet Gallery

LAND|SLIDE Possible Futures

Saturday, September 21, 2013 - 4:00am to Monday, October 14, 2013 - 4:00am

With OCAD U faculty Julie Nagam and alumna Lisa Myers

Land|Slide Possible Futures is a groundbreaking large-scale public art exhibition which responds to a world in transition where the past, present and future collide. The landscape of Markham will be transformed by the work of 30+ national and international artists to explore themes of multiculturalism, sustainability, and community. The site-specific artist projects are housed at the 25-acre, open-air Markham Museum from September 21 to October 14, 2013. Working with everything from digitized diaries, 3D projections and augmented reality, the artists will propose new histories and new futures for the use of land on this planet.

Possible Futures Panel Series

Programmed by Chloë Brushwood Rose, Jennifer Foster and Lisa Hosale
Location: Transportation Hall

The panel series brings together community stakeholders, local experts, and Land|Slide artists to debate and discuss the core themes of the exhibition and of possible futures in Markham. Each panel asks a small group of people to respond to a provocative question that is central to imagining a sustainable future.

Panel 1: September 22, 5-7pm
Identity, Culture, and Heritage in Rapidly Evolving Cities: Why does heritage matter in just and sustainable future?
Faisal Moola,
Director General (Ontario and Northern Canada) for the Suzuki Foundation and adjunct professor in the University of Toronto's Faculty of Forestry.

Lola Sheppard, Partner at Lateral Office, an experimental design practice that operates at the intersection of architecture, landscape, and urbanism, and Associate Professor at the University of Waterloo.

Julie Nagam, Land/Slide artist and Assistant Professor at OCAD, who explores a (re)mapping of the colonial state through creative interventions within concepts of native space.

Panel 2: September 29, 5-7pm
Possible Futures and Equitable Access to Food: How is hunger a sustainability issue?
Brenda Hsueh,
Owner and Operator of Black Sheep Farm, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) vegetable farmer, and runs a local food procurement project for the City of Thunder Bay.

Valerie Tarasuk, professor at the University of Toronto in Nutritional Sciences, and Principal Investigator of PROOF, researching food insecurity and policy options.

Joan Stonehocker, Executive Director at York Region Food Network, which promotes food security through community gardens, kitchens, support programs for organizations and shelters, and many more programs in Markham and across the York Region.

Evelyn Encalada, Teacher, researcher, and founding member of Justicia/Justice for Migrant Workers, which works with seasonal agricultural migrant workers in Canada.

Panel 3: October 6, 5-7pm
Emerging Approaches to Sustainability in Art: What is the role of public art in sustainability?
Janine Marchessault,
Curator of Land|Slide: Possible Futures Exhibition and Professor of Film and Media Studies, York University

Paola Poletto, Artist and Curator, Oh Dear: Public Art That Unhinges North York's Sense of Modesty (2013).

Srimoyee Mitra, Curator of Contemporary Art, Art Gallery of Windsor

Catherine Sicot, Co-Curator, MAC/SAN (Museo de arte contemporáneo de San Agustin), La Lisa, Havana, Cuba and Director, Elegoa Cultural productions





Venue & Address: 
Markham Museum 9350 Markham Road Markham, Ontario