The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Animation

Petros Vrellis recreated Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night in openFrameworks, so that viewers can touch and manipulate the swirls of color. 

Like DJs who sample and remix classic songs, animators and developers have been making digital, and even interactive, versions of iconic works of art. Petros Vrellis recreated Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night in openFrameworks, so that viewers can touch and manipulate the swirls of color. The demonstration of the program's interactivity begins around 1:40.

Vrellis isn't the first to mess with a famous painting; computer graphics programs have opened up iconic 2D works of art to the prying imaginations of animators, who can map paintings into 3D environments, and bring their subjects to life. 

Below, Sebastian Cosor creates a whole scene based on Edvard Munch's The Scream:

Cosor even produced a second version with a twist -- an icy winter landscape and a Santa hat for the Scream:



Here, Alexander Calder's paintings get the 3D treatment in an animation by Shkelzen Kernaja, revealing their graphic similarities to the artist's mobile sculptures: 

One more striking example, Lena Gieseke's 3D version of Picasso's Guernica, breaks down the spatial logic of cubism for a totally new perspective:  

Last but certainly not least, Jeff Koons's sculptures become interactive (or at least, highly flammable) in Hunter Jonakin's videogame, Jeff Koons Must Die!!! -- an actual playable arcade game: 

 

Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.

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