Ectoplasmic Kitchen v01
ABOUT ECTOPLASMIC KITCHEN
Created in the Spring and Summer of 1987, the ECTOPLASMIC KITCHEN series is Victor Acevedo’s first major collection of digital images. At this stage, he was beginning to refine his approach to using the computer graphics software that he had access to. More facile imaging tools were becoming available on the personal computer, first on the IBM PC and its clones. In the mix were the early Apple computers and, soon, the Apple Macintosh. The ECTOPLASMIC KITCHEN series also served as a bridge to his previous nine years of visual art making with analogue media, including painting, drawing, and film work. He had experimented sporadically with algorithmic art software since 1983, but this was the first time his digital imaging was built directly on a photographic source, not unlike his methodology when developing a painting or drawing.
The title of the series comes from the term "ectoplasm". This is defined as "a supernatural viscous substance that is supposed to exude from the body of a medium during a spiritualistic trance and form the material for the manifestation of spirits." In some of the images, Acevedo’s allusion to or approximate graphic metaphor for this substance is expressed using clusters of tessellation patterns or a linear space frame that articulates the space and/or envelops the figures that appear in the picture.
Some of the images in the series, even though they contain the same “cast of characters,” suggest narratives that are tangential or even digress from the original theme. In those cases, they are given their own unique titles.
The working method was to first make a line drawing that was a traced distillation of the original photograph. Acevedo then drew polygonal areas corresponding to the various changes in luminance values throughout the image. The drawing was then “brought into the computer” with an RGB camera scan in three color passes. Once on the screen, the polygonal areas were traced and filled in using the draw line and polygon-fill commands provided by the software.
Ten images from Victor Acevedo’s ECTOPLASMIC KITCHEN series are now being offered by EXPANDED.ART in limited editions via Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) authenticated on the Ethereum blockchain for the first time ever.
The ECTOPLASMIC KITCHEN series was created with Artwork software on an IBM PC (AT) running DOS (Disc Operating System). This was 2.5D vector graphics software licensed by West End Film/Pansophic. 2.5D means it supports mouse-controlled manipulation of on-picture-plane graphical objects within any implicate or explicate polygon domain towards convergent perspectival vanishing points. However, the software’s computer graphics capabilities would not be classified as those of a full 3D modeling system.
The original DOS-based image files were saved to a 5.25" floppy disc, usually written to a ‘Pansophic’ flavor of the PIC or Hex format. However, the NFT-linked JPG files on offer were produced from high-resolution scans of 35mm slides that were output via a 2K Matrix digital film recorder directly from the original computer files in 1987. The slide film was developed by the artist himself in a small, dark room after hours at the business-to-business 35mm slide production service bureau, where he worked in the Spring of that year. The one exception here is that the image called ECTOPLASMIC KITCHEN V01 was scanned from a 4x5" transparency output from the original digital file, circa 1988.
ABOUT ECTOPLASMIC KITCHEN V01
ECTOPLASMIC KITCHEN V01 from 1987 was Acevedo’s first important digital art image. It is the most well-known iteration of its subject, as singled out from the entire ECTOPLASMIC KITCHEN series. Although numbered V01 (for version 1), it is not the first version he produced, but it emerged over time as he became more skilled with the software while exploring various arrangements of the pictorial elements. Acevedo’s first public showings (1987–1990) of his early digital work usually included ECTOPLASMIC KITCHEN versions 1 or 2.
“What I consider my first successful computer graphic image is ECTOPLASMIC KITCHEN V01. For me, it’s the definitive version in a set of many variants based on a photograph I took using Kodak 35mm slide film in 1983. Combining influences from both M.C. Escher and R. Buckminster Fuller, it combines Escher-inspired open-packed zoomorphics enclosed in a Fuller (Synergetic) great-circle spherical domain. The Escher-like creatures are arrayed symmetrically around 3-fold roto-centers and emerge from an underlying triangular and hexagonal grid. Significantly, using computers to make images in the summer of 1987 rekindled my fondness for zoomorphic tessellation. The software’s ability to easily replicate forms and perform symmetry operations such as rotation and translation made repeating patterns quite a natural thing to do. I believe that Escher’s work, along with other cultural and technological inventions, in many ways prefigures the advent of digital art.
In the image, the protagonist watches himself in this picture of an out-of-body experience. This image is a ‘metaphysical genre snapshot.’ We see a person inside a great-circle spheric attention-span bubble crystallized in sympathetic resonance. As "consciousness embodied", he is tuned to a psychically charged set of considerations. The open-packed M.C. Escher-like zoomorphics are arrayed symmetrically about double 3-fold roto-centers. They signify brahman-transducer prana envelopes in the guise of three icons in replication: a chicken (orange), a lizard (yellow), and a newt (blue). The red lines are highlighted furniture and table-object edge-vector trajectories converging towards various implied vanishing points.
ECTOPLASMIC KITCHEN V01 has been reproduced many times, most notably in the Leonardo (print) Journal, Vol. 33, No. 1, February 2000, and in HOMAGE TO ESCHER, their online gallery exhibition curated by mathematician Michele Emmer. It was also reproduced in the book called M.C. ESCHER’S LEGACY: A CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION, edited by Doris Schattschneider and Michele Emmer, 2002. In September 1989, it was included in a Verbum exhibition called IMAGINE Tokyo, curated by Michael Gosney.
ECTOPLASMIC KITCHEN V02 is the same image without the zoomorphic patterns. It emphasizes the great circle's spherical domain as well as the two figures. It made its public debut as a large-scale projection as part of the visual support for an experimental musical art ensemble called Math Band at (CSLA) California State University, Los Angeles, in September 1987."
– Victor Acevedo
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
ECTOPLASMIC KITCHEN SERIES is part of the exhibition THE THINKING MACHINE. PRESENTING PIONEERS, 1953-2023 on view at EXPANDED.ART in Berlin from 6 to 27 JUNE 2023. The exhibition, curated by Anika Meier and Georg Bak, is a collaboration between EXPANDED.ART and ELEMENTUM.ART.
ABOUT THE NFT
Contract address: 0xd3e5cd00435f2758ed9ba54cb65cb557e74339e5
Token standard: ERC-721
Metadata: Frozen and decentralized