Spent the morning at the V&A scanning the pillow cover T.81-1924. The scanner is an extraordinary machine! the images it captured are an incredible resolution – but better than I was able to take with my camera. In an odd sort of way, these scans are more useful and beautiful than the actual object – you can zoom in and out with incredible quality. I am thinking of Walter Benjamin’s point about ‘enhanced looking’ that mechanical (or in this case digital) reproduction allows “… able to bring out aspects of the original that can be accessed only by the lens.”
My intuition is to print a copy of this scan out as large as possible (the photographer thinks I could get a 1.5m long image at 300dpi) and enlarge it even more through drawing – I want to see what happens when almost imperceptible close details of the embroidery and the cloth are made manifest, what will this do to the overall experience of the object? Could there be something in the enlargement of detail that creates something abstract?
It was also an opportunity to catch up with SN again – we discussed the potential problems of scanning two of the other objects, the large pillow cover (T.79-1924) and the Falkland waistcoat (T.80-1924), the former due to its length, the later due to its 3D structure and the problems of scanning garments. We also discussed drawing and the close looking it facilitates and the possible outcomes for the PhD in terms of exhibitions, books, interactive digital pieces etc. She agreed with me that any digital outcomes would probably need to be both online and physically present. I showed her the augmented reality sandbox (developed by UCLA) to give an idea of the sort of physical-digital interactive pieces that already exist – I wonder if it would be possible to adapt this to work with fabric?