Dossier Sections

Ashley Wilkie – Concept of Consumption


My graduation project is an exploration of debates of consumption thorough artistic experimentation with projection mapping and immersive digital installation. This installation will be designed through a process of experimentation with the aim to express and provide a commentary world, consumption of electronic products and the rapid shortening of product lifecycle. 

Detailed outline

Projection mapping as a technology allows the artist to alter people’s perception of an object by playing with light, shade while adding, and distorting visual elements on those objects surfaces. This is done through the use of imagery, colour and line being distributed onto the object/s 3 dimensional surfaces. Meaning that it becomes more apparent within the audiences real world perception. Therefore bringing these objects more into people’s perception makes people more aware of those objects as they visual standout of audience surroundings. In connect to consumption it’s hoped making the presence of these objects more apparent and evoking a psychological effect upon the audience, allowing them to reflect upon their consumption in the future.

The reason why I projection has been selected for the purpose of this artistic exploration is that light projections employed to animate/augment a space altering it to change and morph around an audience. This distorting of peoples views gives the ability to portraying an idea while audiences are submerged within the space. Compared to other display forms such as screens, projection provides a far more immersive experience for the audience because it takes imagery of a flat surface and into the physical world, where one can interact with it. This links to many psychological studies, in relation to perception of space, gestalt theory and cognitive response. This project projection will attempt to disport audience perception, upon present day use and consumption to increase awareness of their contribution to our waste.

Cityscape 2095 by AntiVJ, Yannick Jacquet and Marc Ferrario (2012) has inspired this project in terms of context relating to depicting future events and impacting this commentary upon audiences in an immersive way. There depiction of a dystopian future where consumer brands have taken over. The architecture of the landscape is filled with concepts of a future where over development has crowded and merged city’s into distorted landscapes. This particular interesting to this project as much of the ideas within the piece is related to over consumption and the effects this has upon a futuristic world.


The development of this project will rely on experimentation and development in relation to both the technique projection, and the narrative consumption. Experimentation with different forms, object and styles, a body of work will be developed amounting in a final installation. This installation would have been developed through a series of iterations to develop an exhibition quality piece. The Project Methodology will allow the artist to develop a series of small engaging pieces whilst developing a specific target area within the topic of consumption and waste. This will also allow a design style for the pieces to emerge from the works themselves where the style can be appropriated to the context of the work specifically. This method is appropriate to the project, as artistic experimentation through practise-based research will result in a more powerful and developed piece as a result.


Possible risks with this project are related to final outcome and developing a final summarising piece which incorporates and communicates what I have outset to do in the proposal. By not setting out with a design in mind it makes the final product difficult to determine and communicate. However, allowing for development of ideas through experimentation means the possibilities are unexplored and creative to that time period. This is opposed to an outset design which could potential fail without significant initial understanding, testing and specific direction which in this case would be extremely restrictive.

The contingencies with the project is that the final product/installation will be developed through a series of experimentation, meaning that these experiments will be also significantly developed and would in themselves be a individual pieces of work. Additionally by setting timescales and targets from the outset for what is intend to achieve by specific points throughout the project, this will keep the project on time and focused to achieving the outset goal.

Prototyping of this project will focus on two main points of development, key to the overall project progress and targeted outcome. These are technique and effectiveness. The technique used to portray a commentary such as this will require development to further understand how this can be done. Whilst starting to work towards an immersive and engaging experience. To do this some exploration of different techniques related to projection mapping will need to be briefly explored. In addition to this some initial ideas or concept connected to consumption will be trialled and tested to gage their effectiveness.

Feedback from peers some aspects of the project come under criticism due to the lucid and uncertain nature of the project. Proposing an artistic project in many aspects is difficult and there are a number of uncertainties especially as in its current form there is no backing to the idea in terms of products or experiments. It’s believed that once prototypes have been developed and there is some significant evidence that the outset goal is achievable this criticism will be counteracted.

Ferrario, M. and Jacquet, Y., 2012. Cityscape 2095. [Audiovisual installation].


Time Scale

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The budget for the project will remain a £0. The university has a great range of equipment for use, which can provide much of the equipment needed for the project.

Target Audience

The target audience for the project focus on two main groups of people, hyper-consumers and materialistic driven people particularly in younger age groups. This is my target audience as they are the future generation who will be mainly experiencing the repercussion from over consumption meaning they will be directly affected. By changing there perception of consumption now why something can be done will be key to future generations.

Supporting Theory

Leonardo Da Vinci who 500 years ago wrote “there is no such thing as waste” lived in a time where every product, tool and material was used to its absolute full potential and worth of use. 500 years later in a consumer driven environment where materialistic culture thrives and throw away even more so. James Katz prevised

“A few foresaw a world in which the ever expanding taste for material good and the theory of comparative advantage would keep us all running as fast as we could on a giant squirrel wheel” (2003).

The society we live in today is considerably different to that of Da Vinci’s time as we have entered a time where waste is a direct result of an ever expanding taste for material possessions. Katz argues this is because we compare and reflect constantly upon others material possessions around us. This has lead to a deep psychological change within out information-structured industry

“We are clearly not creating a species of knowledge-power appropriate to the issues that we face. We are producing knowledge that is predicated on and replicates mass production and mass consumption.” (Gillespie, Boczkowski and Foot n.d.)

This information industry we live is clearly driven by a desire to posses and accumulation of items. Miller support the argument indicating even poverty is defined as a critical limit to our ability to realise ourselves as persons, consequent upon a lack of commodities (2005). Whether this is how people living in poverty see it or a western view point. It’s clear that possessions are becoming key to satisfaction within a modern society.

The phenomenon of electronic waste is modern condition that is underpinned by the strategic business decision referred to as obsolescence. There are 3 stages of obsolescence psychological, technological, planned (Slade 2006).

Psychological obsolescence has become imbedded in many consumers and is apparent in cases such as products like Apple’s iPhone. Apple uses branding and small fashionable changes with their device to make it appear that there has been a drastic change within the product. Technological obsolescence refers to the technology developments and innovation replacing earlier technologies making the older products obsolete. Planned obsolescence describes the manufacture of products to intentional break within a specific period of time or obsolete due to manufacture not supporting the product anymore. By planning for obsolescence this forces consumers to purchase new products linking back to the cycle of rapid demand and disposal. All of these different types of obsolescence in modern society contribute towards and materialistic culture where the boundary’s between desire and need have become blurred.

With the increased production and consumption comes a shorting of the Cradle to Grave. This term describes a product from creation to disposal and the journey it takes from one to another. This is also referred to as LCA (life Cycle Assessment). This journey has many process related to the production, distribution, use and disposal of a product.

Elizabeth Grossman discuss particularly high-tech electronics referring to the idea that they have in themselves created virtual worlds and foster the illusion that we have left the material world behind (2006). She refers to the time period after 1960s, as when technology zoomed ahead, as a society we paid attention to what the gigabytes could bring us and ignored the mountain of plastics, metals, leaded glass, and chemicals that grew each time we upgraded our hardware. Grossman refers to illusion of the material world we have left behind underlining how in the present day the worth of material products has reduced to so much itself that we have forgot about the damage for which these products are having upon the environment when we discard them. This is a perception or misperception of many consumers to not see everyday products that we discard so frequently without using them to their full potential and life longevity.

Creating a successful illusion through projection mapping relies on many mediums coming together to create a multi-sensory experience that the audience will believe and challenges their senses. Augmented Reality is the creation of a virtual environment within a physical space that provides more direct experiences of the objects. Augmented reality brings virtual information and spatially maps it to the viewer’s physical world with significant psychological effects and additional affordances (Lim, Biocca and Tang 2004).

Challenging the senses is what many projection installations aim to do as they distort ones view of the environment, object or material through the use of a facade. Projection mapping allows a facade to be created digitally using projection which intern creates a virtual space that the viewer can move in. This facade creates a 3D based environment. Jung, Lee and Biocca (2014, pp.213-222) suggest 3D object-based environment may improve the perceived fidelity, realism, and a sense of spatial presence and, therefore, viewer perception as well. The experience within the physical world may be more memorable meaning this is a good point where the mind is most susceptible to having perceptions manipulated. They consider this in comparison to 2D displays like screens and flat projections, indicating with quantitative data that there are significant differences between how people psychology and perception can be affected.

“virtual reality is what seems to exist and makes one feel the sense as if it exists, by using technology that interchanges the real world and the virtual world through artificial sense.” (Negroponte 1995)

This artificial sense is part of the understanding of the perception of how objects and shapes are deciphered by the brain. The Gestalt laws of visual perception define how we visually perceive and decode information. The decoding of the image, gestalt in its beyond-experience context especially when the biological source determining the decoding process also lies outside of human influence (Friis 2011). Friis is referring to human perceptions and interpretations are specific to any one individual as the way in which they decode any information is unique. However, the learnt or subconscious understanding of principles in relation to gestalt, under pin the sub conscious knowledge to decode visual imagery.

The way that we perceive the world both visually and mentally have been altered or can be altered by technology. For Baudrillard the proliferation of information technology alienates man from real live social existence, forcing him to enter a new media including hyper reality. Hyper reality is characterised by the collapse of the distinction between the real and the simulated (1998). Simulation and consumer culture are argued in connection to one another by Baudrillard, suggesting that engagement of consumers with information based industry and specifically in technology, where one is a consumer rather than a producer is blurring there distinction between reality’s and a feature of a post modern society. This blurring of reality is a feature of simulation that Baudrillard (1983) leads on to discuss which is a key feature of augmented reality itself.


Baudrillard, J., 1983. Simulations. New York City, N.Y., U.S.A.: Semiotext(e), Inc.

Baudrillard, J., 1998. The Consumer Society. London: Sage Publications.

Baudrillard, J., 1994. Simulacra and simulation. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Friis, J., 2011. Perception: Embodiment and Beyond. Found Sci, 17 (4), 363-367

Gillespie, T., Boczkowski, P. and Foot, K., n.d. Media technologies. pp.119-130.

Grossman, E., 2006. High tech trash. Washington: Island Press.

Jung, S., Lee, D. and Biocca, F., 2014. Psychological Effects on 3 Dimensions Projection Mapping Versus 2 Dimensions: Exploratory Study. In: International Society for Presence Research Annual. [online] Facultas, pp.213-222. Available from: [Accessed 23 Nov. 2015].

Katz, J., 2003. Machines that become us. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers.

Lim, L., Biocca, F. and Tang, A., 2004. Comparing differences in presence during social interaction in augmented reality versus virtual reality environments: An exploratory study. In: Proc the International Workshop on Presence.

Miller, D., 2005. Materiality. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press.

Negroponte, N., 1995. Being digital. New York: Knopf.

Slade, G., 2006. Made to break : technology and obsolescence in America. Cambridge, Mass. ; London: Harvard University Press.x

Personal Goals

This project mainly stems from my work placement practise and dissertation project theory development. For my placement I worked with projection artist Ross Ashton and his company The Projection Studio who produce large-scale building projections for corporate and artistic events. While on placement much of my discussion with employees and clients related to new and interesting projection art and how the discipline was to develop in the future. From these discussions it sparked many ideas about the kind of projects ideas for exploration that I could use within my studies in final year.

Secondly, my dissertation has inspired by much of my interest in preparation for the graduate project. My Creative project dissertation is based around the idea of interaction with alternative mediums, augmented reality, consumer culture and E-waste. From this I have taken much inspiration developing many of the ideas discovered during the dissertation into the graduate project.

My personal goals for this project is to produce an exciting and meaningful show piece which will enhance my skills and portfolio. As I intend to move into industry soon after finishing my degree I hope to develop my employability skills as much as possible before leaving university, this largely links to the development of my portfolio. 

Project Development

For my project development please refer to my blog located on the following web address ( ) alternatively the information is located in the documents provided within the subfolders folders.

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