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Arts & Culture

Ellen Sandor

In the 1980s, artist Ellen Sandor began creating immersive digital installations which she refers to as the daguerreotypes of virtual reality. She coined the term “PHSCologram” [scol-o-gram] to describe these computer-generated images that combined elements of photography, holography and sculpture. These early experimentations of using virtual cameras in digital environments are the foundational basis of today’s ‘CGI’ productions.

We exhibit two later examples of these:

1a. Townhouse Revisited, 1999

PHSCologram Sculpture: HP/3M print, Kodalith, Plexiglas 25 x 10 x 40 inches

Ellen Sandor & (art)n: Fernando Orellana, Nichole Maury, Todd Margolis, and Janine Fron

Credits: Thomas J. McLeish

Created for "Townhouse", an architectural competition sponsored by the Graham Foundation. Townhouse Revisited (1999) addresses issues of the body, public space, and touch in the architecture of virtual reality. The work was created in response to such questions as: if hard matter and gravity offer no impediment in virtual reality, what then will meeting, working and playing in spaces look like there?

Ellen Sandor. Townhouse Revisited (1999). Photo by Richard Eaton.

1b. Cryptobiology: Reconstructing Identity, 2001

Virtual Photograph/PHSCologram, Kodalth, Plexiglas, 40 x 30 inches

Ellen Sandor & (art)n: Keith Miller and Fernando Orellana

Credits: Kathleen Helm-Bychowski, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, DePaul University. Special thanks to Stephan Meyers

In Cryptobiology: Reconstructing Identity (2001), the glass DNA double helix in the foreground depicts type B DNA. This particular section was taken from the human DNA sequence coding for a protein called lysozyme. This enzyme breaks open the cell walls of some types of bacteria, and is part of our defence against infections. It was the first enzyme whose 3D structure was determined by X-ray crystallography. The sepia-toned images in the background and the vertical strips staggered throughout the image are actual images of DNA fingerprints.

Ellen Sandor. Cryptobiology: Reconstructing Identity (2001). Photo by Richard Eaton.
Project status: Completed