Keith Brown. Copyright the artist.

Keith Brown

Participant category:Artist exhibiting at the PR1 gallery at the University of Central Lancashire

Artwork: Magic Carpet (2010)


Over the past twelve years I have conducted interdisciplinary research with Create_3D into the application of 3D integral imaging using three dimensional computer generated data as source material. With recent advances in computer visualization we are now able to realize extremely complex geometries previously impossible to visualize using this technology. Integral imaging is in essence 3D printing on lens arrays that project accurate 3D computer generated models in true space on a ratio of one-to-one.

 In Magic Carpet, a diptych showing the top and bottom views of the composition, the solid 3D image is physically/visually situated on either side of the picture plane. Participants may place their hands into the same space as the 3D objects in front of the lenses, placing themselves in an augmented reality where the real and the virtual are united. Magic Carpet is composed of a large number of computer generated forms that pass through each other in the cyber environment, where objects have no material surface resistance. As the viewer’s body enters this strange environment, where there is no material being, they actively engage with what appears to be physically impossible, giving rise to a new and unique experience. The work was developed in response to an invitation to participate in a group exhibition. The theme of the exhibition From Floor to Sky inspired the notion of Magic Carpet. The complex symmetrical geometry emulates the design of Persian carpets and the colours are derived directly from an original.

My experiments with the application of this technology for fine art has given rise to the possibility of making manifest visible objects that otherwise could not exist. By investigating the topological potentialities of manipulating 3D geometry, in an area beyond the limits of materiality, and the plastic arts, facilitates completely new avenues for creative and imaginative exploration. By utilizing the integral space above and below the lens sheet, the 3D objects appear to float in a void hovering off the surface of the floor.

The focus of my digital artwork lies mainly with the discovery and realization of new three-dimensional forms and deals largely with the ap­propriateness of medium in relation to form and process. The use of computing technolo­gies is an essential aspect of my creative practice and is indis­pensable to the conception, content, and quality of the artwork. My main concern is with Real Virtuality or Cyberealism rather than Virtual Reality, thus reversing the usual order between the cyber and the real. It is not my intention to emulate reality but instead to explore the possibilities made available through computing technologies and to bring these to a form of manifest actuality, resulting in the production of a new order of object, presenting us with new forms, realities, experiences, and meanings in what can be seen as a paradigm shift within the discipline of sculpture.

My work is born out of the direct exploration of a multi-dimensional cyber world where material, as we understand it, does not exist. In the cyber environment 3D entities may be encouraged to behave in ways not achievable through physical means, being located in an area that exists beyond the imagination and everyday experience. This work, now manifest in true space, acts as a vehicle which transports us to this strange and wonderful “other place” where unpredictable and surprisingly beautiful events may occur. It is as if modeling with light in an environment where matter and energy, materiality and gravity, play no part, miraculously freeing form from traditional material constraints and our usual understanding of how objects work in the world.


Keith Brown was born in Hexham, Northumberland, in 1947. He studied at Sunderland College of Art (1966-71) where he was awarded a 1st Class (hons) Dip. AD. He studied as a postgraduate student at Manchester Polytechnic (1971-2) where he gained an HDA in fine art sculpture and went on to study at the Royal College of Art, London, (1972-75) where he received his MA in sculpture. He was a Fellow in Sculpture at Cheltenham College of Art (1975-6) and Junior Fellow in Sculpture at Cardiff College of Art (1976-77). Between 1997 and 1980 he taught as a part-time and visiting lecturer at several art schools in the UK, Europe and the USA. In 1980 he became a senior lecturer in sculpture at Manchester Polytechnic; now the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). In 1993 he became one of MMU’s Principal Lecturers in fine art and became Head of the School of Sculpture, Time-Based & Digital Media in the Department of Fine Arts. He is currently Director of Art & Computing Technologies for the Manchester Institute for Research and Innovation in Art & Design (MIRIAD). He was awarded a personal chair as Professor of Sculpture and Digital Technologies at MMU in 2007.

as founder and president of Fast-uk (Fine Art Sculpture & Technology in the UK) Brown has done much to encourage and support digital sculpture at a national and international level, with assistance from the Arts Council of England, Manchester City Council and MIRIAD.

Brown is currently one of the foremost digital sculptors working in Europe and has made regular representations at an international level as a contributor to, and organiser of, symposia and exhibitions in electronic and digital art. He has recently exhibited in New Zealand, Australia, China, Japan, Senegal, Turkey, France, Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Poland, USA, and the UK and, as a result, has gained international acclaim as a pioneer and leader in his field. Recent venues have been as broad and diverse as the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition (2002, 2003 and 2005), London, and Siggraph Art Gallery in San Diego, Los Angeles and Boston (2003, 2004 and 2006).

To see images in full click any image to start slideshow.