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Wired loves Andy Gilmore
The mission of Wired is to investigate science, technology and so-called digital culture. We use art to activate the process of understanding and help our readership—I would say our membership—to have an opinion and participate in the dialogue with our community about where we are going.
There are things that can be shown, that exist here and now. But because part of Wired’s legacy is to predict the future, there are others that need to be imagined.
Always between The Real and The Possible.
Andy’s unique talent is the ability to instinctually perceive that possibility and create a visual experience around it.
By the way, abstract art and science always worked together to open up entirely new ways of seeing and imagining.
When we look at abstract art, in fact, it requires more of our imagination. It leaves many details unspecified, and we have to supply those details.
The human brain has evolved over thousands of years, so it has built-in mechanisms that make very good guesses from incomplete information.
The brain has evolved to make these very, very great guesses based on minimum information, that turn out to be very effective.
And this is how we can represent the invisible, a theory, or simply the concept of a possible future.
Using an art metaphor, Wired is always in balance, visually speaking, between the scientific detail of a Vermeer painting and a Dan Flavin installation—which uses the same concept, but in a totally different experience.
We need to explain and see real things in detail but we also want to ignite our readers’ imagination, to visualize what is not yet real or is too “abstract” to have a form.
Andy is one of our favorite collaborators. He reveals information in the abstract. He is a storyteller of the invisible and our collaboration started many years ago.
In 2009, Andy worked with Wired on a cover story about the Future of Business called “The New, New Economy – More Startups. Fewer Giants. Infinite Opportunity”. It was an essay by Chris Anderson, our former editor in chief, describing very well how the world was changing drastically – headed to a future that was in potential.
Andy created our first cover based on a Venn diagram, an illustration of the relationships among elements that share something in common. And the overlapping intersection of those sets was the core of our investigation. The central, darkened area became an open door, an invitation to new information, or simply a warp jump into the future.
Recently we had an exclusive story about Magic Leap, one of the most audacious companies working on VR. Their research is based on using light to drive visual information to our eyes and cheat the brain to see digital things in the physical reality. It was natural to involve immediately Andy in this project.
Magic Leap plays with light to alter lived reality. Andy used an exploded spectrum, playing with light in his own way, bending and shaping it into different optical forms, just as Magic Leap does. It’s what I like most about Andy’s style, that use of light and darkness. It’s a kaleidoscopic experience, a real light speed travel towards somewhere – a threshold through which you could jump into a different space.
We commissioned the splash page also as an opening door, this time to our entire feature well. Here, Andy worked with the issue number, but took something numerical and expanded it into a pathway to the abstract and unknown. It reminds me of the scene in A Space Odyssey in which David is experiencing time and space travel. Maybe for that reason it is my favorite work of his yet.
Or maybe till our next issue. I wanted to challenge him into conceiving a different approach for our new splash page. This was a different kind of project for Andy as well, because it was not purely form and color, these forms needed to show specific numbers. It’s very hard for an artist with a successful style to dare. And it’s a special thing to find an artist who will challenge his own practice and explore outside his comfort zone. Andy took the number forms and transformed them into something that emphasized their shape. He didn’t abandon the light and color, but transformed them into idealized neon tubes, creating something pretty fresh. It has a material quality.
This is why we love Andy.
Shown here is a selection of the visuals that Andy has created in the past for Wired. We’ll be showing Andy’s new Wired piece on 28th March, so until then…