Really unexpected, or unexpectedly real?

“Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.” ― John Lennon

“Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.”
― John Lennon
Object and image, Tony Gray 2011.

I wouldn’t really expect to find this object, suspended in air in the middle of a warehouse space (or anywhere else for that matter). Yet it is a very “real” object, in a very real space.

Only it’s not.It’s a 3-D model generated by my partner using sophisticated engineering software. He has used tools which allow engineers to optimise the design of objects – from the tiniest bottle cap to whole, multi-storey buildings; and applied them to the creation of an object that has no obvious function but to be looked at. He has created a work of art.

But of course, he hasn’t really. He has created a visual representation of a set of mathematical equations and placed the result on a photographic background. He didn’t have to use this background – and with other models he hasn’t.

"To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect." -- Oscar Wilde

“To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect.”
— Oscar Wilde

The object could be real; he could take the output file generated from the modelling process and send it to a 3-D printer. He could make this sculpture extremely large, or very small. He could reproduce it as many times as he wanted (or could afford) to.

He would like to do this. I kind of want him not to. I like that he can create virtual “sculptures” and exhibit them anywhere in the world (or in space I suppose) without using up any physical resources beyond those needed to generate the model. I like the way he can exhibit in multiple places at once and can (using some other cool bits of software) generate a walk-through, walk around experience for the viewer. I like that this plays with space and time and with our expectations – of what is art and what is real.


“Stay focused to the unexpected. Sometimes it’s life’s conundrums that take us exactly where we need to and least expected.”
— Kemmy Nola

This post was written in response to the Daily Post Weekly Photographic Challenge.

Here are some other posts I enjoyed:



Weekly Photo Challenge: Unexpected

Very British



9 thoughts on “Really unexpected, or unexpectedly real?

  1. Any of us can make things impossible possible but not all of us like your partner, his creation is truly beyond our imagination. Very interesting. Thank you for listing my blog on this post in your wonderful blog. 🙂


  2. Pingback: Weekly Challenge: Unexpected (4) | Through the Eye of Bastet

  3. Pingback: Unexpected photographs | Processing the life

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s