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The art of the archetype

Nick Konings mixes photography, speech, psychology, software and art to create a new definition of the portrait
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Illustration by Nick Konings. Cats & little people supplied by Marrella Sidartawan

Nick Konings mixes photography, speech, psychology, software and art to create a new definition of the portrait

 

Nick Konings is happy to confuse. Or at least mix things up. His latest project at AUT’s School of Graphic Design mixes photography, speech, psychology, software and art to create portraits a bit like what you’re seeing here—that’s him, by the way, yonder left.

Konings’ two-year postgraduate study will culminate with an interactive installation that first photographs you, then records your verbal responses to a series of personality tests, interprets the sound and psychology of your answers, and presents an artistic interpretation of your true self on a giant wall display.

“Your answers to the questions will affect the way the image is created and displayed,” says Konings. “I want people to reflect on their identity. I’m dipping into Jungian symbolism.”

Oh, that’ll be why he’s looking so happy.

Konings’ projects caught the eye of his tutors at AUT University—he was one of a number of students put forward for the annual Idealog award for Post Graduate Research into Graphic Design. We liked it straight away for its cross-disciplinary approach (Konings’ friend Paul Chambers is handling the coding). The project is just one of many provocative ideas he has produced this year mixing numbers and pictures, animals and people, nature and things.

Right now, Konings’ work is a research and artistic exercise, but applications do suggest themselves in gaming and pretty much anything involving an avatar. “It’s generative art: designing lines of code that can create endless repetitions and reiterations of the original image. A bit like fractals, a bit like biology.”

We like that.

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Arcana Marmada Seduction (2007)

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The Capture of Wu-Ti (2008)

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From left: Phasmapult (2007) and Pseudopod (2007)

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From left: Split (2008) and F@#k Off (2007)

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