‘Sanctuary’: A meditative digital artwork by Ryan Koopmans and Alice Wexell

‘Sanctuary’ is a digital artwork that conveys a compelling narrative about the cycle of time, the resurgence of nature, and the socio-historical nuances of architectural landscapes. Apart from digital artwork itself, ‘Sanctuary’ involves an additional immersive component developed with wild.xyz.

Viewers are able to explore the immersive environment and virtually ‘walk into’ the artwork hanging in a digital gallery. The immersive space lets you look around and explore the artist’s photogrammetry scanned reinterpretation of the real-life building. Allow a minute or so for the experience to load, and it’s best viewed on desktop computer!

This is a first for the artists Ryan Koopmans and Alice Wexell, whose series The Wild Within brings abandoned historic buildings back to life by combining photography and animation to create surreal, meditative, moving architectural spaces.

For the past decade, Ryan Koopmans and Alice Wexell have traveled around the world exploring and photographing forsaken buildings and unique architectural sites. They were drawn to these locations based on their historical, cultural, and architectural qualities. Locations include ancient temples in the mountains of Armenia, abandoned villas in Lebanon and Italy, sanatoriums in Georgia, ruined villas in the Middle East and beyond.

Once the architecture is photographed, the images are modelled into virtual environments, and overgrown plant-life, lights and music is added. The musical composition for ‘Sanctuary’ is created by Karl-David Larson.

‘Sanctuary’ finds its artistic expression against the backdrop of an abandoned health spa in the outskirts of the country Georgia. Upon collapse of the USSR in the early 1990s, sanatoriums and other similar buildings fell into disrepair. The historic architecture serves as a perfect canvas for the artists to unleash their creativity, resulting in a meditative artwork that brings new life to this timeless setting.

In real life, this building continues to deteriorate and is being slowly disassembled, further emphasizing the primary theme of the work, the passing of time in a cycle of growth and decay. Through this artwork, the artists aim to transport the viewer into an alternate place and time. This fusing of documentary-style photography with the imaginative potential of animation techniques results in a captivating digital artwork.

'Sanctuary': A meditative digital artwork by Ryan Koopmans and Alice Wexell

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