Technology recreated William Blake’s nightmares

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Ed Cutting of Tin&Ed demonstrates United Visions. Photo: Louis Jebb

The darkest visions of the artist, poet, and mystic are recreated with the support of the Getty Museum and Apple using augmented reality. The project was created by art duo Tin&Ed and voiced by hip-hop producer Just Blaze.

Like a nightmare figure from The Phantom of the Flea (circa 1819-1820) by William Blake came to life in central London. United Visions, a new augmented reality project created for California’s Getty Museum, has been released on the App Store (from the iPhone 11) and presented at the Apple Store on London’s Brompton Road.

Blake’s vision was brought to life by New York-based Australian artists Tin Nguyen and Ed Cutting, also known as art-tech duo Tin&Ed, and American hip-hop producer Just Blaze. The Getty Museum owns one of the three surviving copies of Blake’s Satan Triumphs over Eve (1795) with one of the artist’s most memorable images of a snake.

Blake’s 2019 retrospective at the Tate is due to open at the Getty in 2023. It was supposed to start operating in July 2020 but was postponed due to the pandemic.

One of the “revived” images of William Blake.
Photo: Louis Jebb

Nguyen and Cutting created the figures from Blake’s work, prepared the first version of the dance overlaying it with a motion capture system, and sent the result to music producer Justin Smith, aka Just Blaze. Just Blaze sent them a soundtrack that interweaves the beat with Blake’s poetry. “Tiger” is rapped by Just Blaze’s son Solomon Smith, while other lines from Blake’s poetry are recorded by rapper, record producer, and poet Oveous Maximus.

William Blake is a radical misunderstood in life who was mythologized as a “mad genius” by the few who remembered him after his death. Finally, the artist was saved by the outstanding bibliographic and scientific research of the last 150 years, the direction of which was set for many decades by the outstanding scientist Geoffrey Keynes.

Ultimately, Blake is recognized not only as a front-line writer and artist, but as one of the pillars of pop culture, inspiring filmmakers, writers, artists, and now cutting-edge creators.

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