Instagram face-filters: what was initially introduced as a piece of novelty software to let us see what we would look like as a puppy or a senior citizen, has become a tool for artists to make their wildest aesthetic dreams an (augmented) reality. From optical illusions to impossible eyewear, here are five filter-artists making their mark on the new creative frontier.
The artist simply is known as ‘asagi’, a Tokyo-based AR engineer who’s worked with the likes of BIGYUKI, Ryohu and Young Juvenile Youth. Their mind-bending filters like Gunya and Dorodoro turn human silhouettes into windows to another reality, stretching and warping pixels to turn subjects into digital spectres.
Helena Dong is a designer who creates eye-popping Dadaist style glasses and clothing and has worked with the likes of Dion Lee and Vaquera. However, imaginative as she has been able to be thus far, it’s obvious the real world was too limiting for the Melbourne and New York-based creator. But with AR, Dong has been able to ‘manufacture’ abstract eyewear that defies the laws of physics. From her first project Orbit to her most recent one, Ⓑubble Glass, Dong’s floating eyewear will transport you to the utopian, Sorayama-chrome future of your dreams.
Jenny Yoo has designed AR programs that do almost anything, from giving you giant ears to letting you integrate, scale and move photos during videos in real-time. However, their most attention-grabbing creation is a filter that enables the user to take purikura photos, kitschy graphics and overlays included.
Mitsuku Ono is a Manila-based creative-director working for the AR agency, Popul-AR Experience. Ono’s filters are…weird. Very weird. But in the best possible way. Ever wonder what you would look like if your eye-sockets grew arms and started flipping tiny versions of your head on spoons? No? Well, Ono has a filter for that anyways. What about how you would look with two chimpanzees, both with your face, sitting on a miniature swing-set on your head? Kubota has a filter for that as well. With imagery reminiscent of a Katsuhito Ishii movie or Terry Gilliam cartoon, Kubota infuses her great sense of humour and imagination into her creations and gives you a direct view into her incredibly strange mind. And, frankly? It’s a great place to be.
Shangjin Yu is a Chinese graphic-designer whose unique personal style has made it into their filter-work. Yu’s filters draw visual inspiration from early-2000s metal and cyber-goth culture, adorning the user with chromed out tribal designs and holographic heads-up-displays.