Virtually unseen

New digital understandings of reclaimed space




colour, spatial, representation, digital, affective, reconfigure


With the advent of distributed digital networks, spatial representation has transformed from what was once a singular and idealised view of inhabited space to multiple uncurated spatial fragments, now captured by a vast range of portable devices such as webcams and mobile phones. The designer of the future ‘envisioned’ urban and interior space will need to respond to complex, multi-scaled environments through the application of both quantitative and qualitative modes of visualisation and engagement.

This visual essay describes the interiors of three separate reclaimed public heritage precincts of varying structural scale, materiality and program. Despite their geographical and historical specificity, sites such as Zaha Hadid’s MAXXI Museum in Rome, The Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome, and Carriageworks, exist as part of an increasingly growing global network of reclaimed post-industrial cultural developments that have been reconceived at new programmatic scales to respond to the emerging and ever-changing demands of social occupation. Produced with the aid of ImageJ technology, a software typically used in biological and medical imaging procedures, both form and spatial depth in captured interior footage from these three projects are completely transformed into new spatial representations recomposed as variations in colour and brightness. 

In a radical departure from the precise formal delineation of linear perspective, the new ‘atmospheric’ perspective seen in this image series not only unveils unseen traces of former modes and histories of the occupation of these interior spaces, but the reassembly of digital image content proposes a profoundly different type of engagement with new experiential and spatial conditions released by the fluidity of the digital array.


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How to Cite

Matthews, Linda. 2020. “Virtually Unseen: New Digital Understandings of Reclaimed Space”. Idea Journal 17 (01):149-69.