The art of point clouds: 3D LiDAR scanning and photogrammetry in science & art

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Point cloud datasets, the pertinent product of remote sensing tech- nologies, such as LiDAR and photogrammetry, are increasingly being used as a new digital medium in art practice. This paper presents an overview of purposely selected and prominent artworks, emerging from traditional representational onto-epistemologies, to identify currently prevailing parameters and their limitations when working with remote sensing technologies. Although these works differ markedly in aesthetic qualities and conceptual foundations, they all treat the scanner as an objective, passive and impartial means of recording and transcribing reality, rather than an active agent in its creation. By placing an emphasis on merely aesthetic and technical characteristics of point clouds and accompanying technology, they overlook the expressive, open-ended potential of the technology, as well as the multiplicity of the point cloud. Building upon entanglement theories, such as agential realism and new materialism, and drawing inspiration from Pearce’s existing design-research projects, such as ‘The Masks of Fleet Street’ (2014), the paper exposes the common features of this contemporary ap- proach, showcases its advantages and points to the potential for further practice-based investigation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationARTECH 2021 - Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Digital and Interactive Arts
EditorsMaria Manuala Lopes, Paulo Bernardino Bastos, Antonio Araujo, Lucas Fabian Olivero, Aderito Fernandes-Marcos
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781450384209
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventARTECH 2021: Hybrid Praxis - Art, Sustainability & Technology - Aveiro, Portugal, Aveiro, Portugal
Duration: 13 Oct 202115 Oct 2021


ConferenceARTECH 2021
Abbreviated titleARTECH'21
Internet address


  • Point Clouds
  • Media Art

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