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It’s a technology best known for its uses in the design and property marketing fields, but recently architectural visualisation really took a step into the unknown when artist James Bridle decided to use it to circumnavigate rules and regulations designed to keep the public in the dark.

Architectural Visualisation Creates Realistic Images

Artist, writer and technologist Bridle made extensive use of architectural visualisation technology to create realistic images of stages on the journey of an immigrant facing deportation, spaces that are otherwise unseen by most members of the public, due to laws preventing them from being photographed for security reasons.

Using CAD (computer aided design) experts, the artist created mock ups of three key locations on the immigration/deportation journey – an immigration removal centre near Heathrow, an appeals court tasked with hearing immigration cases and the private airport terminal used for flights deporting those who have failed in their attempts to stay in the UK – all of which would be otherwise off limits to prying photographic lenses.

Computer Aided Design Translates Information into Images

In order to accurately recreate the interiors using 3D imagery, Bridle explained that he gathered information about the spaces from a range of sources, before working with professionals using computer aided design programmes to translate the information into recognisable images.

For the purposes of the project, the artist accessed information including planning documentation and satellite imagery and used the information contained therein to inform the computer generated images created by the architectural visualisation software – creating images that offered his audience a rare glimpse of areas never before seen by most members of the public.

360 Virtual Tours of Interior and Exterior Scenes

With the help of computer aided designers, Brindle was able to accurately recreate both interior and exterior scenes, and to translate these in to 360 virtual tours of the unseen spaces, which he used to illustrate a short film called Seamless Transitions, looking at immigration and deportation processes in the UK.

Speaking about the project in The Guardian newspaper, the artist said: “Computer renderings are far from reality. We know this from the glossy, fake CGI interiors of the Ikea catalogue and the permanently sunny piazzas on the hoardings of city-centre developments. But, just as these image-making technologies structure our perception of the world, they can also allow us to see inside places and processes that would otherwise remain invisible.

  • James Bridle’s “Seamless Transitions” is currently on display at the Photographers Gallery, 16-18 Ramillies Street, London W1F 7LW. The gallery is open from 10am Monday-Saturday and from 11.30 on Sundays. Admission is FREE. For more information please visit thephotographersgallery.org.uk.