Dust Bunny, when digital and real collide in fine particles


Dust Bunny by Alan Warburton is a small bunny composed from “dust harvested from ten visual effects workstations” at Studio Mainframe. The bunny is not an accidental shape, but an exact representation of the so-called Stanford Bunny, a 3D test object which was created in early computer graphics experiments at Stanford University. This icon is still used to display progress in CGI development. The extremely symbolic object is composed of “angora-like” dust, matter that can usually be found in computer cases opened for the first time after a few years. Warburton has considered dust from many perspectives. He points out how real and virtual absurdly collide in “dust” as we struggle to have the cleanest houses and spaces, getting rid of it, despite its inevitable and consistent return. On the other end, in the simulated visual world of CGI, being able to create realistic dust is a must, if one is to be considered a professional. Furthermore the surprising volume of dust that graphics workstations, in particular, attract can be removed only with careful procedures. Its unavoidable presence and its slow but constant and practically unstoppable production gives it a special status. Especially if we also consider how these machines are at the peak of producing digital visual culture for the masses, this complex relationship with something so basically real denotes the surreal construction that we as humans have created. Our control over nature becomes meaningless, as it infiltrates back into our machines, potentially undermining their computing power. And so does any sense of control over the whole gigantically complex digital system, too. The Dust Bunny is just there to perfectly remind us.