Time to work on the image, Mr Clarke?

January 3, 2003

Culture minister and self-appointed art critic Kim Howells will have to curb his tongue this time. Just weeks before his colleague Charles Clarke makes clear his vision for the future of higher education, the education secretary's features have been distorted in the cubist style (pictured) to demonstrate new computer technology at Bath University.

The technique, developed by postgraduate student John Collomosse and lecturer Peter Hall, involves minimal human intervention to turn photographic images into the sort of artworks once created by Picasso.

The researchers used a selection of photographs of Mr Clarke, taken from different viewpoints and supplied by The THES .

Dr Hall said: "In order to draw, you have to be able to see." The software, he explained, picks out individual elements, which it geometrically distorts before reassembling them into a coherent composition. It then turns a selection of dots into brush strokes that work around important aspects of the picture, giving a painterly effect.

Professional artists have judged the project's output to be of a high aesthetic quality, and the Bath team has entered work in computer art competitions.

The research was supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and will be published in the journal Transactions .

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